Your real estate poker face

Future-Proof: Navigate Threats, Seize Opportunities at ICNY 2018 | Jan 22-26 at the Marriott Marquis, Times Square, New York

A prospective home buyer recently stopped by a Sunday open house to take a second look at a listing that caught his fancy. His real estate agent had advised him to keep a poker face as he walked through the house, and to ask no questions of the listing agent. Otherwise, he might tip her off that he was interested. This is a popular negotiation strategy: Don't show the other party that you might be interested in striking a deal. The presumed consequence if you do show enthusiasm is that the other party (the seller in this example) will gain an advantage over you. There is usually something that backfires. Many home sellers have strong emotional attachments to their homes. With these sellers, the sale price is important, but it's not all that matters. For example, a couple with two small children had been looking for a new home in Oakland, Calif., for months. They fell in love with an exceptional property and decided they wanted to buy it. They were the first buyers to make an offer, but...