Real Estate Negotiation Austin Style – Build Trust
Most people (but not all!) know how valuable it is to have a feeling of trust in a negotiation. When trust is high, anxiety is lower on both sides. Communication is easier. And, the buyer and seller tend to offer more than they would in an atmosphere of distrust.
It seems simple enough, but building trust takes a conscious, ongoing effort. As an agent, I begin this immediately – on first contact. It is hard to repair damage, and easy to build on a good relationship. Trust is the foundation for a better transaction for all the parties. It is used by skilled negotiators. Here are some tips for sellers on how to build trust in a real estate negotiation Austin style.
Answer Questions About the Property.
It does not cost anything to listen and respond to buyers. Some buyers are very detail oriented, and become overly fussy when under stress. If you ignore questions, they may take it as a slight. Or, they may feel that you are hiding something. Reasonable questions about the property should be answered, but there is no need to answer personal questions. You do not have to reveal what you paid for the house, your family situation, health issues, or why you are moving. We also avoid getting our sellers drawn into predictions that they should not be making. (How long will this roof last? Will there be some good appreciation in this neighborhood? Is the land behind going to be developed? What are the neighbors like?)
Disclose the property condition thoroughly.
Make sure that any large repairs are disclosed and explained up front. In particular, disclose any roof, foundation, or leak repairs. Give the dates and describe what was done. I can’t tell you how often we see seller disclosures with items left blank. Did the seller do this intentionally? The buyer then starts out uncomfortable with the disclosure, or has to follow up with questions.
On the positive side, list your improvements and upgrades. Buyers will not know what you have done to improve the house unless you tell them. This goes a long way toward building trust in the property.
If you receive an offer, get back to the buyers in a timely manner with your response. However, this does not mean immediately. Allow a reasonable time to come home from work, talk with spouse, etc. A quick acceptance can cause the buyer to feel that they offered too much. Once they have this feeling, it is hard to change it.
Treat Multiple Offers Fairly.
If you have multiple offers, the customary procedure is to give all buyers time to submit their “highest and best” offer. Let everyone have the same the same information and time period. Multiple offers create a sensitive situation, and emotions can be high.
Don’t Just Say No.
You may feel the buyer’s offer is too low to be workable. Ultimately, you may be right – it may be too low to work out. However, countering is almost always worth a try. Countering keeps the door open, and invites a better offer. Re-frame their offer in a positive way.
Give Some Wins.
People prefer to experience several “wins” rather than just one. It helps to give small concessions and deliver good news in stages rather than all at once. Do the opposite for losses – deliver bad new in one big chunk.
It makes sense to give in any area that does not matter to you. If the buyers want a quick close, and you can do it, offer it to them. If they want the refrigerator, and you would rather not move it, give it to them. Are there some large flower pots that you’d like to leave? They might love them.
Offer to collaborate.
Collaborative statements are very effective in getting everyone to work together. “We should be able to figure something out that works for both our clients. Let’s put our heads together.”
Use market data to show that you are being objective and reasonable. If the buyer does not know the real estate market, this may help. Often they do know the data, but interpret it differently. In any case, market data helps to show where you are coming from.
Another good strategy is to use generally accepted real estate contract terms when possible. This helps to legitimize offers and focus the negotiation on just a few points.
It is very important for the agents to avoid one up-man-ship, snide remarks, or any behavior that is likely to produce a backlash from the other parties.
Make Buyers Feel Welcome.
If you happen to meet the buyers during a visit to your home, go out of your way to make them feel welcome. This may require some discipline on your part if they have been demanding up to this point. Often meeting the buyer briefly is a good thing. In other cases, it may not be a good idea. This will have to be judged on a case by case basis.
Your contract should be selected based on the best price, terms, close date, and qualification of buyer. It is best to avoid accepting letters or photos from potential buyers. This may open the door to potential violations of the fair housing act (or an accusation). However, once you have accepted a contract based on the best terms for you, then it is to your advantage to keep the relationship as cordial as possible.
Share more info.
Once a contract has been settled, you may have some more info to share. A trusted house cleaner or gardener? Your drawer of appliance warranties? Neighborhood directory? A seller knew the buyers had a young daughter, and she saved a box of dolls for them. Did this make the buyers happy? YES.
You may be tired of showings and ready to stop cleaning up every day, but allowing the buyer to come by during the contract period is worth doing. Often they want to measure or show someone the home. Sellers sometimes offer to give a little training session on the special thermostat, pool controls, security, sprinkler, etc. A good transition is very valuable.
Offer the buyer first dibs.
If you are selling some stuff, offer the buyer first dibs. Email a list with photos and prices, so that they can choose what they want. Never ask the buyer to “make an offer.”
Do Not Offer Realtor Bonuses.
Bonus are sometimes offered to attract more showings. Often, a Realtor bonus is offered for, say, a “full price offer within two weeks.” In my opinion, this puts the buyer’s Realtor in the awkward position of promoting your house for inappropriate reasons. Instead, offer a bonus to the buyer for closing costs, or lower the price. I have seen this type of bonus lower the level of the buyer’s trust in the transaction.
Keep the trust level high throughout.
One of our best real estate negotiation strategies is to build trust. This does not cost a thing, and can pay back many fold. The buyer has taken the first step in a big decision. This is a critical point where some anxiety or remorse may seep in. A cordial, fair, trustworthy relationship from the beginning will serve you well during the contract closing period. And it will be good to have after closing.
Thanks you for visiting our tips on Real Estate Negotiation Austin style! After 30 years in real estate in Austin, we are highly skilled in negotiating for our sellers best interests. If you need an experienced Realtor, give us a call!