There’s an art to real estate negotiation, and it doesn’t always look like what you think. There’s a lot more that goes into getting a contract than the right price, and it helps to have an expert agent on your side who can get you an optimal outcome.

Here’s a quick list of what goes into a successful negotiation process that will help you avoid overpaying for your real estate.

1. Leverage Information

Knowledge is power, and you want to support your negotiations with facts. The more informed you are about the property and the process at large, the better chance you have of walking away with a good outcome.

2. Avoid Legal Implications

Good negotiations steer clear of discriminatory acts that could violate fair housing laws. It’s best to work with an experienced buyer’s agent who is well-versed in this area.

3. Be Proactive

Stay positive, even when negotiations seem to have stalled. Instead of reacting with emotion, be proactive in exploring solutions.

4. Ask Questions

When trying to persuade someone, it’s more effective to ask questions and let the other party draw their own conclusions. Making definitive statements isn’t helpful, plus it could show that you’re unwilling to work with the other party to reach a favorable outcome.

5. Negotiate in Person

It’s easier to respond to tone and body language in person rather than the phone or email. Try to set up an in-person meeting to negotiate the price and other terms.

6. Build Rapport

Negotiations can be easier when there’s a level of rapport between the two parties (usually the buyer’s agent and seller’s agent). Even if you don’t know the other party, you should be able to find some common ground to build from. 

Adding humor, laughter, and other positive vibes can set a better tone for the process.

7. Add Value

Forget about price for a moment — think about the value an offer will bring to both sides.

For example, if you offer less than the asking price, you might mention how the local market slump is making other properties in the area sell for far less.

8. Create a Win/Win

Instead of focusing on winning, think about how the outcome will be a solution for both sides. Both the seller and the buyer should walk away feeling like they won.

9. Use Market Value, Not Asking Price

Don’t focus too much on the asking price if the home is priced above market value. Work with your agent to understand local market conditions and use that in your negotiations.

10. Don’t Fear Friction

Friction in negotiations can be a good thing. Think about it: if the seller accepts your first offer, you may wonder if you could have offered less for a better price.

11. Walk Away

Be prepared to say no if a deal simply isn’t working out. Walking away will sometimes tip the scales in your favor, but if negotiations dead end there, at least you won’t be committed to a situation that isn’t right for you.

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