Top Notch Negotiation Skills Needed

What it Takes to get what you want in a real estate deal

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Now that it appears that Seattle is moving toward a traditional and balanced market, you can see opportunities for negotiation more than ever. In fact, this summer my buyers had the chance to negotiate not only on purchase price, but inspections as well when purchasing their home. Beyond that, there was also room for more give and take right up until the closing date. They were in a position where the seller wanted to sell and they could move on and still have plenty of houses to choose from. My goal is for everyone to walk away feeling they were part of a win-win situation.

When you think of the type of negotiator you want in your corner for your next transaction, although you probably prefer someone strong to work hard on your behalf, did you know that a negotiator that is too strong, doesn’t take the time to learn about the needs of both sides, and puts up walls instead of finding common ground can do you more harm than good? When in a real estate transaction, your real estate agent will serve as your negotiator.

As a real estate agent who has been a part of dozens, if not hundreds, of negotiations, I have identified the top strong negotiator traits that are needed to get the job done:

Establish a Collaborative Environment –The number one skill of being a good negotiator is to make friends with the other side and seek “win/win” solutions. By watching out for not only your needs but the needs of the other side, the negotiator will build bridges and find solutions instead of just bellowing and trying to advance the one side’s needs by exhausting the other side.

Listening Skills – A skilled negotiator will take the time to learn about your needs and listen when you talk about why these needs are important. Of those needs, which are the most critical that you get? Once you are heard, the negotiator should learn about the needs of the other side and their biggest priorities. When both sides feel heard, they are more likely to make concessions on issues that are not as important to them.

Find Common Ground – Once the parties agree on points, a good negotiator will reiterate the common ground that has been established as that can go a long way in setting the positive environment needed to find even more common ground.

Stick to the Facts - Emotion is the enemy of a good negotiation. A strong negotiator knows how to keep emotion at a minimum so that the tough back-and-forth isn’t taken personally. By focusing on the facts at hand and by diffusing contention that comes when things get heated, it causes everyone to think a bit slower and work with cooler heads.

Strength on the Points Most Important to You – A good negotiator will know when to push, when to pause, and when to offer concessions in order to forward the cause. Just because a negotiator has a win-win philosophy doesn’t mean they can’t be strong when advocating for the points that you are most concerned about.

It’s up to you to make sure the agent you choose has strong negotiation skills.  Look for a strong track record. Make sure there is a good balance between listening and showing strength and positivity. Next steps should be made clear and the agent should listen to any concerns you have with an ear for solving those. And of course, read reviews. Past client experiences say a lot.  

I have had the opportunity to negotiate many a transaction to a successful conclusion. I would be happy to share these experiences with you. Reach out! I’ll share my elements of a true “win/win” deal, based on my own experiences.