Negotiate like a BOSS


One thing is certain- when both parties to a real estate sale feel like they are winning something, everybody has a reason to stay in the game. But there are as many ways to strike a compromise as there are properties to wheel and deal over. So it can be crucial to look beyond just the sales price and analyze all the other pieces to the transaction puzzle. To keep things simple, I like to split the common bargaining chips into two stacks: negotiable items which affect the money and those that affect the reliability of the agreement.

Let's take a look at the basic money pieces first. Here we have:

  • Amount of Sales Price
  • Who Pays for Title Policy
  • Who Pays for Survey
  • Amount of Seller Concessions to the Buyer (for closing costs)
  • Amount of Home Warranty

Next we should consider the security related variables which impact if/when the transaction might close:

  • Closing Date
  • Amount of Earnest Money
  • Length of Option Period
  • Length of Third Party Financing Contingency
  • Type of Financing

Other oddball things to toss back and forth might be which Title Company is chosen, when the buyer will take possession of the property or any non-realty items to be included in the sale. Because the unique needs of buyers and sellers are so diverse, there is a real art to bringing both sides together under terms agreeable to everyone.

When I approach a negotiation, my clients and I give plenty of thought to the motivations of all parties. Some points for analysis could be:

  • Is the seller willing to go to great lengths (even major inconveniences) to sell at the highest price possible?
  • Does either party have an important deadline like moving before school starts back in the fall or a professional relocation?
  • How confident are both parties in the buyer's ability to finance?
  • Can the seller afford to make repairs for incoming buyers?
  • Does the buyer need additional help from the seller in order to cover closing costs?
  • Will the property appraise for the contracted price?
  • Does the seller have an existing survey?
  • Is the seller close to default on the existing mortage?
  • How special is the appeal of the property to the buyer?

These types of speculative questions could go on for days. Most importantly, you should ask yourself WHY you are buying or selling and resolve to negotiate for those top priorities first. Don't forget to communicate those objectives with your REALTOR! Even better, allow your agent to remind you of those objectives as things get complicated.

While real estate negotiations can become intensely emotional in the heat of the haggle, do yourself a favor by keeping your eye on the big goal and remain willing to trade small things to achieve it! In order to make it all the way to closing, both sides need positive reasons to stay in it for the long haul. Choosing an expert agent who can explain the intricacies of RE contracts AND offering your own willingness to catch flies with honey is the absolute best way to Negotiate Like A BOSS!