Representing Buyers and Sellers on Long Island for over 25 years

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Negotiation Tips ...

Whether you're buying or selling, once you've found a house you like or a buyer has decided they like your house, that's when the fun begins. Some sellers are negotiable, some wont' budge an inch. Some buyers just want the house, some are determined to make the acceptance of their initial offer the beginning of the negotiation process, not the end. Either way, negotiation is part of the process so you'd better be prepared.


  1. DON'T CONFIDE - You never really know who your friends are. Different real estate agents have different approaches to negotiation. Some have a legal obligation to one party to a transaction and that may require them to reveal your bottom line to the other side. A simple statement made to an engineer during inspection may cause big problems later on. Play it close to the vest and it will keep the negotiations free from outside influences

  2. TRY TO LOWBALL - Depending on the market and the particular house this can sometimes be the blueprint for disaster, but some people have used it successfully. If you say you like the house but "really can't spend this much" or  you like it but your spouse doesn't or you really wanted a pool or a bigger kitchen, etc.,  it may get you a price reduction you don't have to ask for. WARNING: You can lose the house while the negotiations drag on or if your seller doesn't take you seriously.

  3.   GET OR GIVE ICE IN THE WINTER - If your sellers are firm or your buyer are insisting on a price reduction you just can't agree to maybe throwing in things a new homeowner can use and the old homeowner doesn't really want to take with them will clinch the deal. Don't let visions of a great tag sale cost you a deal. If you were taking your refrigerator and that's what's killing your deal, LEAVE IT!. If you're the buyer, is it worth looking for another house? That pool table in the basement or even the big screen TV (you want a new one anyway, don't you?) may make everyone agree to proceed to contract.

  4. ENGINEER THE HOUSE - Make sure you have the house inspected by a professional. For buyers not doing so can have expensive consequences later. You may be able to use the results of the inspection to negotiate a reduction in the price, a credit for the cost of repairs at the time of closing (some sellers don't want to do the actual work) or the repairs being done by sellers before closing. As a seller, having the house inspected before putting it up for sale may allow you to make minor repairs that will pay big dividends when you show the house and will prepare you for possible negotiations after a potential buyer inspects

  5. . WHAT'S DRIVING THE DEAL? - Whether buying or selling there are generally unique factors that are unique to each party. Did your buyer already sell and needs to find a new house quickly? Is your seller in foreclosure? Is it being sold by an estate that really wants to get the money now? Nasty divorce? Find out all you can about the other side (while revealing as little as you can about yourself) and use the information to help guide the negotiation.

  6.   .DON'T DEMONIZE THE OTHER SIDE - Each side to the negotiation has a legitimate point of view. The seller is allowed to get the most for their house and the buyer is entitled to try for the best price possible. Each may well have their own closing dates, holdover periods, repair list and overall assessment of the deal. Despite the prevailing belief of brokers that the people shouldn't be allowed to talk sometimes five minutes of a face to face talk can save weeks of third-party negotiations.

  7. PREPARE, PREPARE, PREPARE - Nothing frustrates negotiation faster that one side making a statement that the other side knows to be untrue. Maintain your credibility and provide backup for the positions you take.

    • Determine exactly what you want
    • Research to find out what constitutes a fair price for what you want to buy/sell
    • Figure out what's most important to you and to the buyer/seller

  8.   DON'T GLOAT - The most successful negotiations are the ones where each side believes they have won. If you win a major point in your priorities, enjoy the victory away from public view. There may be other issues to be discussed and a person who believes they have lost a negotiation will try to catch up, soon!
  9.   BE POWERLESS- - Nothing empowers better than claiming to have no power. If you want to improve on a tentative agreement, then advise that you are OK with it but that someone else (spouse, in-laws, parents, accountant) to OK the deal. May give you room for one more tweak!

  10.   NEVER FIRST OFFER BEST OFFER - No one ever believes an asking price or first offer are the best deal possible. Always leave a little room to sweeten the deal so the other side can feel the satisfaction of winning something.

    Remember: If the buyer wants to buy and the seller wants to sell there is always a deal to be made!

    Keith, Shapiro & Ford
    666 Old Country Road. Garden City, NY
    (516) 222-0200