Recently, the housing market is noticeably hotter – phone calls, emails, offers, and closings are all more numerous these days. But as we pull out of the sub-prime crisis, many buyers have adopted a new opening salvo. Their first offer is sometimes a radical low-ball offer, falling a whopping twenty or thirty percent below list price.
The goal of an extremely low offer like this is to identify distressed sellers – those owners who are cash-strapped and unable to wait for a better buyer. (Translation: “Are you Broke? Crazy? Desperate? If so, I can take that property off your hands…”) Unfortunately, sellers can be offended by the implications of this opening salvo, and may even refuse to counter at all. Which is a mistake.
Remember that negotiating is really a two-way conversation. Breaking off contact seldom brings the other party around to your way of thinking. Instead, I recommend a reasonable and moderate counter-offer. (Translation: “Desperate? Nope, I’m fine. How are you?”)
To which there are two possible answers: “Nevermind!” which you will hear from a true bottom-feeder. Or in the case of a serious home buyer: “Hey, I REALLY like your house. Let’s dicker!”
Which is exactly where you wanted to be in the first place!
So the best negotiating tip is to remain calm and continue the real estate conversation.