Bright Ideas: The Art of Negotiation

  • If you can, convince sellers to accept faxed signatures on an offer from out-of-town buyers. If you can’t, build in sufficient time into the acceptance schedule for overnight deliveries.
  • When negotiating with a couple, don't assume who the decision-maker is based on who dominates the discussion.
  • Keep the end result in mind. If sellers balk at certain terms in a buyer’s offer, remind them how relieved they will feel when the stressful process of selling a house is over and they can get on with their lives or move to their new home.
  • If buyers won’t respond to a counteroffer realistically, use a reverse strategy of telling them that they should forget about the house. If they really want the house, this may get them to budge. —Danielle Kennedy International Speakers Bureau, Dallas.
  • Keep the earnest money deposit receipt in your hand when you are telling the sellers about the offer. —Bob Deutsch, Listing and Sales Success,Real Estate Education Company, 1993.
  • Learn as much as you can about the personalities of the principals and sales associates you’ll be negotiating with, either through personal conversation or by talking to other salespeople who have worked with them.
  • If you’re not sure you’re getting the best deal, stall. Many buyers and sellers get nervous and show their hands when the other party hesitates.
  • In a hot market, don’t be afraid to underprice. Competitive bidding will bring the price up to where it should be, or higher. —Malin Giddings, TRI Coldwell Banker, San Francisco
  • Don’t be afraid to give buyers a nudge. Remind them about all the great qualities the property has to offer.
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