Negotiating is a crucial element to real estate.  An agent who has refined this skill, can not only save a deal but also, if done correctly, save their client thousands of dollars.  

Here's how you know if you are working with a master negotiator:

A Master Negotiator is Calm...Always!

Many folks think that the best negotiators are the agents who yell the loudest and demand the most.  On the contrary, agents who take this tactic are more than likely to kill the deal instantly.  Why?  Well the whole purpose of negotiating is for 2 parties to come to an agreement and feel like they both got something positive out of the transaction.  If one party is being disrespectful to the other party (ie yelling or being condescending), then there is a shift in the power relationship where someone is being perceived as aggressive and the other as defensive.  There is no sense of equality in this dynamic, which tends to result in the defensive party feeling slighted.  And, as you guessed it, the defensive party will quickly leave the negotiating table.

A Master Negotiator Knows Their Data Cold

Now there are going to be many times during negotiating when you are calm but totally disagree with the other party.  It is crucial in this situation that you back your thoughts and argument with hard facts.  For example, if you believe a property is overvalued, it doesn't help to say "I think the property is way overpriced" without following it up with "the house next door is the same model with a larger lot and more upgrades.  This home sold for $200 per square foot, which places your listing at $500,000.  Walk me through your valuation of $565,000.  I want to make sure I am not missing anything."  This response is interesting because it is a smart way to disagree with the other party but still engage a good dialogue.   It also proves to the other party  that you have done your homework and will not allow your client to overpay for the property.  

Never Give up Your Hand...Ever!

Most experts say that the one doing most of the talking is the one losing in the negotiating.  Why is that?  Well the more you talk the more information can be used against you and your client.  Even something as simple as saying, "My client is a well known attorney in Boca Raton, so proof of funds will not be an issue."  At first glance, this may seem innocuous.  But this information can be perceived many ways.  Perhaps the seller had a bad experience with an attorney and has a bias against this profession.  Perhaps the listing agent perceived this to mean that the buyer has a lot of money and can go higher on the price.  The bottom line is this: Don't give any more information to the other party beyond what they need to know!  

A Master Negotiator Listens Intently to Get Clues

It is not only important to present your ideas and argument during a negotiation thoughtfully, but it is just as important to intently listen to the other party.  Every word out of their mouth, every pause, every laugh, cough, cracking of the voice, etc means something.  As a master negotiator you are piecing together every hint so that you can determine if what is being said is true, false or an embellishment.  If you can crack the code, your chances of gaining an upper hand for your client is exponential.

Research, Research, Research

A master negotiator will research everything they can about the home as well as their adversary.  Things that I research on the home:

  • When was it purchased and for how much?
  • Who owns the property? 
  • Any open permits?
  • What does the Seller's Disclosure say about the home?

Things that I research about the Owner:

  • Who is it?
  • What do they do for a living?
  • What is their current situation?
  • Do they have to leave the home?

Things I research about the other real estate agent:

  • What is their sales volume for the past 12 months?
  • How long have they been in the field?
  • What are their reviews like?

These are just a few things that I believe are crucial in being a master negotiator.  With experience and a willingness to learn and listen, an agent can fine tune their negotiating skills to really save their clients a lot of money.

For more information about how the Casa Ott Group can save you a lot of money through high level negotiations, please contact Nick Casamassimo or Danny Ott.