Negotiations are part of every real estate transaction—and the best negotiators get the best deals.

So, what are negotiations all about? Resistance. You want the seller to think that they’ve won.

Why? When sellers have no reservations about how their negotiations went because they fought a long, hard battle and won, they generally do everything they can to ensure the transaction finalizes.

Without resistance, when you concede to an asking price just because it fell within your predetermined top bid, your seller may think they could’ve got more. As that feeling sits with them, they may look for ways to back out of the deal.

Ready to learn how to become a master negotiator? Keep reading for 7 strategies you should use when negotiating real estate so you can get—and secure—the best deal possible.

Strategy #1: Know Your Maximum Bid Before Starting a Negotiation

Never give an offer before deciding on a maximum price for the house you’re about to negotiate on—stick to that number and don’t even think about bidding above it.

Knowing your cap without going over increases your negotiating confidence. Without setting a limit, you risk bidding higher and excuse yourself for it with reasons like:

  • It’ll only be a few thousand dollars more…
  • It’s still within my preapproval from the bank!
  • I’ll cut more expenses to be able to afford it

These thoughts can quickly turn your confidence into desperation—and desperation is never on the winning end of negotiations. Acknowledging and accepting your financial capabilities ahead of negotiations allows you to know when to concede to an offer or when to walk away. And that’s OK! There are always other houses.

Strategy #2: Offer Below The Seller’s Lowest Acceptable Price

Always start your offers with something your seller can counter. This allows the seller to feel satisfied with the negotiation process.

Starting with a lower bid allows the seller to counter your offer—this gets the negotiation ball rolling. As you and the seller engage in some competitive back and forth bidding, you’re encouraging the seller to feel like they’re fighting hard. This makes them feel more accomplished when settling on a price. Without this banter, the seller may start to second guess themselves with thoughts like:

  • Did I fight hard enough?
  • Did I concede too quickly?
  • Why did I accept the first offer?
  • Maybe I should’ve had a higher asking price…
  • @&$%#@, could I really have gotten more??!

Your role is to make the seller feel like they fought for and won an acceptable dollar for their home. Start low, give, and take—it’s a win-win. You end up paying at or below your cap, and the seller feels confident in how they handled the negotiation.

Strategy #3: What Else, Besides Money, Are the Seller’s Motivations?

Is there anything besides a higher offer that could make your lower offer more attractive? Here’s where you try to pull out the seller’s worries and motivations and then use them in your negotiations. This is an easy way to make a lower offer look more attractive.

You’ll likely find one of three motivators outside of money:

  • Flexibility
  • Speed
  • Assurance
Motivation #1: Flexibility

Some sellers worry about flexibility. Maybe the dream home they found isn’t available immediately, and they must extend the possession date. If you can wait on moving in, this can significantly work in your favor.

Motivation #2: Speed

Some sellers are in a rush to sell for many reasons:

  • Going through a divorce
  • Moving across the country
  • Financial debt or bankruptcy

Whatever their reason, they want to sell fast. Ensure a fast sale, and the seller will likely settle quickly on a lower offer.

Motivation #3: Assurance

If your seller had prior deals fall through, they might hesitate about your ability to complete the sale.

Reassure and remove all doubt from your seller’s mind and prove that your offer is solid by:

  • Fast-tracking the settlement
  • Forgoing any contingency clauses
  • Giving a higher deposit

Strategy #4: If You’re Able to, Offer Cash

What better way to offer speed and assurance than offering a cash deal? Money talks—and in this instance, cash speaks volumes about your intent and ability to close the deal fast. Plus, a seller will often choose a cash offer even when it’s lower because the deal can’t fall through for financing reasons.

Strategy #5: Allow the Seller to Feel Like They Have Control

Don’t make the seller feel like they’re backed into a corner—your negotiations may end abruptly. Instead, maintain your sense of calm and cool rather than posturing up or using aggressive language.

Encourage your seller to participate in negotiation by including their views and feelings in your dialogue. For example:

“I know this might not be ideal for you, but I’d like to run something by you and get your thoughts.”

Another great phrase to get someone to agree to a request is “but you’re free to.” For example:

“I’d love to introduce a way forward, but you’re free to reject it if you approve.”

These simple phrases make sellers feel like their views are part of the process and that they remain in control.

Strategy #6: Make the Seller Think You Have Other Options

Remember me saying desperation always loses negotiations? Position yourself as wanting to work out a deal, but if an agreement isn’t possible, you’ll easily move on to your next opportunity.

Implying without coming out and saying you have other options can be tricky, but it’s necessary to learn. So here are some ways to lead the conversation:

“I’ve been through many properties in your area, but yours stands out. I’d love it if we could work out a deal.”

Or, “My partner is leaning toward a similar property in the area because it costs $40,000 less, but I just love what you did with your home. Unfortunately, I can’t offer what you’re asking, but I’d love to work out an offer before heading back to the other seller.”

Strategy #7: Flattery Gets You Everywhere

There’s a marketing term called KLT, which means (know like trust). While you’re getting to know the seller, they are also getting to know you. The more they feel they know you, the more they’ll like and trust you. From there, build that trust with some strategic flattery.

Find some things about the house or property you’re about to bid on and compliment the owner. Choose something the seller would’ve had a hand in, like the interior decorating or landscaping design. Here are some examples:

“I love the color scheme and decor of these rooms, did you hire a professional or was this all you?”

Or, “Your yard is so well kept. I love your flower beds and the fact that you have beautiful annuals mixed in with your perennials. Nice touch!”

Tired of Long Negotiations Only to End Up Without the Deal?

Losing a real estate deal over poor negotiation skills is all too common. Unfortunately, without the help of a trusted realtor, many dream houses wind up falling through the cracks because of lost deals.

If you’re looking to buy a home in Toronto or GTA, but aren’t confident in negotiating, Joel Cooper can help. Joel has been securing deals for his clients for over 14 years. His client-centered approach, total transparency, and open communication give him the unmatched negotiating skills necessary to get you the best deal possible.

Get in touch today to get started.

Hi, I’m Joel, a real estate professional based in Toronto.

My approach is simple—I put you first. I believe in open communication, total transparency, and meaningful results. I’ll guide you through the real estate process, market values, and always keep the focus on you—and your needs.