You may be feeling desperate to sell your house, but unless you want prospective buyers to sense your weakness from a mile away and take advantage of it, it’s time for you to put that game face on and put yourself from a position of power– even if it’s all just a facade.
Don’t let the thought of playing hardball with your most valuable possession consume you! Use these Nine Smart Real Estate Negotiation Tips and learn how to sell your home to your advantage. As they say– “Fake it ’til you make it.”
Use time and silence to do the negotiation for you
The “Request for Remedy” stage, which is soon after the buyer’s inspection, is the number one area where transactions usually fall apart. After the buyer sends you their requests, the ball is in your court. In most cases, taking your time to respond could be a wise tactic. The longer your buyer waits without a word of your reaction to their requests, the more nervous they will get that you’re willing to walk away. As time passes, your buyer may begin to doubt the reasonableness of their requests.
Counter agressive requests with small, slow concessions
If your buyer comes with a lengthy list of requests they want to be done to the property, they may be employing the negotiation tactic of asking more than what you expect to get. Feeling guilty about saying “no” to a lot of items may be used to their advantage. The guilt may cause you to say “yes” to a few extras that you would have rejected in the first place, and this may put you in a bad spot. To counter the crafty tactic, respond to the list a little at a time, sprinkling in a few “yes’s” amongst all the “no’s” so it’s less obvious how little you’re conceding as a whole. Make sure those “yes” are mainly must-do items rather than unrealistic requests.
Seek alternatives to “yes” or “no” answers to requests
Nothing halts negotiations faster than a flat-out no. Negative responses tend to end the conversation, eliminate options, and may come across as oppositional. Instead of saying “no,” savvy sellers offer alternatives that keep the conversation going, sending a signal that you’re willing to work towards a viable resolution. One way to do that is to offer credits instead of making repairs yourself. Take the time to know what your buyer loves about your home and use that knowledge to trigger the perfect response.
BATNA (Best Alternative To A Negotiated Agreement) is the key
A lot of uncertainty will remain up in the air while the terms of your contract are still being evaluated, and the nervousness you feel may lead to incorrect judgment. Avoid these fear-driven inappropriate judgment calls by making peace with your alternatives if the deal does fall through. The first step to determining your BATNA is to list all possible options. Once you’ve identified all your choices, rank them. Determine which plan of action to put in first once the deal goes south and which one is your reservation point. Knowing your BATNA and your reservation point gives you a solid bargaining range so that you never have to worry about the pressure of negotiations pushing you to accept a bad deal to salvage the sale.
Find a win-win counter for both parties
In a real estate transaction, both parties want to come out the winner– buyers want to get the best bargain on the property, and sellers want to make as much profit from the sale as they can. But, of course, negotiating a win for both parties is easier said than done.
Finding the win-win requires drawing on your research into both your BATNA and your buyer’s desires. It’s also important to remember that a win-win doesn’t always have to be financial for the buyer. Find out the reasons why your buyer loves your home and use that to your advantage.
Study your opponent..err..buyer
Remove your fear of a negotiation battle by knowing your buyer. While some requests are frivolous cosmetic fixes that your buyer wants, the chances are that the biggest repair requests are deal-breakers that they need to be done– not because the buyer is insisting on those repairs, but because their lender is. Some loan types have appraisal repair requirements to be managed before they’ll approve the loan. These repair requests are typically related to health, safety, and the structural soundness of the property. If you know your buyer—and the repair requirements of their specific loan type—you’ll be able to identify which requests are deal-killing non-negotiables.
Keep emotions in check
One can feel pretty insulted when a buyer comes with a long remedy list, especially after you’ve invested a lot of time, effort, and money in prepping your home before listing. You may also feel offended if they dislike the results of the fixes you spent money to make. If you let these requests trigger an emotional response rather than a logic-based response, you’ll be letting your emotions sabotage your negotiations. Remind yourself that these requests aren’t personal– do your best to take your feelings out of the equation and look at the remedy list objectively.
Don’t be afraid to call your buyer’s bluff by walking away
Some buyers are die-hard bargain hunters. These buyers are obsessed with getting the best deal and push to the limit until they’ve squeezed every possible penny out of you. Don’t let this type of buyer know that you’re desperate to sell your home– and allow them to bluff that they’re willing to walk away from the sale. Knowing your BATNA is vital in this scenario. Instead of succumbing to your buyer’s demands, you’ll know if it’s in your best interest to walk away from the deal. Once you do, your buyer may back off of their unreasonable demands or let the transaction fall through (but you’ve got your best alternative plan in place anyway, so you’re good!).
Collaborate with a professional
If you’re still feeling stressed about the negotiations, get some expert help! The continuing need for negotiation skills is why hiring a top real estate agent should be a priority. Find a real estate agent who possesses strong negotiation skills and let him/her lead the process. Your agent should know how to weigh all of your options and the factors that impact your decision– and give you sound advice when the need arises. So before you settle on an agent, ask them how they help their seller clients negotiate on price, seller concessions, and repair requests and check to see how many transactions they’ve handled in the past. Doing this will help you pick the right agent for the situation.
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