4 real estate tips for negotiating with international clients

Don't lose a sale to culture shock

Negotiation practices vary dramatically across the world. If you are negotiating a deal with clients who were born outside the U.S., here are some basic tips that can help you close the deal.

I recently was at a neighborhood get-together where our hosts were from New Zealand and the other guests were from Australia and England. The discussion turned to real estate and what had happened when they purchased their homes. It was fascinating to hear how they approached the negotiation process and how it differs from what we expect here in the U.S.

1. Know the value of what is being offered
One of my neighbors was negotiating for a home that had a high-end custom pool table. The American owners wanted $7,000 to leave it with the house — a very good deal, especially in light of what they paid for it. What they didn’t realize was that our new neighbor had left their pool table in their previous home. The reason was that they discovered that they could purchase a new pool table for the cost of shipping their old one.

The negotiation: The sellers started at $7,000 and when the buyer said "No," they reduced the price to $6,000. The buyers continued to say "No," as the price dropped from $6,000, to $5,000, to $4,000, to $3,000, to $2,000, and to $1,000. The sellers finally relented and the buyers picked up the pool table at no cost. It was cheaper for the sellers to leave the table than it was for them to move it.