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Main Content

9 Essential Negotiation Skills
Every Real Estate Agent Needs

Real estate negotiation skills are necessary for successful interactions with other real estate agents, homeowners, and buyers. Deals don’t just happen, skills are needed because every negotiation is going to be different. 

As a real estate agent, your clients are depending on you to negotiate the best deal possible on their behalf. Get ready to add these nine powerful negotiation skills to your bag of sales tricks.

Why real estate agents need to master the art of negotiation.

First, part of your job is to help your clients understand what’s best for them. Working with clients is an art form. Every client is different, and you need to help them understand what is best for them from the moment they become your client. This will help make sure your clients have confidence in your ability to get them what they need. And you CAN get them what they need with the right skills in your pocket.

Second, having strong negotiation skills will help you maximize the value of your deals. Make sure you know all the numbers before negotiating. When you understand where there’s wiggle room and what the non-negotiables are, you’ll be able to bring the most to the table for your clients.

Now let’s get specific and talk about the nine top real estate negotiation skills that work.

Nine real estate negotiation skills that WORK.

The WOW moment.

Is your buyer not-so-thrilled with the options inside their budget? Time to give them a WOW moment.

After showing the buyer everything within their budget, if they’re still underwhelmed, try this: Ask the buyer if they are interested in seeing a place that is way over their budget, just for fun. Explain that you know it’s over their budget, so it’ll be a no-pressure showing. Then show them a knock-your-socks-off listing.

Of course, that listing is out of reach for them, but it creates a real contrast from what they’ve seen in their budget. They feel disappointed that they can’t have more of the WOW … which sets them up to get really excited when you show them something similar to the WOW that is just a little over their budget.

As their agent, you know that sometimes going over budget is necessary. Explain the quality, the value, and the reason why going over their budget just a little might make sense for them. 

Use market data to make your case.

Rely on market data to set the right price. Never rely on your feelings or emotions (or those of your client) to set the price. Don’t set the price too high or too low just because you want the best chance at getting something sold.

Use as much math and data as you can to set the price. This is even more important if you are dealing with something that has been on the market a long time with no offers. Data doesn’t lie, so use that when you’re talking with buyers and sellers to take the emotion out of the conversation for them, too.

Know how to sweeten the deal.

Always be looking for ways to add value. Be aware of what might cause the buyer to make the deal. For instance, ask the seller if they would consider including furniture with the sale. Look into flexible move-in and move-out dates. Sometimes just one small thing can make a major difference.

Include an escalation clause.

An escalation clause can make an offer more attractive. It provides a safety net for buyers. They can lock in their top price while still leaving room to be competitive should another buyer overbid them.

This gives you the ability to negotiate on their behalf without having to go back and forth during a bidding war, which can be stressful for the client.

Make them think it was their idea.

Buying or selling a home is a big deal to your clients. Remember to reassure and compliment them, tell them how smart they are, and remind them they don’t have to do anything they are uncomfortable with. Reminding them that nobody can force them to spend their money makes them feel as if it is their idea to go ahead with the offer.

Employ the good news sandwich.

There’s no such thing as a perfect real estate transaction. There will come a point in virtually every deal where you’ll have to be the bearer of bad news, and it’s not fun. You can, however, cushion the blow by using the good news sandwich strategy.

The good news sandwich strategy is where you deliver the bad news in between two pieces of good news. This can be positioned in such a way that frames the bad news as a positive that will benefit the client. 

Turn negatives into positives.

Another way to pre-frame negatives for your clients is to turn them into positives. For example, if you need to tell a client that their asking price should be lower, explain to them that by lowering the asking price, they will get more people who are interested in looking at their place and possibly end up with more than the original asking price.

When you can find ways to uncover the hidden benefits of things your clients think are negatives, you’ll be helping them keep an open mind to look for solutions beneath the surface.

Speak on the phone or in-person.

Don’t just rely on emails and text messages to stay connected. Stay connected with your clients on the phone or in person. Clients will hear the positivity in your voice, and this will build their confidence in you. Personal communication is a good thing.

Push, pull, persist.

You can find ways to push clients off the fence by using urgency and incentives. Just remember, the push won’t work on everybody.

If the push doesn’t work, try pulling. Try removing listings off their plate by using a little reverse psychology, telling them that maybe the home just isn’t for them and other houses. This can make them realize why they liked the listing and help them justify in their minds why they deserve it, and they usually make the offer. 

If other offers are being made, you can also try pulling by telling them they may lose their chance of getting their perfect house by hesitating. Encourage them to “move on” and look elsewhere. This will usually motivate them to make an offer as well.

Sometimes you will get people who don’t even know what they are waiting on. Be persistent with this type of client by following up with them every week—every day even—reminding them that buying now is better than buying anytime in the future because we can’t predict the future. 

Negotiating can be tricky, but there are so many skills you can learn. Becoming skilled in negotiating is necessary to becoming a successful real estate agent. To learn more about negotiating and becoming successful in real estate, check out our online course, Sell It Like Serhant.

More from Sell It Like Serhant

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Additional content

Author

  • Ryan Serhant is one of the most successful and well-known real estate brokers in the world. After a decade leading one of New York City’s top-ranked real estate teams, he founded SERHANT., the first brokerage designed for the marketplace of tomorrow.