Negotiating is truly an art form. It requires skill and control but it can’t come off as contrived. Most real estate agents have perfected this art but just because you’re letting them do the negotiating for you doesn’t mean you shouldn’t learn the ins and outs as well.
Since buying a home is likely the biggest purchase you will make in your lifetime, we’re sharing five tips to help you negotiate like a pro and land the home of your dreams.
The biggest mistake any negotiator can make is to go in expecting to “win”. Negotiating is all about finding balance. There shouldn’t be a single winner, rather the outcome should feel like a win-win situation for both parties. Regardless of whether it’s a buyer or seller’s market, lowballing the seller will do you no good. If an offer comes in that is far below the value of the home, the opportunity to negotiate is pretty much gone. Sellers may take offence to the offer and any other offer that follows it will fall on deaf ears.
Don’t Reveal Too Much
Perfect your poker face before you start negotiating. Or better yet before you attend an open house. Like in the court of law, anything you say or do can and will be used against you during real estate deals and negotiations. And this doesn’t just apply to buyers. Seller’s should also be aware of how much they’re disclosing. If a buyer’s agent finds out an owner is in a rush to sell due to a separation, the agent can use that information get a better deal. Conversely, if the seller’s agent sees you oohing and ahhing over every aspect of the house they’ll have the upper hand because they already know how much you want it. To be safe, keep quiet and let the agents talk this one out.
Think Beyond Price
Everyone wants to make money and no one wants to lose money. So, if you’re only focusing on price during your negotiations you might not get anywhere. Think outside the box if you love the seller’s furniture, consider asking them to throw in a piece or two. You can also try negotiating on terms. Maybe you want to move in sooner or later? Or maybe you want them to replace the flooring which is showing visible signs of ware? If they fix it, great. If not, you might be able to save some money on the purchase. And you can always repair the floors yourself at a later time.
Keep It Personal But Don’t Take It Personal
When putting in an offer, don’t email or text. Pick up the phone and call the agent or better yet, meet in person. If a home has multiple bids on it, sometimes the seller gives it to the person who is there and willing to sign the fastest. Showing up shows how much you care. Caring is a good thing, but caring too much can be a problem. Don’t be an emotional buyer… or seller. No matter how much you love a property, it’s just that. Property. Agents are skilled at sussing out emotional buyers, don’t give them any reason to up the price on you.
Do Your Research
Again, your agent will have done this for you, but it couldn’t hurt to do your own research. Look at other listings in the area to help you get a better sense of the property. If you’re buying a condo, look into the builders and make sure you’re happy with their work. And don’t just stop at reading the paper or listening to the news. Call the non-emergency police line and find out about crimes in the area. Go on Facebook and see what people are saying in community groups about the building or the neighbourhood. You never know, you may even make a few friends while you’re at it.