'My Best Negotiating Secrets'

Real estate professionals share their best strategies for negotiating in today's often emotional, complex transactions.

September 14, 2011

You may find yourself negotiating more than ever before in your real estate career. But did you know there’s a skill to negotiating that can be taught?

“Many people don’t take the time to learn about negotiating. They take it for granted,” says Mehrad Nazari, president of Nazari Inc., a real estate investment brokerage and consulting firm in La Jolla, Calif. Nazari, who also teaches seminars on negotiating, says that those who take the time to learn about negotiating, dealing with the stresses, and staying calm are the ones that tend to be the most successful at it.

The Real Estate Buyer’s Agent Council and other REALTOR® designation and training programs offer training to help you learn how to step up your negotiating game and get more deals to the closing table.

Below, real estate professionals share some of their best negotiating tips:

1. Be calm, yet assertive

“I have found that the methods of Cesar Millan (“The Dog Whisperer”) apply very well in getting through a negotiation for a sale or purchase of residential real estate. Be calm and assertive: calm because it does not benefit either participant to upset the communication with escalated emotions. Equally important is to be assertive and passionate about staying on track toward getting a ‘meeting of the minds’ and a fair deal done for both the buyer and seller. Buying and selling real estate for our customers is business; it’s not personal. So, check emotions at the door and be professional. Calm and assertive communication gets deals done.”
—Brian S. Hickey, Teardowns.com, Clarendon Hills, Ill.

2. Back it up with facts

“The very best negotiating tip is always to be prepared with all the facts and figures you can obtain in this great information age. There is no excuse for not being well prepared. You can fully explain your side of the bargaining table and then ask the opposing party to present all their facts and figures to support their position. Once you have all the facts from both parties, you then attempt to create a ‘win-win’ situation based upon the facts.”
—Fred R. Schneider, 1031frs Inc. and Fred R. Schneider, Real Estate Counseling, Montrose, Colo.

3. Listen closely

“The No. 1 piece of advice I pass along to my agents is to listen. It all starts there. Then, you have to remove the personal feelings and keep it professional.”
—Jennifer M. Naert, Naert Realty, St. Louis

4. Put yourself in their shoes

“Probably the best negotiation tactic that I use regularly is to have the sellers put on the buyer’s shoes, and vice versa. By gaining a different perspective, each side tends to back down on their demands to a point where the terms are mutually agreeable.”
—Garett Chadney, John L. Scott Real Estate, Gresham, Ore.

5. Stay positive

“The best ways to keep peace between the buyer and seller is not passing along nasty comments made by one to the other. You can give them the information in a positive way. As a real estate agent, never say anything bad about the buyer or seller. Keep the negotiation informational.”
—Karen Eudy, Providence Realty, Sacramento, Calif. 

6. Visualize

“Create a compelling positive vision by having the client — the buyer or seller — imagine moving on, and what his life will be like when he has.”
—Martha Erdem, Prudential Howe & Doherty Real Estate, Andover, Mass.