Keeping Negotiations On Track

Sometimes negotiations stall because one or both parties believe that if they hold out, the other side will give in to their demands. To encourage further discussion:

  • Know what you have to lose. Say, “Let’s look at what will happen if we don’t reach agreement.” Then list the disadvantages for both the buyer and the seller.
  • Focus on the positive. Maximize the areas of agreement and minimize the areas of disagreement.
  • Ask for further explanation. For example, to a seller, say, “The comparable properties I’ve looked at don’t seem to justify your asking price. Perhaps I don’t understand something. Why are our numbers so far apart?”
  • Break the problem into its components. See if there are points of agreement within the area of disagreement. Assume, for example, that the problem is price. Ask the buyers if they would consider paying a higher price if the sellers took back a second mortgage.

Source: Adapted from Power Real Estate Negotiation, by William H. Pivar and Richard W. Post (Real Estate Education Co., 1990)

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