Tips and Traps When Negotiating Real Estate: More Complications

Negotiating a Successful Deal: More Complications

Sondra and Dana waited to hear that title had transferred. They waited a day, two days, three days, five days. Finally, Madeline called and said something had delayed the Loves’ getting financing. But now it was all straightened out. Sondra and Dana had to go down to escrow and sign new papers.

“Why?” Sondra asked.

“Because the old loan documents you signed were dated. We sim­ ply need to get new dates and new calculations for payouts for the new dates.”

Dutifully, Sondra and Dana went down and signed again. And again they waited a day, three days, a week. Then Madeline called and said the Wilsons, whose four-acre house Sondra and Dana were buying, were agitated. The deal had taken too long. They felt they could have rented their place out during all the waiting to make up for the monthly mortgage payments they were still making on an empty home. They wanted $2,000 in lost rent, or else they would simply pull out of the deal since all the deadlines agreed upon had long passed.

Sondra told Madeline to wait, and explained what she had said to Dana. He thought about it and said, “If we pay the money now and the deals never close, we’re out $2,000. If we pay and there’s a fur­ther delay, they’ll want even more money. As far as I’m concerned, we should write the whole thing off and begin looking for another house to buy. I don’t think it will ever close.”

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Sondra got back on the phone and told Madeline that not only weren’t they paying the $2,000 in rent, they were backing out of the deal. After all, all their deadlines had passed as well.

Madeline said she’d call right back.


It’s important to know when to walk away. As a negotiating maneuver, it puts enormous pressure on the other parties to concede. On the other hand, you have to be willing to lose the deal, because the other parties can likewise say goodbye.

Twenty minutes later, Madeline was back on the phone. She said she had agreed to give the Wilsons half of what they were asking from her own money, $1,000, for another two-week extension. Further, she was going to call the Loves’ broker (the people buying Sondra and Dana’s house) to see what the problem was and to correct it. Would Sondra and Dana agree to wait another two weeks?

When they agreed, Madeline came right over with another extension for them to sign.

The next day, Sondra called their state’s Department of Real Estate and talked to one of the employees. She explained the problem and asked if there was anything that the state could do.

The employee was sympathetic, but said that from what Sondra had explained, it didn’t sound as though any of the agents had really done anything wrong. He said that contingent sales were the hardest to close and often ran into lots of problems. He wished Sondra luck and told her to call back if any further more serious problems developed.

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