Agent’s Perspective - Negotiations

Most people don’t know how to negotiate. Even in the most obvious situations where compromise is expected, most feel too awkward or embarrassed to negotiate. In the real estate business negotiation is a daily activity. Successful realtors become skilled at handling the myriad of situations that require careful negotiation.

We remember a senior, retired, businessman telling us early in our career that “everything is negotiable”. We didn’t really take what he was saying literally until years later, when we decided to focus on the concept of negotiation and study it.

Most of us feel uncomfortable at the thought of being put into a situation where negotiations might be prudent. In some cultures negotiation is more acceptable and expected than in others.

Top level business people, world leaders and diplomats, are involved in negotiations on a daily basis. There is very specific training and skills required to be successful at negotiations. Some of us feel that trying to haggle the price on something is rude. It doesn’t have to be embarrassing or difficult; it’s how you approach the subject that makes the difference. It’s not so much what you say that’s important; as is the way you say it. If you become good and comfortable at negotiating on a daily basis you become more confident at the process. You would be surprised at how many things you can purchase at a more reasonable price if you knew the right things to say. If it doesn’t work you have lost nothing.

Whether in business, politics or shopping, negotiation has to have an end result of a win-win deal. Learning to negotiate comes easier to some than others. Most of us need to learn the basic skills and then practice them.

In the last couple of years, the Bay Area real estate market has been heavily weighted as a “Seller’s” market. Inventory has been historically low and many buyers are competing for the same property. You may not be able to negotiate on price. Quite the contrary, prices are often driven up with substantial over bids. But, the sellers often have other needs that are also important to them. Also, remember one thing you can always count on in real estate is changing market conditions.

As a realtor you become comfortable with the process of negotiation due to daily situations we are exposed to. Over time it becomes more natural and non-offensive, it actually becomes fun. The better you become at it the easier it becomes to be effective. If you’re really good, most the time the other party doesn’t even realize the process they have just gone through with you.