Having a serious conversation with another human being is not necessarily easy, especially if you don’t already know the other person. This can be especially difficult if you’re used to working alone in a closed environment like an office or factory. And the ultimate difficulty comes when you’re not confident about your side of the conversation.
Which leads me to the question at hand: how do you speak with a seller when you’re trying to buy their house?
What’s the “pitch”?, I’ve been asked.
Let me start out by assuring you that you’re not trying to create a sales pitch, at all. In fact, this isn’t about selling anything – it’s really about creating a relationship. It’s about listening. It’s important that you talk honestly with the seller, not about yourself, but about them.
People buy from people they like. People sell to people they like.
Following are some negotiation key points:
1. Speak with the owner. The first thing you want to establish is that the person you are speaking with is the person selling the property. It’s important to be communicating with the ultimate decider. You don’t want to work your way to an agreement with the person who met you at the house only to find out that someone else is actually on the deed (the real seller) and doesn’t agree with the terms that have been created.
2. Find out why the home is being sold. Selling a home is never about the house, it’s about the situation the seller is in. There are as many reasons to sell as there are sellers – downsizing, job loss, transfer, illness, divorce, etc. The house is the result of the situation, not the cause.
3. Create a solution. You won’t be their only solution, of course, but you do offer one. Once you have a relationship established, you talk numbers. What they want/need; what it is actually worth after repairs vs. what they think it will be worth; what repairs will cost.
4. Make the offer. What you can offer and why comes last.
And what you plan to do with the property after you purchase it is totally irrelevant to the seller – they just want to get their property sold – so don’t start explaining why you’re buying it. By the time you show up for your appointment, they should know you’re not going to live in the property and that you intend to make your own profit, but they’re not generally interested in our lives. Your focus needs to be on the seller, on their needs and their situation, so relax and plan to listen – a lot.
The negotiation is not a game. It is not a trick. You’re not trying to “win” anything. You’re helping sellers. You’re having a conversation. Think about how you would want to be approached if you were selling.
And always remember, you’re dealing with a person, not a property.
What have you found helpful when negotiating with a seller?