Selling your house yourself can be intimidating if you’re doing it the first time. Here’s how to deal with unpleasant negotiators.
Sometimes you encounter someone who is not going to be happy unless he maneuvers you into accepting less than your home is worth or doing things for his benefit that are unreasonable. Then what? Well, first let’s discuss the most common forms these nasty types take and then we’ll talk about what to do with them.
One frequent form the unpleasant negotiator takes is the person who tries to intimidate you and disparage your property. Red flags should go up if someone works hard at trying to get you on the defensive. I’m not talking about an occasional negative remark. What I’m talking about is a whole string of them and the attitude that goes with it. Even if it’s cloaked in the appearance of classic good manners and charm, you’re dealing with a rascal.
The second typical form an unpleasant negotiator takes is the “nibbler.” You think negotiations are over and that the two of you have come to a mutually acceptable agreement. Then at various points, as you progress toward completion of the sales process, the other person “nibbles.” They usually pretend they had no idea that the carpet needed to be stretched, the roof needed to be replaced, the crystal chandelier in the dining room did not convey, or fill-in-the-blank, and use that as an excuse to change things. This process can and does continue right up to the point of settlement or the point the deal falls apart, whichever comes first!
The Walk-Away Secret
Sometimes you get these two nasty types in one negotiator, but don’t despair. You can cope with them. The first thing you need to do is to stay in a calm, evaluating frame of mind. At each step along the way, ask yourself, “Is this reasonable? Am I willing to do this in order to make a sale?” Proceed as long as the answer is “yes.”
Be willing to walk away if the answer becomes “no.” I cannot overemphasize the power of “being willing to walk away” from negotiations. Don’t read that phrase too quickly. Be “willing to walk away.” It is one of the strongest negotiating tools on the planet. It’s simple. It does not require being nasty. However, what it does require is that you not consider your home sold (or bought, for that matter) until all negotiations are really over.
Think about it. You put yourself in a “losing posture” with a nasty negotiator the moment you emotionally consider your house sold. So long as you’re willing to walk away, you have a power that is as strong as the buyer’s wish to buy. If such a “deal” blows up, so be it. You weren’t going to get what you wanted from it anyway.
Now, a word about “nibbles.” There is a civilized way to cope with this. Don’t hop into doing it until you really feel it is a nibble or you become a nasty negotiator yourself. However, a nibble can be dealt with by inquiring blandly, “If I do that for you, will you do ‘fill-in-the-blank’ for me?” Your goal is to convey to the nibbler that each successful nibble will cost him something. Make it something significant relative to the nibble request.
If you don’t think fast on your feet, you can always say, “I’ll get back to you on that.” Don’t allow yourself to be rushed if you think best when you mull things over. Stay calm and thoughtful. No one can force you to make a sale or purchase that’s not in your best interest. Keep evaluating the situation, and stay open to the possibility that you may need to walk away until the sale is complete. That way you don’t force yourself to do what’s not in your best interest either. It’s not easy, but it’s very simple. Stay in control of yourself.