As we all know, time passes. It tends to slip away. And unless we’re in control of what happens with time, particularly when we’re involved in negotiations, it can do us in.
Consider the professional football team that’s down by three points in the last two minutes of the game. A good quarterback, one who knows how to “work the clock,” as they say in football, will make every second count. He can conceivably maneuver his team down the field and score, tying up the game, or perhaps even winning. But a quarterback who doesn’t “stop the clock” soon finds that no matter how well the team is performing, he’s run out of time, the game’s over, and he has lost.
Football is a metaphor for many things in life, real estate being one of them. How you control the clock in negotiations will, in large part, determine whether you get the deal you want, get a lesser deal, or no deal at all. In fact, the sentence “Time is of the essence” is usually written into most real estate contracts to emphasize its importance.
There are at least four different ways that you, as a buyer, seller, landlord, or tenant, can control time when you’re negotiating in real estate. We’ll consider all of them.
Time invested is almost as good as money invested.