There are a million versions of how to negotiate, but coming from a dog-eat-dog market like L.A., I’m going to share what I found to be the best negotiation strategies as a real estate agent.

The first rule of thumb is to kill them with kindness.

So let’s say we’re talking about an overpriced property. It’s listed at $1 million, but it’s only worth $900,000.

I could call up the other agent and say, “You’re house is way over market price. It’s never going to happen. I’m just going to wait for a price reduction.”

But that’s just going to make that other agent think I’m a jerk and create an adversarial.

A much better route would be to call and say: “I see you’re on the market for a million. I get it. I imagine your seller wanted you to price it there. Here’s what I’m going to do: I’m going to give you an offer of $900,000, let’s just kick it backward and forward and keep the ball in the air to see if we can find a place in the middle where everyone agrees.”   

This accomplishes four things:

  1. It puts the power back in the other agent’s hands
  2. It shows respect
  3. It avoids being aggressive
  4. It opens the door for negotiations

I was never intimidated by negotiation gaps. I’d always attempt even the most outlandish negotiation. And I always did it with kindness — especially when delivering bad news.

I found that if I could extract goodwill, trust and an essence of camaraderie from my counterpart, I stand a way better chance of getting through than I do if I’m aggressive.

Peter Lorimer is the CEO of Beverly Hills, California-based PLG Estates.

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