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Winning Negotiation Tactics

There are many misconceptions when it comes to successfully negotiating the sale of your house. While a seller shouldn't fully divulge the reasoning behind the sale, this does not mean a rigid demeanor will give you the best results. Follow a few negotiating tips to optimize your final price.

Get Information. Being well informed about your market is the first step to being a shrewd negotiator. Comb all available resources regularly to stay on top of developments and shifts in the marketplace.

A real estate agent is a priceless asset to have for research purposes. Besides experience with your market, an agent also has access to comparable market analyses (CMA). These reports list properties in your location that are currently on the market or have sold. Pay attention to the houses that have sold and what features came with these properties. The amenities your house provides could boost your asking price. Always try to get the latest CMA, as market fluctuations can quickly render your information outdated.

Buyer's or Seller's Market. It's important to know if your house is located in a market favorable to a seller or a buyer. Obviously, a seller's market is what you want, since these areas will lend more leverage when negotiating. This does not mean you can't have leverage in a buyer's market. If you're selling in a buyer's market, you'll need to get information on prospective buyers. If a buyer “falls in love” with your house, or is in dire need to find a home, then you can have an advantage when fielding offers.

Don't Show Your Motivation. While knowing a buyer's motivation is greatly beneficial, a buyer knowing yours is equally harmful. Maintain solid footing in the negotiation by not sharing too much information. An empty house with disconnected utilities will point to a seller desperate for an offer. And every buyer or agent is looking for signs that you're under a tight deadline. Keep your house staged and in good upkeep. And don't let agents or buyers know your moving timeline or deadline. The negotiations will turn out far better if you do not appear pressured by finances or time.

Schedule Face-time. Even though most correspondence will go through agents, it's easier to negotiate with a person you've met in person – or when they are standing right in front of you. Besides the obvious importance body language plays when negotiating, a face-to-face meeting also keeps the negotiation amicable. It's far easier to be unyielding and mean spirited through e-mails and phone-calls. Try to make connections with prospective buyers at open houses. Light conversation can put you in a buyer's good graces, which can help during the give and take of counter-offers.

Add Some Competition. A buyer will be more interested in your property if there is interest from a third party. Outside interest increases the perceived value of a house and can help you negotiate for a higher price. Remember, the possibility of multiple offers is a headache buyers would like to avoid. Use the option of another buyer to your advantage.

This is Not a War. People can get caught up in the offer/counter-offer process. Sellers might place too much stress on “winning” the negotiation that they lose focus on the most important thing; selling your house! Some compromise will be needed before a reasonable agreement is reached between buyer and seller. Listen to the wants of your buyer in earnest. What might seem frivolous could be a big concern for the buyer, and could make or break the deal. Above all, do not let emotions overtake reason. A low-ball offer or criticism of the property is not a personal insult. Don't let your desire to “win” create a hostile negotiating environment, which will ultimately scare off otherwise solid offers.

By following these basic negotiating standards, you can respectfully deal with agents and buyers. And being in good standing with buyers will lead to a less frustrating and more rewarding sale. While you hone your negotiation skills, make sure your house is also prepared to sell.

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