When it comes to selling a home, the sale price is often the deciding factor for both the buyer and seller. It is the crucial piece of the puzzle for a successful transaction. The ability to negotiate a price that is fair to both sides cannot be underestimated. Even though the price is of utmost importance, there is no need to let it scare you into thinking that you need an agent to negotiate for you. If you are committed to selling your home on your own, you will simply have to learn how to be a negotiator. Here are some rules to live by (or sell by) when negotiating a price for your home.
CREATE AN EMOTIONAL CONNECTION
As the homeowner, you have an intimate knowledge of the property you’re selling. You can use this to your advantage by talking up the home’s features, how much your family has enjoyed it, and what you will miss the most about the home. You are in charge of the information the buyer receives. You may want to disclose motives for selling the property if you have a reason that may advance your cause. Use discretion, of course, but if a potential homebuyer knows that you love the house but must move closer to family, for example, this creates an emotional connection that most buyers will understand and appreciate. Be careful that you don’t let emotional baggage or over-attachment to the home inflate your price. Do not let your emotions colour your judgement in negotiation of price.
FACE TO FACE NEGOTIATIONS
Meeting face to face in order to negotiate accomplishes several things. First, it helps create that emotional connection mentioned above. Second, it’s much easier to communicate face to face. Too often, words are misunderstood over the phone or in writing. That’s because it’s in our nature to not only listen to the words, but to watch for visible cues such as body language to determine someone’s intention. Face to face negotiations are especially advantageous to the seller because it reduces the chances that a buyer will be overly demanding if done in person.
GET IT IN WRITING
Always get offers in writing. Make no exceptions. This is usually not a problem for those buyers who are working with a buying agent; the agent will take care of completing professionally written offers. If you’re working with a buyer who has no agent, however, ask the buyer to present the offer in writing if he or she tries to make a verbal offer. A written offer is binding if you accept it, whereas you may not be able to prove a verbal offer.
GET A SOLID DEPOSIT
While there are no laws that govern the amount of deposit required for a property sale, it is in your best interest to get a solid deposit upfront. Deposits are usually 10 per cent of the purchase price payable at the time an offer is made. In order to be more flexible, you may also require part of the deposit at the time an offer is made with the remainder payable on a date specified in the contract. If you’re not working with an agent, the deposit will be made directly to you. You must place the deposit with your solicitor, legal representative or bank in a special account in your name and the name of the buyer.
IF ALL ELSE FAILS, HIRE A PROFESSIONAL
If you find that you’re not a strong negotiator or just don’t want to deal with negotiations and legal matters, hire a professional. Many agents are highly skilled in negotiations and may be able to get a higher price for your home than you could get on your own. Keep in mind that commissions put a substantial dent into your profits. Eliminating the agent by listing with For Sale For Lease puts more money in your hands at the end of the sale.