Tips and Traps When Negotiating Real Estate: Play the Players

Play the Players

The basis for this chapter comes from an old friend of mine named Harry, who was a great poker player. In the past, Harry and I would go to a game, and after an evening of playing, I’d look down and be happy because I’d won 50 bucks. When I’d go over to see Harry, he was often ahead 500 bucks.

When I asked Harry his secret for winning at cards, he replied, “I don’t play the cards . . . I play the people.” Well, he certainly knew his cards, but he knew the other players even better. He could “tell” when another player was bluffing or held a higher hand. And he knew when he held the winning cards.

Negotiating real estate is much like playing poker. Yes, you cer­tainly have to know how the mechanics of a deal work. But, almost more important, you have to know how to play the people you’re dealing with. You will always be working with people. Deals don’t exist in a vacuum; deals are about people. But how you handle the people with whom you deal often determines how successful you are at negotiating. I believe that the people-part of any deal is the most important.

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