Make buying or selling a home a pleasant experience.
Article originally published AUGUST 4, 2004 –Reviewed and approved.
By Neil Jenman
The great truths in life are always simple. And the basics of real estate negotiation are all based on simple truths. A major principle of negotiation is fairness. If you go into a negotiation with a win/lose attitude, it will rarely be pleasant. As the saying goes, “If you get involved in the rat race, even if you win, you are still a rat.”
So, don’t be a rat. Don’t bluff or tell lies. Just state the truth plainly. Make your intentions clear, but make it clear, also, that you want to be treated fairly. Being fair does not mean being soft. It means being fair and firm. Don’t treat people as if they are dishonest, no matter how cynical you may feel. Be friendly. Act as if you expect to be well treated.
If people see you as honest and fair, you are more likely to be treated honestly and fairly. If you are also seen as competent, you are even more likely to be well treated. Your best chance of being treated fairly is to have a fair attitude. In short, you should be fair, firm and friendly.
There is an inherent goodness in many people which is more common than most of us believe. It surfaces when people are fair with each other, regardless of the attitudes of some agents. In real estate you are dealing with people’s feelings. If you respect others and treat them fairly, you may be delighted at how they treat you in return.
The most successful negotiations are where buyers and sellers are both satisfied. If you bring the element of fair play into a negotiation, it will make you feel good; and that’s a good deal in itself.
One of the main causes of distress in real estate is trying to do the impossible. People often stretch themselves too far financially or try to buy or sell at levels not possible for their situation.
For instance, if you are selling, you cannot base the selling price of your home on your personal needs. Too many sellers set their asking price based on what they “have to do” in the future. This is not realistic.
The real estate market cannot give you your personal needs. The market can only give you the best price on offer in the market. Whether or not this price matches your needs is another issue.
Don’t say, therefore, that you “need” a certain price. Say, instead, that you want the best market price. If that price matches your needs, you can sell. If not, you can stay. And remember, that the price you get today may not be as high as the price you could have got yesterday. That’s just the way it is. You can blame agents for some things, but rarely for the economic conditions.
If you are buying, don’t say that you have to buy in a certain area at a certain price. First decide on the maximum price you can afford and then find the area to fit your price.
Most buyers select the area first and then try to buy at their price. This is the wrong way around. It is like trying to make two go into one. It won’t go. It is better to comfortably afford most of the homes in an area than to search for one home at an impossible low price.
If you can’t find a home within your price range, you are probably looking in the wrong area. You can’t expect homesellers to lower prices to match the price you can afford. That is not fair.
As a buyer, you have to compete with other buyers in the marketplace. Be one of the best buyers and this will make sure you get one of the best homes.
The same applies when you are selling. Your home competes with other homes for sale. If you price your home too high, buyers will buy better priced homes. The longer your home is for sale, the lower your selling price is likely to be. Unless, of course, you are prepared to wait for the market to increase to match your asking price; however, this may take years.
So, be realistic. As a buyer, make sure your best price will give you the best range of homes to inspect. As a seller make sure your home is priced to attract the best buyers.
Asking an unrealistic price and not attracting buyers is the same as not having your home for sale. Your home cannot be on the market unless it is priced in the market.
Whether you are selling or buying, if you are fair and realistic, you will find the whole process far more pleasant.
FOOTNOTE: This article is an abridged extract from Neil Jenman’s book, Don’t Sign Anything!
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