When thinking about the deals completed with good karma still intact, it seems like one thing is always a factor: mutual respect. Here are three tips for ensuring both sides are making nice, playing fair and still happy to work together in the future.

Whether you’re a rookie agent, a rising team leader or an established veteran broker, we can all benefit from sharpening our skills. Follow our “Back to Basics” series to learn fundamental strategies, tactics, philosophies and more from real estate pros across the industry.

I have had the good fortune to have completed a number of transactions in the past month. In this current market environment, no deal gets completed without its share of challenges.

As I examine the features that seem to be shared by those deals that end at the closing table with good karma still intact, there seems to be a commonality among — mutual respect.

As with most fundamentals in life, it’s not rocket science to develop a positive relationship.

In fact, probably  just three attributes will resolve in a deal where everyone walks away with a sense of positivity and accomplishment.

  1. Look both ways. If you speak only from your side of the negotiating table, you will only see half the story and perhaps respond with only half the understanding of the whole issue. Consider the other side’s needs, and see how you can arrive at a solution that will resolve some of their concerns as well as your own.
  2. Take a breath. Things can get emotional. It will serve you far better to take a break and take a breath as you steer through a rough patch during negotiations, rather than responding from an emotional place.
  3. Perspective. Buying or selling a house can become (very) stressful. Keep it in its proper place of value in your life. Things normally work out as they should, if you don’t fight the process.

These three elements have, underneath them, the intention of respect for the other party. When this is shared by the other side, nothing becomes an insurmountable issue. Beginning a negotiation (or relationship) with a mindset that values the presence of mutual respect sets a tone and expectation that can take you through anything.

A few years ago, I listed a waterfront, an ultra-high-end property.  The home was pre-war, and although it was fully renovated in the early 2000s, it was time for another update.

No one likes extra work, but the owners partnered well with me and agreed to edit furnishings (tackled on my end) and clean out closets (handled by them). We came to a list price that was aggressive but not (we thought), ignorant of the current market condition.

We had a regular stream of showings but no bid after six months. The owners did not blame me, blame the marketing or blame the brokerage.

Together, we reviewed what had been done to promote their property.  When I recommended a price reduction and the number that I would go to, the husband said, “That’s actually my bottom line, and there is no negotiating room in that number.”

I decided in this case, given the uniqueness of the property and house, that we would do better to speak to the market loudly through price, and recommended that we implement my recommendation. There was much discussion before arriving at this decision, as there had been during the initial list price discussion.

They were respectful and attentive to my thoughts based on the “in the weeds” of the market experience but also wanted to be sure that we looked at all options carefully. Pricing, and all other discussions, were laced with respect on both sides.

Within three weeks, a buyer came forth. The buyer had been in the market for waterfront for three years and had known of this property but felt it was priced too high to even consider, until the final price revision was put into place.

The buyer was planning a very large renovation and expansion. He didn’t try to negotiate the price down further when the building inspection revealed a number of replacements needed to mechanical systems and more. He knew it was all going to be changed, anyway. He was logical, practical and respectful to the process and to the sellers.

Getting through building inspections of older homes can be the most challenging part of the transaction process as buyers start seeing every inspection “find” as a possible renegotiation and price reduction point.  Reasonableness goes hand in hand with respect. And respect adds an ingredient to the real estate transaction process that is invaluable.

Robin Kencel is a licensed associate real estate broker at Compass in Greenwich, Connecticut. Connect with her on LinkedIn.

Show Comments Hide Comments


Sign up for Inman’s Morning Headlines
What you need to know to start your day with all the latest industry developments
By submitting your email address, you agree to receive marketing emails from Inman.
Thank you for subscribing to Morning Headlines.
Back to top
Only 3 days left to register for Inman Connect Las Vegas before prices go up! Don't miss the premier event for real estate pros.Register Now ×
Limited Time Offer: Get 1 year of Inman Select for $199SUBSCRIBE×
Log in
If you created your account with Google or Facebook
Don't have an account?
Forgot your password?
No Problem

Simply enter the email address you used to create your account and click "Reset Password". You will receive additional instructions via email.

Forgot your username? If so please contact customer support at (510) 658-9252

Password Reset Confirmation

Password Reset Instructions have been sent to

Subscribe to The Weekender
Get the week's leading headlines delivered straight to your inbox.
Top headlines from around the real estate industry. Breaking news as it happens.
15 stories covering tech, special reports, video and opinion.
Unique features from hacker profiles to portal watch and video interviews.
Unique features from hacker profiles to portal watch and video interviews.
It looks like you’re already a Select Member!
To subscribe to exclusive newsletters, visit your email preferences in the account settings.
Up-to-the-minute news and interviews in your inbox, ticket discounts for Inman events and more
1-Step CheckoutPay with a credit card
By continuing, you agree to Inman’s Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.

You will be charged . Your subscription will automatically renew for on . For more details on our payment terms and how to cancel, click here.

Interested in a group subscription?
Finish setting up your subscription