We negotiate far more often than we realize. Americans can benefit from studying negotiation skills because we need them in so many parts of our lives and seldom recognize that negotiation is what is happening. Purchasing real estate is one of the more obvious times this business skill is needful for everyone. Because everyone is not confident with it, negotiation skills are one of the most desired skills sought when looking for real estate agents as referenced in the National Association of REALTORS® Home Buyers and Sellers Guide.
When do we negotiate in a real estate transaction? All the time!!
- When and where to meet the client
- Best ways for them to be prepared to sell
- The Listing Agreement or Buyer’s Representative Agreement
- Helping prepare the buyer for the market they are buying in
- The cost for your services
- Showing protocols
- Managing showings
- Working offers – this is the most obvious and one to pay attention to for sure.
- Managing Offers
- The Repair items
- Problems that come up
All of these are negotiations. There are a few simple tools to help you improve your skills immediately, but this is a lifelong skill to continue to improve for your sake and the sake of your clients.
Prepare. The more you can prepare a client for what is coming in the future and help them get ahead of it, the better prepared they will be to make quick decisions that they are happy with. Prepare clients for the market they are shopping in, for the financial situation – having good financing set up or providing a seller with a seller net sheet. Work with good vendors who can help you educate and prepare your clients.
Proactive. This goes along with education in that preparation encourages correct expectations and decreases disappointment. When you can communicate proactively with your clients and make the opportunity for them to be prepared or ask good questions, they will be more at peace and in a better mind frame to engage at the level we need them to engage.
People. We are working with people. We all have different personalities and ways of getting things accomplished. As real estate agents, we can help our clients be more efficient when we understand what they need to make a decision and provide that at the appropriate time. We need to recognize that people have more going on than the deal and we want to be sensitive to their personal needs as we work together professionally. We don’t want to be nosy, but rather recognize that what is going on in other areas of their lives will affect how they behave in our deal. Getting some education on personality types could be helpful. You can pursue the DISC, Meyer’s Briggs, or the Enneagram to learn more about how you can be sensitive to the people you work with by understanding their natural personality style.
People. Again. There are many more people that are involved in the negotiation than you may realize. Start with the principles – buyers, sellers, buyer’s agent, seller’s agent – and then add lending officers, “advisors” that we may or may not know about, lawyers, adult children or parents. Be aware that we are working with a lot of people in these transactions and we need to manage many personalities and needs.
There are many full day classes on this topic. And many books written about it. All for good reason. I keep learning and applying and learn more and apply more. And I still dislike buying cars. Don’t let a setback discourage you. I do suggest you read Getting to Yes by Fisher, Ury and Patton and Never Split the Difference by Chris Voss. They offer very different approaches to negotiation and both are useful in real estate negotiations.
Finally, one of the best skills I acquired in real estate that has helped me more than any other is the ability to be tactful. That is not a skill I was born with, but I dislike upsetting people with what I say. Therefore, I learned to speak more clearly, calmly and to use better words. This has been the single best negotiating skill I have added to my business and my life.