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Don't Be Scared: Tips on How to Manage Stress Throughout the Home Buying Negotiation Process

Posted by on June 4, 2018

If you react negatively to rigidity, inflexibility and statements like “take it or leave it,” you’re not alone. Unless you’re in the military, or part of some similar hierarchical structure, in order to get what you want, you must learn how to negotiate.

Negotiation happens to be one of the most nuanced art forms out there, one that is often minimized or overlooked completely when it comes to training real estate professionals. Being able to effectively balance the differing personalities, the numbers, the push-pull of it all, is what separates a successful agent from the rest of the pack. After all, their careers depend on their ability to secure deals.

Real Estate Negotiating Process

Critical Moments

Some of the most critical moments in a negotiator’s journey involve submitting an offer based off the asking price and awaiting a counter offer for a house. In this case, patience is most definitely a virtue.

And when patience is viewed as a skill rather than a character trait, it can be improved and sharpened like other negotiation skills.

Emotional Stress

The urge to exit quickly and give in to anxiety is counterproductive and oftentimes, those who visibly express their emotional stress are more likely to be taken advantage during a negotiation. Many first-time buyers can experience emotional stress because of the multiple contingencies.

Keys to Success


1. Evaluate sources of power and barriers to agreement

It's a good idea to avoid making any solid commitments unless you are positive that you have the clear authority to do so. The sooner you identify the main sources of power and potential setbacks, the better.

2. Identify shared and opposed interests

It’s best to focus on interests, not positions when compromising. Find out what the other side wants and use it to your advantage.

3. Research market data

Much of the fear associated with negotiating can be alleviated with a little market data research. Be sure to run the numbers, check public records and find out as much as you can about the previous owner of the property.

Establish Standards

1. Ask for what you want

Ask any experienced real estate agent and they’ll tell you that one of the most important aspects of the home buying negotiation process is walking into the room fully prepared to ask for what you want.

 2. Set a collaborative tone

Setting a cooperative tone allows you to define a clear mid-point and make what could potentially be an uncomfortable conversation a lot more pleasant.

 3. Create an agenda

In every aspect of negotiations, effectively prioritizing and understanding the needs and the agenda of the other party is key.

Ask Questions

1. Probe for information

By asking open-ended questions, you are essentially setting the stage for your offer. The more information you can extract, the more equipped you are to properly prepare yourself for any impending conflict resolution.

 2. Signal your attentiveness

Effective agents are typically more attentive to the client’s needs and therefore, are more likely to come up with solutions that meet the needs of both parties.

 3. Follow up

Following up allows you to make sure everyone involved is still on the same page and that the deal or contract that you thought you had agreed upon is actually the purchase price agreed upon. Following up minimizes the potential for any small mistakes that may have otherwise fallen through the cracks. Be sure to follow up on any remaining closing costs as well.


1. Don’t take anything personally

It can be easy to let your emotions get the best of you during a negotiation, especially if it's something that hits close to home. But, try to remain as objective as possible as getting too emotionally invested may hurt your productivity.

2. Learn what to expect

In order to set yourself up for success, you need to find out who the decision-maker is, as well as what the other party's needs, values, and fears are. Also keep closing costs in consideration.

3. Focus on what is pressuring the seller

Attempt to identify the seller’s specific pressure points as part of your preparation for negotiation.

Be Willing to Walk Away

1. Don’t rush

Negotiations are time-consuming procedures, so be sure to take the time to establish a real connection with the other party if you want everything to run smoothly.

2. Establish alternatives

Review all of the data you’ve compiled so far and work with management to evaluate your current status and your alternatives.

3. Leverage reputation

Cultivate a positive collaborative reputation and let that guide your opponent's negotiation strategies. This is espically helpful if the seller has multiple offers to consider from potential buyers.

Utilize Your Real Estate Agent

Find an Empathetic Real Estate Agent Who is:

  • Knowledgeable and competent of the stresses associated with real estate negotiations from both the buyer and seller side.
  • Can expect the unexpected and handle the outcome professionally
  • Knows when to panic and when not to panic

Take away for the first-time home buyer

Negotiating for a home is particularly important since homes tend to be the largest asset most people own. When it comes to the home buying negotiation process, pushy sales tactics and one-size-fits-all solutions don’t work. That’s why administering the help of a cool-headed real estate agent who knows how to negotiate and has a solid track record for success can be the deciding factor in a bid for your dream home.