Need help Negotiating

Does anyone have any recommendations for books/courses on the art of negotiating? I’m in need of help in this area.


Here are some strategies that I have used to save thousands on property. Remember you make your money when you buy, not when you sell.

  1. Make your offer for an odd amount of money. If a seller sees an offer like 123,000 they may think that you have just pulled a number out of nowhere. If you offer an odd amount like $121,768 a seller will be more likely to think that you know what you are doing and some actual thought was put behind the number.

  2. Never say “This is what I think you home is worth”. Instead let the sellers know that “This is the amount that I can afford to pay for your home”. This slight change in dialogue will help eliminate discussions about how much the seller thinks his/her home is worth.

  3. Don’t be an expert. Sellers are apt to feel that they are being duped if they have a sense that you know far more than them. I am not saying to act like an idiot but definitely avoid appearing that you are an expert.

  4. Move past sticking points. If you come to a sticking point in your conversation with a seller don’t sit and dwell on it. Move onto the rest of the negotiation and come back to the sticky point later on.

  5. Ask for everything. In most real estate purchases there will be a variety of things that you could care less about including in the contract. Things like appliances, window coverings, antique fixtures, etc. Even though you may not really want them, include them in your initial offering so that later down the road you can give back those things to leave the seller feeling like you are willing to budge a little in the negotiation.

  6. Use an expense letter. Layout the expenses that you think will be incurred in purchasing the sellers property. Be sure to include ghost expenses like interest paid while marketing the home, taxes, realtor fees, closing costs, etc. You may not end up doing many of the things on your expense list, but it will give the seller something concrete to look at while evaluating your offer.

  7. Make the seller feel good about themselves. If a seller likes you, the chances of your offer getting accepted at a lower price increase significantly.

  8. Set up an imaginary deadline. This is a great tool for getting indecisive sellers to make a decision. Do not push too hard or you will appear fake. Example: Try to bring up the fact that your partner and you are going to look at some other homes tomorrow. Let the seller know that you only have the money to buy one home right now, and you would love it too be the theirs.

  9. Play good cop, bad cop. Good cop, bad cop can be played even if you have to use an imaginary partner. Let the seller know that you love their home, but your partner is really into buying another property that you looked at the day before. Ask the seller what you should do to try to convince your partner that their home is the best choice.

  10. Test the seller. Don’t make them a firm commitment but ask them things like “If I could offer you x, do you think we might have a deal”.

  11. Use an inspection clause. Having an inspection clause in your contract will leave room for future negotiation on items that may be in need of repair on the home. If for instance you agree on a price of $185,000 but during inspections you find out that the furnace is cooked, you may be able to get the seller to replace the furnace, or knock a couple of thousand more off of the price.

  12. Find out why the seller is selling before making an offer. One of the best ways to uncover the motivation of the seller is to find out why they are selling. If the seller MUST sell you can negotiate a far better price than if they are just CHOOSING to sell for no particular reason.

  13. Find the sellers timeline for selling. Prior to making an offer find out what kind of timeline that the seller is on. The seller’s timeline will often dictate the type of terms that you should be offering.

  14. Do not get emotionally involved. Emotions have a strange way of affecting your profits if they are not controlled. Remember your goal is to save money, and if a seller knows that you are in love with their home then you have lost. Keep in mind if one deal does not work out, more deals will come along.

  15. No bragging. A potential seller does not want to hear how much money you have made real estate investing. Bragging about your success will only increase the likelihood that the seller will feel that they are being duped.

  16. If price is your main concern make everything else easy. If you want the seller to come down substantially in price then write a very clean offer. Clean offers often include fast closing times, cash, no inspections, and a good procession date.

  17. Prove to the seller that you are a strong buyer. A seller will be far more likely to lower their price to a strong buyer than a buyer who may not have financing lined up. If you are sending the deal to someone else then a testimonial letter from someone else who you have helped may do the trick.

  18. Be animated. When the seller lets you know what price they would like to get for the property show a surprised look, or take a deep breath. This non verbal cue may get them second guessing there price.

Negotiation Strategies For Working With Buyers

  1. Play good cop bad, bad cop. When negotiating with a potential buyer let them know that you think there offer is great but you are having trouble convincing your partner to take the deal. Ask the buyer if there are any terms that he could budge on to help push your partner over the edge.

  2. Test the buyer. Tell your buyer “We will be asking X for the home, how does that sound to you”?

  3. Set up imaginary buyers. If you don’t have many buyers lined up it may be helpful to bring in your fleet of imaginary buyers. Let your buyer know that a couple of your other buyers want the home and are finalizing financing right now. Try to bring the subject up casually like you did not even think that the person that you are talking to would care.

  4. Make the buyer feel good about themselves. If a buyer likes you they are far more likely to give you their business than if they do not like you.

  5. Appreciate your buyer’s ability to make decisions. Let your buyer know that you appreciate their ability to make decisions prior to them having to make a decision. This gives your buyer something to live up to when a buying decision is needed.

  6. Appreciate the ease of working with your buyer. Let your buyer know up front that you have always appreciated the fact that they make your job easy because they are such a pleasure to work with. By complimenting on how easy they are to work with you will create an environment where the buyer feels he needs to rise to meet your expectations.

  7. Do your homework. Have solid numbers in place for items such as repairs, fair market value, and after repair value in place before you meet with your buyer.

  8. Let your buyer be the expert. Buyers do not want to feel like they are being taken for a ride by a real estate pro. Let the buyer feel like they are the expert and you are there to learn from them. Beware, do not get carried away and come off as a flake who the buyer should not be able to trust.

  9. No bragging. Do not brag to your buyers about how much money you have been making on your real estate deals. If you decide brag about anything be sure it is about how another one of your buyers made a killing with a home that you sold them.

  10. Do not get emotionally involved. Involving emotions when dealing with buyers usually leads to hard feelings on at least one side. Leave your emotions at the door, for more profit in your pocket.

Dealing with Personality types

Talkers-As the name states they enjoy talking through issues. They tend to make decisions based on emotions or feelings rather than facts. When dealing with talkers it will be important not to rush the conversation. Take your time and listen to them. Give them light encouragement along the way by adding examples of how you have felt the same way that they are feeling.

Arguers-As the name states arguers tend to spend a majority of the negotiation trying to convince you that their way is the right way. Arguers may have already decided the outcome of the negotiation prior to even entering it. It will be important to allow the arguer to leave the negotiation with a sense that they have won and you have lost. One great way to cool down an arguer is to ask them what they would be willing to pay for their own home or if they are buying ask them what they would sell the home for. Another strategy is to distract the arguer with something off topic that they can win at, then when it comes to the home negotiation winning might not be so important.

Fact Folks-Fact folks are driven by data and statistics. Using your expense letter can come in very handy when dealing with fact folks. Prior to entering any negotiation with a fact folk be sure to have data to back up your offer. Fact folks are also great people to use the odd pricing technique with. Fact folks can be great buyers because with enough hard evidence they can easily make buying decisions. If you happen to be dealing with a fact folk buyer be sure to have all of your homework done prior to presenting them your property.

Easy Goers-Easy goers are typically the people that you will need to use your imaginary deadlines for as well as the good cop, bad cop techniques. Easy goers are often difficult to get a decision out of. They may need a little push, and handholding along the way. Easy goers are one of the toughest people to deal with as buyers. They will require a lot of hand holding throughout the entire process.

Thank you Eric - I appreciate all of your input!

  • Jean

good info, thanks eric…

i wish i could see you in action to get a firsthand look…