You should understand that a quick negotiation is a good negotiation. Where possible, give the buyer a categorical answer as close to right away as you can. When you can’t give an answer right away, still respond promptly advising the exact time frame in which you will be able to give an answer. Taking excess time just increases the amount of time in which a buyer could find another property they like, or have someone undermine their decision to purchase.
Where possible try to speak to people directly, rather than emailing or texting. You should also be extremely contactable during this time. We don’t recommend attempting to play “hard to get” unless you are really sure of what you’re doing, and are willing to walk away.
A common situation is that buyers will ask fishing questions to determine your lowest price, instead of making an actual offer so you need to be aware of how to deflect these questions and put the onus back on the buyer. This technique is actually quite simple to employ, and can be easily practised with a friend to help you prepare. When the buyer pushes you for your absolute bottom line, you simply deflect the question and re-purpose it back to them. For example, the buyer may say “What’s the lowest price you’ll take?” you could then respond with “I’d much prefer if you just place your best offer in writing, and allow me to consider it. How does that sound?” If they still push you for a ballpark figure first, you could say “I do understand that you need a ballpark, that’s why I've set the price where it is. It’s a price I feel is fair but it doesn't mean I won’t listen to offers. If you don’t agree with my assessment then I’d like you to make your own assessment and then I can quickly consider it”
Be sure to retain clarity and a level of seriousness in the situation. Any time you have a buyer that genuinely wants to make an offer, request that they put the full details of their offer in writing. This is not legally binding but helps to make everything feel a little more real and promotes a sense of seriousness, urgency, and clarity. The written offer also gives you something to refer to at the next step if the buyer has many conditions on their offer.
It can also be helpful to change the focus and perspective of the negotiation. For example, you could agree to accept an offer on the proviso that a deposit is put down, or contracts signed within a certain time-frame. In the buyers mind, this creates a reason for them to move to the next step, and a reason for you to accept their particular offer. Proviso’s that aren't related to price also give both you and the buyer a bit of a relief valve if you’re getting stuck on the price negotiation alone.
If negotiation becomes stuck on all points, you could consider the “split the difference” – this is as simple as it sounds. You and the buyer simply agree to meet in the middle in terms of price, settlement date, inclusions or whatever you’re stuck on.
A good negotiation is about trying to create a win-win scenario, not about one side getting everything they want. A little bit of compromise goes a long way to ensuring a successful negotiation with both parties walking away satisfied. This is where you need to focus on your bottom line, and your key priorities.
Finally, keep things professional. Your demeanour with the buyer should be confident, polite, and positive. You should never personally attack a buyer over their offer. If you feel affronted by something a buyer has said, always respond calmly and politely – even if you need to wait to do so. The last thing you want to have happen is for negotiations to fall apart because the buyer made an ill-thought remark on your choice of carpeting. Remember, this is one of the biggest purchases most people will ever make so tensions can run high.
These strategies should help smooth your negotiation process but if you still get stuck, don’t forget you can always ask us for help!