Buyer Agents: 11 Step Guide, How To WIN The Negotiation Game

Buyers Agents: Do you plan to just make an offer, or do you plan to win the house for your clients?

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The definition of negotiating is bringing two or more parties to an acceptable agreement. Be in it to win it, but learn to negotiate professionally to reduce the stress of the process. Today, we’ll help you polish up your negotiating skills.

Get the facts!  Knowledge = Confidence.  What do you know about the Subject Property?  What do you know about the seller’s situation?  Today we’ll give you 11 things you must know before you write up your next offer!  

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Know all you can about the subject property and the seller’s situation, wants, and needs. Whether you’re on the listing or buyer side, here are the facts to gather before you start negotiating. (BONUS! The Negotiation checklist is included in Premier Coaching!)

Mark Twain said, “Supposing is good, but finding out is better!”

1 Buyer’s Agents: Read all of the MLS descriptions, including extended comments/agent comments.  Many times the listing agent will actually state exactly what it will take for the seller to consider an offer.  If not, call the agent and find out what the seller’s priorities are (not just the price).

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2 Notice if there are any details listed, such as ‘not FHA approved’ or ‘seller financing may be available’, ‘seller to contribute up to $5,000 toward buyer’s closing costs’, ‘as-is only’, ‘contingent on seller finding suitable housing’, etc.

3 Run the history, or ‘archive’ as some MLSs call it, of the property.  Also, search Zillow, Google, and even YouTube to see if it may have been a For Sale By Owner prior to being listed.  This search should take you 5 minutes or less but could mean the difference between winning or losing. 

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4 Find the Days on the Market so far. Is this a fresh listing, or has it been on or off the market previously? Has the price been raised or lowered? Has it been pending before and gone back on the market? What caused that? Inspection or appraisal issues? It’s okay to call the listing agent and find out!

5 What are the comparable sales for this property?  The most recent sales and pending.  How many days on the market did those homes take to sell?  What is the list-to-sell price ratio?  Are these numbers going up or down?

6 What is the active competition?  Does the buyer have zero other choices, a few, or many?  Is there new construction in the area?  How does the subject property compare?  Note: If there are very few competing homes, you can always expect to pay MORE, not less, unless it’s been on the market for excessive days, and if that’s the case, find out WHY.

7 What else is important about this property? Is it in the floodplain? Is it in an extremely competitive area due to a corporation moving into town? What’s going to happen to the field behind the house? Are they really going to bury the power lines soon?  

(This is all included in the Pre-Negotiation Checklist for our Premier Coaching members)

Next: What do you know about the Seller’s Priorities?  Knowledge equals confidence, ignorance equals fear.

Remember that negotiating is reaching an acceptable agreement between parties who have different needs. Find out what’s important to each party so you can negotiate on both sides so that everyone feels satisfied.  

Benjamin Franklin famously said, “By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.”

8 What is the seller’s motivation? Why are they moving? Do they ‘want’ to move, do they ‘have’ to move, or have they already moved? Generally, a seller who has already bought their next home is more motivated than one who is only moving if they can get ‘their price’ and hasn’t even looked for the next property. Ask the listing agent and see what you can learn about the situation.

9 What is the seller’s ideal closing and possession date?  Do they have a specific time frame that is important to them?  Do they need a lease-back or a longer or shorter closing time frame?  Are they building or relocating, or have other concerns about how the timing will work?  

10 What else (besides price) is important to the seller?  Do they have a stainless steel fridge they just can’t part with?  Would they rather include all the furniture with the sale? Are they taking the hot tub and pool table?  

11 Has the seller had other offers and turned them down?  If so, what was wrong with those offers?  How can you win this time?  Do they have unrealistic expectations?

Proper Previous Planning Prevents Pitifully Poor Performance.  The more you know about the house and the seller, the better offer you can put together.  Remember, your buyer wants to BUY the house, not just write an offer!

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