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7 key negotiation tactics you need to master in real estate

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Negotiation is not haggling over price. It’s a complex, nuanced, relationship-based art form that can foundationally change what’s possible in a transaction.

As a real estate professional, you are paid to negotiate on behalf of your clients; mastering these skills will ensure your place at the top of the industry. Not only will you bring in more clients and close more transactions, but you’ll also be trusted and respected by clients, colleagues and your extended sphere. 

When do we negotiate in real estate? If you answered “always,” then you are right on.

When we think of negotiation, the offer presentation comes to mind first, but there are many other crucial negotiations you’ll want to master to ensure your long-term success. 

There are seven key negotiations encountered by real estate professionals, each with unique dynamics and challenges.

Here they are in no particular order:


1. Negotiation with a seller to earn the listing

It’s tempting to see this as haggling over commission, pricing and marketing/staging, but strong negotiators see it differently. This is your opportunity to earn the trust and respect crucial to a successful real estate transaction. 

While getting the listing agreement signed is important, having a high-functioning collaborative relationship with the seller will ensure a successful sale and an abundance of organic client referrals moving forward.


2. Negotiation with a buyer to get the buyer agreement signed

Getting a buyer agreement signed is an opportunity to establish a mutual commitment and eliminate uncertainty for both sides. Building a collaborative and trusting relationship with your buyer makes it much more likely that you’ll be able to get them into a house. At the end of the day, that’s what you want and what they want. 


3. Negotiate on behalf of your buyer or seller client in an offer presentation

Advocating for your client’s interest and getting good real estate transactions done is the most important part of our work. A skilled negotiator will consider multiple factors, leverage their clients’ power, use creativity and critical thinking skills to solve problems and work collaboratively with other parties to get the best possible outcome. 

The recent strong seller’s market has created a culture where complex negotiations are uncommon. In many offers, agents simply fill in the blanks and email the offer. This is a worrisome trend. It doesn’t work anymore, and it makes us much more vulnerable to technology disruption. 


4. Negotiate with service providers on behalf of your clients 

Real estate transactions are complex, and helping your client manage the details of a move is extremely valuable to them.   

From home repairs, staging and legal and financial help to home renovations, zoning issues, inspections and the actual move itself, helping them find good reliable people on time and at a fair price makes you shine as the professional that you are. 


5. Negotiation with service providers for your own business

There is a massive industry that only exists to serve this industry. While many of these providers are valuable, many aren’t. 

It’s crucial that you be able to discern what you need versus what you want and to build a well-branded, well-respected real estate business without spending all your profits. Negotiation skills will help you uncover important information so you can make good decisions.


6. Negotiation within your team  

While teams continue to grow in popularity, the difference between teams that work and those that struggle lies in their ability to agree on how the team will run. 

This is negotiation. Decisions about who gets the leads, the commission split, who pays for marketing, what education is mandatory and who is responsible for business development are all critical to the team’s success. 

Different team members have different interests, and negotiation is inevitable in finding the balance. The art is to have this negotiation in a way that builds relationships and connections. Collaborative, interest-based negotiations will give you the best shot at building a successful team.


7. Negotiate with your brokerage 

Whether it’s a boutique or a national brand, the arrangement and the relationship you have with your brokerage are real factors in your success.   

Most agents look for the cheapest deal, but that’s rarely in their best interest. Finding a culture that aligns with you, trusting and respecting your managing broker and having services available that help you run a better business are all factors to consider in this important and ongoing negotiation. 


This isn’t a complete list. You negotiate daily as you move around in the world, and of course, there is your family who is often inconvenienced by the chaos of a real estate career. 

Each of these negotiations matters to your business success and your personal happiness. 

Principled negotiation skills; including collaboration, communication, strategic thinking, creative problem-solving, self-management and more; will go a long way to helping you build a business that you can be proud of for many years to come. 



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