Know Your Negotiation: Tips for Real Estate Agents

By Guest Blogger
March 1, 2016
This was originally published on the official blog of Century 21® on February 17, 2016*

NegotiationSkills

One of the many reasons a home buyer or seller turns to you, the real estate agent, is for negotiation help. They might lack experience and feel insecure when it comes time to talk about money and their potential purchase or sale. While you may have already brushed up on some tactics, realize that negotiating in real estate presents a unique situation. Here are some tips that may help.

Check Your Emotions, Not Theirs
Common advice recommends negotiators to remain unbiased and objective — strong emotions can potentially hurt your deal. However, as a real estate agent, it’s important to remember that emotions do play a part in your business. A home may often be the largest investment in a client’s life. Acknowledge and understand that clients might have a lot at stake, while continuing to remain unemotional during negotiation. Your clients may appreciate that you understand their point of view while maintaining a professional demeanor.

Prepare Your Clients
Whether your clients are the ones buying or the ones selling, get them up to speed on how a typical negotiation occurs. Although you may be responsible for leading the process, you can still make your client feel like a participant. Lay out the procedural steps for them, so there are no surprises or unexpected obstacles. Answer as many questions as possible beforehand so they don’t feel out of the loop or overwhelmed when the negotiation occurs.

Manage Expectations
While you may have good intentions to get your client the best deal possible, don’t promise it. After all, you can’t. A negotiation is a live, working discussion that can take many turns. Make sure your clients understand the worst case scenario by talking to them beforehand about all potential outcomes. As mentioned before, buying or selling a home may be an emotional endeavor for them. Mentally preparing them for less than favorable outcomes takes the shock out of the situation and may reduce mental stress.

Discuss Alternatives
The “worst case scenario” conversation shouldn’t end with a simple acknowledgment of potential outcomes. Create a plan of action just in case those outcomes are realized. What would your client like to do if the buyer won’t budge on an asking price? What would the buyer like to do with certain home inspection results? Deciding on an action beforehand can reduce the time and effort of decision making in the moment, which may lead to more objective, unemotional choices.

Report Facts Only
Since it’s your job to remain detached during this process, make sure you remain that way when reporting negotiation outcomes to your client. If a seller is angered by an asking price, but accepts it anyway, you may want to leave out their emotional response when reporting the offer acceptance. Their reaction is unnecessary to the business transaction, and can only add superfluous feelings of attachment to the process.

Negotiating in real estate can be a high stakes game, but these tips may help you to remain calm while you work out the best deal for your client.

*Article reprinted with permission of Century 21 Real Estate LLC.

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