|Negotiating gambits: Part 1|
Julie Garton-Good, GRI, DREI
In a perfect world, all buyers would pay cash, real estate
closings would occur over night, and buyers and sellers would negotiate fairly
Unfortunately, welcome to the real world where buyers
whittle at the price, stretch out the closing and use negotiating gambits to try
and get what they want.
In this first of a two-part article, we'll help you as a
seller reinforce your position with the buyer for an expedient win/win sale!
Let's begin with the bottom line: No one (neither buyer nor
seller) gets to win all the marbles! No one needs to lose all of the marbles
either (although your head may feel like it after you've negotiated non-stop
with a buyer!).
Here are some negotiating gambits you may encounter, along
with counter tactics you can use as ammunition.
Variations on this theme include "we can't go any higher because we just
don't have that much money".
Antidote: Remember that it's
not necessarily price, but net proceeds that you should focus on. Second, remind
the buyer that everything is give and take---if he wants you to lower your
price, he'll have to find a way to pay his own closing costs!
technique is generally used once negotiations are finalized (although this
gambit can occur within the body of the negotiations too). The buyer might tell
your agent, "I'm just sure the seller said we could have the microwave. I
never would have made the offer I did knowing it wasn't included!" The
buyer is "nibbling away" at what has already been negotiated.
Antidote: Make sure
everything is spelled out in writing; and if you do change/amend the agreement,
make sure all parties to the sale initial and date all changes.
Good guy/Bad Guy: This
gambit occurs when the buyers want to buy time before making a decision (often
on a counter offer), and/or want to sway or counter the direction of the sale.
One of them is the good guy, the other the bad guy. They are very rarely in the
same room or location together as this can lessen their impact as a team. For
example, the husband might say to your real estate agent, "I don't know if
my wife would come up in the offered price. She's pretty set in her ways. I'll
ask her and get back to you." He'd later call his agent back to announce, "Tell
the seller's agent that my wife won't come up in the price, but she would forget
about the refrigerator." He's the good guy for asking; she is the powerful
one at a distance making the decision--but they both win.
Antidote: If you're working
through a Realtor, he/she will probably try to present the offer to both of the
buyers simultaneously. If you're working directly with the buyers, make sure
both parties are together for all negotiations. Try to have them sit side by
side--it allows you to watch their communication more effectively. Ask if their
joint consensus is needed to make the final decision or if one can speak for
both parties. Have both sign and acknowledge all paperwork. They will try to
negotiate and renegotiate right through the closing, if you let them.
See part II of this article (also on this site), where we'll
cover additional negotiating gambits!
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