Remember the days when you as the Seller told the Buyer to accept all your conditions or else? Those were the days when hard-nosed and belligerant REALTORS and their ambitious clients could get away with anything, and the Buyers would have to swallow it whole!
Boy, has the market changed! Nowadays Buyers have the upper hand, an Sellers and their listing agents need to have a completely different approach to negotiations. The moment a seller appears inflexible or rude, Buyers just walk away from the negotiations (why wouldn't they, there are plenty of options out there for them!).
Today's successful negotiations need:
- Patience - negotiations take a lot longer to come to fruition, it is common to have three, five or eight interactions between the first offer and the "meeting of the minds". Before, it was a matter of hours, today maybe days, weeks or even months!
- Market Knowledge - before, the market was moving so fast that Buyers did not have enough time to "do their homework" before placing an offer on a property. Today, they take their time and are much better informed, so listing agents and sellers need to be finely attuned to the market to be able to negotiate from a position of knowledge.
- Flexibility - Sellers must accept the fact that many initial offers will try to "lowball" and not get offended, simply respond with a counteroffer that shows their intention to continue the negotiations. A low offer is much better than no offer. At least the buyers have selected THIS property among many others to start negotiating with. Here is a fishing analogy: Negotiating with a buyer in this soft market is like reeling in a 50 lb. fish on a 5 lb. test line. It can be done, but it requires special skills: You must reel in slowly, patiently, let the fish pull when it wants to, without jerking the line.
- Have a strategy from the beginning. You have to know where you want to end, what you are prepared to concede and where you will draw the line, to be able to conduct effective negotiations.