Tips and Traps When Negotiating Real Estate: Make Lists

Learn to Act: Make Lists

There is a corollary to this, namely that you can use the written word to your advantage. You can use the written word to add energy to a deal. When I’m presenting an offer (or having one presented to m e), I like to draw up lists. I ask the buyer (or the buyer’s agent) to write down everything he or she wants out of the deal. I myself make a similar list, which I hand to the other party. Of course, there are the usual things that pop up such as price and monthly payment amount. But there can often be unexpected things such as “home appearance” or “good neighborhood” or “number of bathrooms” or even “quick deal.”

The list helps everyone identify what the real stumbling blocks may be. Maybe we’ve spent hours arguing about price. But what the buyer is really concerned about is neighborhood. If I convince the buyer that the neighborhood is really better than she thinks, she may be willing to pay a higher price. “But I’m really concerned with price,” the buyer may say. “Indeed, then how come the first thing on your list is ‘neighborhood’?” When it’s written down, it’s hard to deny.

If “quick deal” shows up anywhere on a buyer’s list, I know that I’m almost home free. I simply ask, “Okay, if I’m willing to sign right now and let you move in next week, will you accept my price and terms?” I may not get everything I want this way, but I usually can get a lot. of it.

Putting it in writing helps to identify the true needs and wants of the other party, which may not be revealed any other way. It also helps the other side to identify your true needs and wants. A list is a wonderful means of finding out the triggers that will make your opponent move on the deal. And giving them a list from your per­spective may help them give you just what you want.

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