Negotiating gambits: Part II
Julie Garton-Good, GRI, DREI

In part one of this article, we covered the negotiating gambits of budget limitations, nibbling/whittling, and good buy/bad guy. Let's continue our look at additional avenues buyer negotiating can take, and explore:

Higher authority: One or both of the players must defer to a third party for answers and/or approval. This could be a lender, an appraiser, a relative, even a boss. It's one way to stall for time and to evaluate all options before committing.

Antidote: Set short time frames for responding back to you and communicate to the buyer that you know he/she is capable of making sound decisions, with or without third-party input. You'll very quickly find out if the higher authority is necessary to the decision-making process or not. If so, then consider that it's a roadblock and timeframe that you'll have to deal with. The deferring to a higher authority approach can extend the "buyers remorse" period indefinitely.

The Stall: The stall is a decision not to make a decision. It usually shows that while the buyer has some positive thoughts on the offer, there are also some negative points that need to be addressed, as is often the case with counter offers. It could also signal that the buyer is waffling between offers on two properties.

Antidote: Your agent will ask the selling agent to isolate the buyer's individual concerns about the offer. Questions like "what could we change that would convince you to take this offer now?" While you need to build the buyer's desire to accept the offer now, don't forget that you have a powerful negotiating tool you can use here as well--revoking the offer before it is accepted by the buyer. While this may seem like a dire measure, there's no harm in communicating to the buyer that you understand that you can withdraw the offer at any time prior to receiving their signed acceptance. This may be just the nudge the buyer requires to make a decision.

"Reduce it to the ridiculous":The idea is to make something you're negotiating for seem so insignificant, that the other party would appear a fool to say no! For example, the buyer might say, "Tell the seller there's no way I will agree to the $5,000 increase in the purchase price he countered back with."

Antidote: Your response communicated to the buyer could be, "Tell the buyer that the $5,000 additional will only cost him 47 cents a day more to buy our home. If he's too cheap to swing that, he doesn't deserve a quality home like this!" (As with all negotiating gambits, you must avoid turning a tactic into a name-calling session, even if it appears to be temporarily in the name of progress!)

When negotiating with the buyer, don't forget a most important and sobering fact: Even though you're the seller today, once you've sold this house, the tables will be turned and you'll be sitting in the buyer's chair. Good luck with productive and fair negotiating!

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