Negotiating with the Buyer

The process is moving along. Your home is on the market and you’ve received a written offer. Unfortunately, offers that contain everything that you requested, with all of the desired terms and conditions, are rare. Now is the time when successful negotiations will determine not only how much you get for your home, but whether the deal gets done at all.

Your Agent is a skilled negotiator that understands the market along with your goals and objectives. By working together during this critical stage, you can carefully review the offer, evaluate options for a counter offer and successfully reach an agreement that will be in your best interests.

What are the best strategies to reach a successful agreement?

The difference between smooth negotiations and stressful negotiations often comes down to the attitudes of the players. If you are working toward a mutually beneficial deal and maintain a position of fairness and compromise, the deal will usually get done. If there is an adversarial, emotionally charged approach, you can anticipate a difficult and stressful process that may break down due to either party taking rigid positions.

Negotiating combines learned skills and market knowledge with an understanding of human nature. Here are a number of proven strategies to overcome obstacles and reach a desirable purchase agreement with the Buyer.

Start with a reasonable and fair price. Some people think that it’s a good strategy to start with a very high price and see if anyone will go for it. This is a poor strategy for a number of reasons. Buyers and Buyer’s Agents do their homework. They research the market. They shop and compare. The chances of getting a Buyer to agree to an unrealistic price are extremely remote. In addition, the result of this approach is that you will make your competition look good at your expense. When a home sits on the market for a very long period, it develops a stigma and is “shopworn”. Buyers assume that there is something wrong with it if it has not sold for many months. Establish a realistic price and go with it. You will benefit from a quicker sale at a better price if you do.

Understand the Buyer’s position and priorities. Each Buyer is unique and each has elements of the agreement that are most critical. Some may be tight for cash. There are ways for the Seller to increase the cost enough to pay for some of the closing costs, and allow the Buyer to finance those costs. The closing date may be critical. Try and accommodate the most important points for the Buyer and request a concession in some other area as a fair compromise.

Willingness to compromise. While there is a certain amount of adversarial emotions that place in a negotiation, it’s a good idea to remember that both parties can win by a willingness to compromise. Stay focused on the goal – get the home sold for a good price.

Split the difference. Whether the issue is the price or the closing date or closing costs, one of the best ways to reach an agreement is to split the difference. It appeals to a sense of equity and fairness for both sides.

Set the smaller issues aside. Sometimes, a small item like a light fixture or an appliance can threaten to derail a negotiation. If that happens, set it aside and focus on the bigger issues. Once those have been settled, come back to the smaller issues with a willingness to compromise to get things done.

Ask for advice from your Agent. A good Agent knows from experience what works and what doesn’t in negotiations. Discuss different options and be open minded. There may be creative alternative solutions to overcoming obstacles that will result in a win-win conclusion.