Negotiation Tips for the Obscenely Timid Agent

Does the thought of negotiating make your throat go dry? Palms sweat? Heart hammer your rib cage? If so, you’re not alone.

But never develop the chops to handle your own in a boardroom and people will eat you alive. Your clients will scold you. And you’ll have a Pollyanna negotiating reputation…which doesn’t result in more business.

In other words, if you neglect to build your negotating skills, your real estate career will be short. Fortunately for you, you can solve your problem–rather quickly I might add–by mastering these six fundamentals.

1. Start with a Fair Price and Offer

There’s no question that significantly overpricing your home will turn off potential buyers. Likewise, making an offer that’s far lower than the asking price is practically guaranteed to alienate the sellers. It might seem obvious but asking and offering prices should be based on recent sales prices of comparable homes.

2. Respect the Other Side’s Priorities

Knowing what’s most important to the person on the other side of the negotiating table can help you avoid pushing too hard on hot or sensitive issues. For example, a seller who won’t budge on the sales price, might be willing to pay more of the transaction costs or make more repairs to the home, while a buyer with an urgent move-in date might be willing to pay a higher portion of the transaction costs or forgo some major repairs.

3. Be Prepared to Compromise

“Win-win” doesn’t mean both the buyer and the seller will get everything they want. It means both sides will win some and give some. Rather than approaching negotiations from an adversarial winner-take-all perspective, focus on your top priorities and don’t let your emotions overrule your better judgment.

4. Meet in the Middle

Can’t decide who will pay the recording fee? Can’t agree on a close-of-escrow date? Arguing over cosmetic repairs? Splitting the difference is a time-honored and often successful negotiation strategy. Pay half the fee. Count off half the days. Fix half the blemishes.

5. Leave It Aside

Politicians and corporate executives are famous for their “for future discussion” agreements. If you have a major sticking point that’s not material to the overall contract (e.g., the purchase of furniture or fixtures), finish the main agreement, then resolve the other difficulties in a side agreement or amendment. This technique allows both sides to recognize and solidify basic areas of agreement, then move ahead toward a fair compromise on other terms and conditions. Summarizing the points of agreement in writing is another helpful strategy.

6. Ask for Advice

Successful REALTORS® tend to be experienced negotiators. They’ve seen what works and what doesn’t in countless real estate transactions, and they’ve established a track-record of bringing buyers and sellers together. Consult a trainer about negotiating strategies, win-win compromises and creative alternatives.

Leave a comment if this post was helpful or if you have anything you’d like to add. And if you like what you read, subscribe to the Real Estate Marketing Blog.

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Click Here to Leave a Comment Below 2 comments
Joseph Bridges

If you are a timid agent a great thing that can be done is literally just pick up the phone and call. I have been a long time proquest user and have it on all my listings. If agents call and just speak with me it is amazing what we can get done. There is no such thing as too low an offer.

Gary Elwood

Great advice, Joseph. I think the battle is won when you simply dial the phone. And don’t you agree that it gets much easier after that?


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