We all know the first rule of real estate is location, location, location. But we many times lose a sight that first rule of negotiations is ask, ask, ask. Guess what, sureway to lose negotiations is to not ask questions!
The story plot
Let me give you an example. Last week, a realtor calls me about the property I have listed and tells me his buyer is very interested, they will be submitting an offer shortly. “Great”, I think. Hours come and go, evening comes and goes, no offer. Mind you, we got another offer that day as well so it wasn’t all lost, but it sure would have been nice knowing if they are still in before final decision is made.
The next AM, a feedback response comes in my mailbox. I can feel it – oh, I’m so ready for this. “Buyer loved the house, shower head too low”.
I’m starring at this email in total disbelief, and the only thing flashing in my head is: you’re telling me, you’re going to walk away from a $6000 commission because the shower head is too low?
To be honest, if I was this agent, and that was a true reason for buyer to walk away, I would be too embarrassed to admit that. So, it seems to me there is one of the two possible things happening here, either the buyer was not open with the agent about the real reason they are backing out, or the agent “has some room for improvement” in his negotiation skills.
Shower head too low?! If the construction allows for a higher placement of shower head, you are only a question away from getting this deal done. Maybe the seller would be open to compensate with seller contribution at closing so the buyer can have work done after the purchase was complete. Maybe the seller would be happy to have a plumber over and a tile guy and get it done in 1-2 days and we go to closing. Heck, I know I would be willing to tear down the whole wall if necessary, move up the plumbing a notch and retile. Yes, I would do that to close the deal if I got the full price offer – which we almost always do, so why wouldn’t I?
But let me let you in on a little secret: you can buy a shower head on internet for 25 bucks that has adjustable arm.
Guess what? I can’t think of a seller who would not be willing to invest 25 bucks to close that deal. But it will NEVER happen if the selling agent does not ask!
You already have a NO
If you ask there is a 50/50 chance of YES, but if you do not ask it is 100% NO, and yes, that qualifies as sureway to lose negotiations. Don’t be afraid to ask no matter how ridiculous you think the request may be. You’d be surprised what sellers would be willing to do, especially if the seller is an investor. The only thing more ridiculous would be the person missing out on $6000 commission for not asking one simple question: “My buyer is willing to make an offer, but this is a deal breaker for him, would the seller be willing to __________”? It does not get much simpler than that.
What would you have done if you were the selling agent on this?