Negotiating an Offer
Not Rocket Science

How can you be successful while negotiating an offer with a buyer and avoid lowering your bottom-line price? It's possible, depending on the buyer's priorities, and whether or not they're fair minded. It should not be a tug o' war.

If they're determined to buy your home at an unfair rock bottom price, there's not much you can do about it except to refuse to deal with them. Therefore, unless you're under duress, politely tell them to take a hike, or ...

Capitulate and Agree to their Demands

After playing the game for a bit, maybe the buyer will ultimately agree to your terms. They may really, really want your home. Remember that given the right circumstances, it's sometimes possible to get the best terms of sale by being prepared to walk away from the negotiation table. However, you may lose them too.

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It's a Gamble

If you're working with the guidance of a realty agent, and that agent possesses the requisite skills, they can ask strategic questions of the buyer's agent and interpret their body language and voice intonations to effectively advise you how far to press the buyer during negotiations. Of course, if you're selling solo, this is your personal responsibility. Thus, you better have the requisite skills, or learn them fast. To help in this regard, check out my book The Happy Agent.

Or maybe, another buyer will come along who values your home more, and happily agree to pay your price.

After much hope and great effort, attempts to sell your home may prove fruitless. Maybe, your expectations are unrealistic and should be objectively re-evaluated.

If the market fails to deliver your price, don't blame your agent or the market. All your agent can do is offer knowledgeable, honest advice and effectively expose your property to the open market. If the market disagrees with your lofty estimate of market value, you must accept that because ...

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The Market Never Lies

You might actually have to adjust your expectations and reduce your list price. Click here to learn more about when it's time to reduce.

Price, Closing Date and Conditions

When negotiating an offer on behalf of a seller, in an attempt to reach a balance between the parties, I asked the buyer's agent about their client's offer priorities. While explaining that my seller wants to be fair and realistic, I would often ask the buyer's representative which single term is their client's most important - price, closing or conditions. These are usually the top three issues involved in real estate negotiation.

If it's price, I would recommend my seller counter the offer with the seller's preferred closing date and give a little on price. Conversely, if the buyer must have a particular possession date, maybe because their own home is sold firm with an inflexible closing date, or they've already given notice of vacating their rental apartment, then I used to advise my seller to agree (if possible) to the buyer's particular date. In exchange, we'd ask the buyer to agree to the seller's price, provided of course, that it's fair and reasonable.

If the buyer refuses to accept this price, then I'd suggest to the buyer's agent that their client improve their offer in some other manner. It could be removing one or more conditions, increasing the deposit, removing a requirement of the seller or deleting chattels or fixtures from the contract. Maybe, the buyer would agree to exclude the major appliances, hot tub, expensive light fixtures or maybe a gas fireplace insert. In other words, there are often options for negotiating an offer without lowering the price.

In the end, if all else fails, maybe that particular buyer just isn't the next owner of your home. Or maybe you're not motivated or realistic enough. Unless you're in a strong seller's market, making unreasonable demands usually proves unsuccessful. During normal balanced market conditions, it's give and take. That's how to successfully negotiate a real estate offer.

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When negotiating an offer,
the key is in the negotiating

To learn more about negotiating an offer, including information about the real estate contract and real estate negotiation from a buyer's perspective, feel free to visit other pages on my website. For more tips on the selling process, visit CREA.

After you've digested all this information, you'll see that negotiating an offer really isn't that complicated, provided you have good guidance along the way, or the knowledge itself to go it alone.

If you're considering selling your home, with or without an agent, check out my book The Happy Agent. It contains the sum total of the real estate knowledge, philosophies and ethical techniques that I've accumulated, practiced and polished during a highly successful 44-year realty career.

Learn how to effectively evaluate your home and prepare it for market to maximize the ultimate sale price, how to market and advertise effectively, how to handle showings and open houses like a pro, how to successfully negotiate an offer and more. If you're trying to sell privately, you'll learn how to recognize the signs of when it's time to throw in the towel and hire a professional and what to expect from them.

When you consider the huge possible savings in real estate commission with a private sale attempt and the fact that you're dealing with your largest single financial asset, a small investment of your time and a pittance of your money could save you thousands of dollars and a ton of heartache. At the very least, you'll be encouraged to try it alone, at least for awhile. Remember - knowledge is power. Learn how to negotiate like a pro.

Available virtually everywhere print and e-books are sold.

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