Every home buyer, seller and real estate agent should study “Tips and Traps When Negotiating Real Estate” by Robert Irwin to become aware of the tricks and tactics savvy realty negotiators might use against you. This is, by far, the best real estate negotiation handbook I have ever read. The publisher should charge 100 times the absurd low price.

Irwin, the prolific author of at least 30 excellent real estate books, has written his best book, by far. This book cannot be recommended too highly to beginner and experienced realty buyers, sellers and especially real estate sales agents. It explains virtually every probable negotiation situation involving real property.

Purchase Bob Bruss reports online.

The book begins slowly with the negotiation fundamentals and gradually builds. It gets better and better. Emphasis is placed on the importance of time invested in the negotiation: “The more time invested in a deal, the more each party has to lose if it doesn’t go through,” Irwin advises.

“Don’t get personal” is the author’s advice when it comes to negotiating face-to-face with the other party or through a real estate agent. Incidentally, Irwin prefers direct negotiations, although he suggests letting real estate agents first attempt negotiating on behalf of their buyer or seller clients.

The book has so many superb chapters it is difficult to select the best one. But the “Leverage the Inspection Report” chapter highlights how home buyers often use professional inspection reports to reopen negotiations with sellers to get them to contribute to necessary repair costs. Irwin explains the importance of including a professional inspection report contingency clause in the purchase offer just in case the house turns out to be full of significant undisclosed defects.

Even when a savvy home seller has already obtained a professional inspection report (as sellers should), the author recommends home buyers read that report but still pay the approximate $350 to hire their own professional inspector to double-check.

Negotiation strategy plays a big role in this profitable-reading book. To illustrate, Irwin suggests, “Remember, if you begin by trying to negotiate an impossible issue, you are doomed to failure. Instead, work on those issues that you can resolve.” He emphasizes the importance of getting the other party to actively negotiate, preferably face-to-face.

Irwin is obviously an “old pro” real estate negotiator. I would hate to negotiate against him because he knows all the tricks, which he explains in this great book that is easy to read and understand. Nothing in the book is boring. Throughout the book are the highlighted “tips and traps” for which this book series is famous.

Chapter topics include: “Negotiating a Successful Deal”; “Play the Players”; “Learn to Act”; “Walk Away a Winner”; “How to Win a Bidding War”; “Negotiate the Commission”; “Negotiating the Sales Agreement”; “Offer and Counteroffer”; “How to Negotiate with a Lender”; “Negotiating Without an Agent”; “Negotiating with a Builder”; “Prevail in an Appraisal Argument”; “Win the Battle at Closing”; and “Negotiating Your Way Out of Foreclosure.”

Having been a long-time student of real estate negotiation, I must compliment Irwin on his superb book, which succinctly explains the key negotiation strategies. Book reviewers are supposed to find faults with books, but this one has no serious faults. On my scale of one to 10, this superb book rates an off-the-chart 12.

“Tips and Traps When Negotiating Real Estate, Second Edition,” by Robert Irwin (McGraw-Hill, New York), 2006, $16.95, 295 pages; available in stock or by special order at local bookstores, public libraries, and www.amazon.com.

(For more information on Bob Bruss publications, visit his
Real Estate Center


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