How do you get the upper hand when negotiating your real estate deals? After 20 years of negotiating mine and our students' deals, we have learned exactly how to do this using three persuasive tactics. I am so excited to share these tactics and the importance of utilizing them in every single real estate deal you are interested in landing.
Negotiating Tactic 1: Come Up With Your Take Price Before You Make the Offer
A take price is the highest price you're willing to pay for your deal. It is the price where you'll take the deal, hence the name, "take price". Once you come up with your take price, put it in your back pocket. Don't share it with the broker or the seller, this price is for you, and perhaps your coach, only.
Once you've decided on your take price, you are ready to make an offer. Your very first offer should be your take price, minus 5% or 10%. We do this because we want you to anticipate them countering your initial offer price. For example, if your take price is 500,000, then your initial offer would be around 450,000. That way if they counteroffer you are able to take anything between your offer and your take price and still feel good about it. Any offers above your take price you pass on or try to negotiate harder in order to keep it at or below your take price.
Negotiations are More Perception Than Reality
I have a very basic example to prove this, that I guarantee will happen to you. You are going to make an offer, and the seller is going to say, "You're offer is too low. I've already received offers higher than yours." This statement is more perception than reality and is quite possibly false. The seller probably received a verbal offer that could be higher than yours, but it must not have ever materialized. Because if he had received an offer higher than yours, why did he not take it? Because it is not real. Don't fall for this trick.
Come up with your take price because it anchors you. It encourages you to fall in love with the numbers and not the property. A huge mistake people make when just starting out in real estate is getting too emotional with the beauty of the property, and forgetting about the numbers. A take price causes you to not overpay during negotiations. Negotiations can become very emotional causing people to overpay, but with a take price you are anchored to your price. Persuasive tactic number one is come up with your take price.
Negotiating Tactic 2: Meet the Seller in Person When Negotiating
When you negotiate a deal on the phone or through email, the seller is building their own idea and perception of who you are and most times, it's not a good one, because you're negotiating with them. The only way to overcome that negative image is by meeting the seller in person, in order to forge a human connection. Forming a human relationship with a seller can help give you the edge in the negotiation.
For example, we had a student that was stuck at $775,000 with the seller, and the deal was going nowhere. They were stuck and both the student and the seller were holding their ground. I told the student to go visit the property with the owner face-to-face, walk around the property, ask a lot of questions, develop rapport, and go to Starbucks afterwards. That's what they did. To make a long story short, in that two-hour period, the price went down from 775 to 705. He saved $70,000 off the price in two hours. That's $35,000 per hour. That is what meeting the seller will do for you.
When you meet the seller, I guarantee you, you will win. The human connection is very important in the real estate negotiating game. More important than you think.
Creative Real Estate
If you wind up short some funds for your down payment, or need to do something creative like a seller carry second or master lease agreement, forging a human connection and meeting the seller in person will increase your creative financing chances by 10 times. If you are short on money and you need to do something creative with your deal, meeting the seller in person will increase your chances of doing something creative, guaranteed.
When you meet the seller in person during negotiations, your real estate negotiation period is more about your relationship than how much money you have in the bank. Real estate investing is a relationship-based business. It is today and always will be.
Negotiating Tactic 3: No One Likes to be Coerced into Something
Persuasive tactic number three is very important to remember when negotiating with a seller. A smart investor will encourage the seller to think they are in control by giving them a quick out. I personally use this on my wife all the time and it works. (Sorry dear wife, but I just have to share this, I hope you forgive me.)
Studies have shown that if you use affirming subtle language like, "You'll probably refuse this, Mr. Seller, but would you consider it?", it increases their compliance a dramatic amount. If you want the seller to agree to what you want to do, not only do you have to state what you want, but you also need to give them an out.
An example would be, "Mr. Seller, would you pay for the closing costs in order to close the deal?" If you leave it like that, he'll probably say, "No. Why would I pay for closing costs?" But if you rephrase it like this, "Mr. Seller, would you pay for closing costs in order to close the deal? You're free to say no, of course but would you consider it?". If you add that subtle affirming language at the end, their perception is that you put them back into control. They are the boss and they get to make the decision whether you move forward or not. A subtle language, a persuasive tactic is to give them a quick out to get what you want. This works, and it's scientifically proven.
3 Persuasive Negotiating Tactics for Real Estate Investors
- Persuasive tactic number one is come up with your take price.
- Persuasive tactic number two is to meet the seller in person.
- Persuasive tactic number three is to subtly encourage the seller to think they are in control.