Six negotiating tactics that can kill a deal

Negotiation is a subtle art in real estate, but skilled negotiators can usually find some common ground that satisfies all parties. On the other hand, using the wrong negotiation tactics can sink a deal pretty quickly. Here are some negotiation tactics buyers (and real estate professionals) should avoid:

 1. Lowball offers: Going far below market value when you make an offer damages your credibility as a buyer and can be insulting to the seller. The seller has a range in mind that they’ll accept, and if you’re not even approaching the low end of that range, they won’t even consider the offer.

2. Non-standard contingencies: Contingencies let you, the buyer, walk away from the deal with no penalty (that is, get your earnest money deposit back) even after the contract is signed. Common contingencies include appraisal, loan approval, and inspection. If your offer is burdened with less common contingencies, such as selling your own home or getting a job promotion, you are likely to run into significant objections from the seller.

 3. Incremental negotiations: Don’t continue to go back to the seller with small increases in your offer (e.g. $1,000-$2,000). The constant back-and-forth can grow tiresome and lead the seller to consider other opportunities. Work with your agent to determine an updated offer based on comparables, and shoot for getting the offer accepting in this round, instead of trying the 'let's see what happens' tactic again.

 4. “Take it or leave it”: Try not to draw a line in the sand with your initial offer. The seller can get defensive and consider other offers if you immediately show that you’re unwilling to budge. Even if it’s true, don’t make a show of it.

 5. Nitpicking after inspection: Obviously if inspection reveals a major issue, it should be factored into the final sale price. But insisting on a lower price for every minor repair can put negotiations in a stalemate.

 6. Asking for more, more, more: Some buyers will request that the sellers throw in add-ons like furniture or appliances that weren’t included in the listing. Try to avoid giving the seller a reason to build up resentment and think that you’re being greedy.

© This article is copyrighted by Kana Nur-tegin. All rights reserved.