Negotiating (Don't be Afraid to Walk Away)

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Sellers expect you to negotiate. If you don’t, they start second-guessing their pricing and wondering if they should have asked for more.

Negotiating real estate starts with seller research. Find out everything you can about the sellers, such as how urgently they want to sell, why they’re selling, and when they’re moving if the property is owner-occupied. If you’re using a real estate agent, have them feel out the listing agent. You’d be surprised how often listing agents get talkative.

Come in with the lowest offer you think the seller will take seriously enough to counter. The more urgently the seller wants to close, the lower that number can be.

To reduce your cash due at settlement, don’t hesitate to build a seller concession into the negotiation.

Most importantly, set a ceiling price before you even make your opening offer. Commit to it in writing, and tell someone what it is to lock it in place. If, after negotiating back and forth, the seller won’t accept a number under that ceiling, walk away. A surprising number of sellers call you back after a few days to say, “Well, maybe I can make those numbers work after all.” Sellers bluster and posture, but when you stay emotionally detached, you can walk away from not-so-stellar deals, which positions you to buy nothing but good deals.

Follow these negotiating tactics to keep a firm handle on negotiations, and always be prepared to walk.

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