Negotiation is an art, and one that is perfected over many years of experience. Not all real estate agents perform well in a negotiation and that can cause a home seller unwanted stress. Agents need to know the right things to say and do in order to attain the best possible selling price for a home and that requires experience.
After 36 years in the business, I know how to negotiate and have shared my knowledge with all of my agents. My theory is that there is a fair price that can be reached, provided that both the buyer and the seller are willing to compromise. Laying the groundwork for success when a house first goes on the market is the best way to ensure a successful negotiation – it might even mean achieving a price above market value if the property is special or unique.
One important factor in negotiating house sales is maintaining great relationships with other Realtors in the community. Agents rely on each other to get transactions closed – if you are respected by others as an honest, straightforward, experienced agent, this can help you immeasurably at the negotiating table. In my case, agents from other companies know that my listings will be priced accurately, staged properly and that I will deal with them fairly. Therefore, the offers they submit come closer to list price than they may have if I was an agent who encouraged overpricing or failed to recognize the importance of selling the ambiance of a home through proper presentation.
At Beth Ferester & Company, we track the difference between the list price and the final sales price of our homes, and our figures tend to be closer together than other agents. This comes from pricing accurately, which prevents us drawing in buyers who are seeing houses in the same price range that are obviously more appealing or in better locations.
In addition to price, there are other major contract terms that must be negotiated in a house sale. These include closing date, title company, making sure the buyer presents either a proof of funds or pre-approval letter, option period days, and other items within the body of the contract.
And not to be forgotten, one of the most important negotiations comes after the contract is signed and inspections are done. This is when the inspector identifies his findings for a particular home, and these have the ability to frighten a buyer and anger a seller. Potentially, this can create an adversarial relationship between buyer and seller when they have polar opposite viewpoints on what should or should not be repaired. Contracts can fall apart at this point if agents are not artful, experienced negotiators.
Once all of the negotiations are complete, we can breathe a sigh of relief and turn our full attention to ensuring that we have a successful closing.
Our next post will be our last Step #5 – Closing and personal service