Come to the table with a bargaining tool. For sellers, that
might be a preinspection of their home. Knowing a property’s
problem spots up front lets sellers decide in advance what
they are willing to fix and provide quotes for what they aren’t. It
can also preempt buyers’ e;orts to renegotiate price based on
those issues, says David Harts, GRI, associate broker at Keller
Williams Realty in Santa Rosa, Calif. “If there is a problem with
the pool, and the buyer wants $20,000 back, that’s not the time
to go get those quotes because you’re not going to get them in
a timely fashion,” Harts says. “Having them in your pocket is a
strong card you can play to reduce the buyer’s demands.”
Be brutally honest. In tough negotiations where the other
party won’t waver, it may be okay to be vulnerable and state
exactly why your client can’t meet those demands. But do it in a
way that conveys your client’s story and makes it relatable. Karl
Whittenbarger, a sales associate with Heartwood Properties in
Boulder, Colo., recently represented buyers who were having a
di;cult time getting their o;ers accepted. “We had lost out five
times to cash o;ers,” Whittenbarger says. “In the next o;er, I
cut to the chase and said, ‘Look, this is who my clients are.’ ” He
explained that they were both educators buying for their daughter and one day hoped to retire in the home, but they simply
didn’t have the $275,000 in cash that other bidders had o;ered.
The story resonated with the seller. “What got us in the door,”
Whittenbarger says, “was brutal honesty about who they were
and why they couldn’t pay cash.”
Never speak for your client. When making negotiation
decisions, remember to say to the other party, “My sellers have
instructed me that this is how we’re going to handle this,” Ru;ni
says. You don’t want to sound like you’re the one making the decision because if your clients change their mind, you’ll come o;
looking indecisive and unprincipled. And nothing undermines
your position more than losing the other side’s respect. “If the
other negotiator doesn’t think you’re being genuine or thinks
you don’t know what you’re doing, that’s going to factor into the
negotiations,” Ru;ni says, “and it’s going to be more di;cult for
you to negotiate well on behalf of your clients.”
By Lynn Olson
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