How to Overcome a Stand-Off with a Buyer

Most Realtors haven’t been in the business long enough to see anything but a boom market, and the current slump is new to all but a handful of veterans.

This means buyers and sellers are negotiating this rapidly changing market with the advice and guidance from agents who may not be terribly familiar with the current landscape.

Just for sake of clarity, here’s a snapshot of the current market: home-buying activity has slowed, consumer debt is rising and some houses are sitting on the market longer.

What about you: is this bear market new to you?

Your Greatest Challenge

One thing is for certain: it is a buyer’s world. In fact, buyers are able to make requests that would have been laughable two years ago. Requests like picking up dog poo, removing goldfishes from aquariums, even babysitting rats. [Have you had any absurd requests from buyers or sellers?]

Of course, the biggest demand buyers are making deals with price. And sometimes in a negotiation over a home, the price appears to deadlock progress on buying a home.

This is your biggest challenge. Here’s how to deal with it.

Overcome the Stand-Off

Pretend your buyer categorically says, “I’ll be willing to buy this home but I absolutely will not pay more than $304,000 for it.”

Now, the house is listed for $369,000 and you know from comps that the home is already priced low. You know that your buyer could easily afford a $400,000 home. He’s just playing hard to get. You also know that the seller will not budge either.

An inexperienced agent may look at this situation and see it as deadlocked, the negotiation stalled, the deal maybe even dead.

The veteran knows better.

The veteran says, “I understand how you feel about price, but let’s just set aside that issue for now and talk about some other issues that are important to you.”

Here you go into the particulars of the home that you know the buyer values: school district, short drive to work and cul-de-sac, for instance.

The idea is to try to establish common ground and gain momentum on the little issues. Great negotiators know that big issues become more flexible when you find some common ground on the little issues.

Once you establish those little issues and get your buyer excited about agreeing with them, your buyer is then in a better state of mind for negotiating that price he said earlier he would not budge on.

Where Agents Fail in Stand-Offs

The inexperienced agent thinks he has to deal with the major issues first. He thinks, “If we can’t agree on the big issues, how do you think we are going to agree on the little issues?”

This is like tackling a giant’s chest instead of going for his ankles or knees. You’re just going to make him mad instead of appealing to areas you just might have a fighting chance.

And it goes back to my earlier point: people are more likely to yield on the big issue if you’ve established some momentum and common ground.

That momentum is key to breaking that standstill.

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