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How to negotiate a home sale

Date posted:  2/10/16 07:15:00 AM Homeowners can improve their negotiation skills with a few tips.

It's never a bad idea for people to hone their negotiation skills, whether it be bargaining about a salary to discussing terms of a major purchase such as a car or a home.

Trulia, an online residential real estate site for homebuyers, renters and sellers, recommended those entering the housing market consider their options when negotiating and always look for a way to get what they need.

In most cases, when a seller puts his or her home on the market, there is a contrast between the listing price and what the market might offer.

"Pricing is not based on how much a seller needs to net," Brian Horan, a real estate broker from Los Angeles, told Trulia.

Trulia advised looking around the neighborhood or nearby cities offering similar prices and amenities. Both of those values should provide a solid blueprint for asking prices and market valuations.

It is also crucial for home sellers to pay close attention to their first offers. Chris Leavitt, a broker and contributor on "Million Dollar Listing: Miami," told Trulia the first offer is often the best offer homeowners will receive.

"Your best offers usually come at the beginning, so it would be a mistake to not listen to those offers, regardless of what they are," said Leavitt, who sold a condo in Miami Beach for a Florida record of $34 million.

Leavitt added home sellers should take lowball offers with a grain of salt, because in some cases, those low offers might actually be the correct market price. 

Many prospective buyers make a low offer to spark a negotiation, according to Investopedia. The source stated this is another reason why initial offers might be lower than what a seller is expecting.

Don't be friends in a negotiation
Jim Camp, president of the Jim Camp Group, told Bankrate some of the hardest negotiations sellers must go through are with their own real estate agents.

"As a seller, you're in a negotiation with your Realtor, whether you know it or not," Camp said. "And they can be the toughest party in the negotiation, actually."

Camp said some of the most difficult negotiation processes he sees on a regular basis involve business leaders trying to get professionals to represent their own interests. Camp, who coaches high-level executives in the art of negotiation, said dealing with a real estate agent isn't much different.

"He's not your friend," Camp said. "He's your agent. And you're in negotiation with your agent whether you like it or not."

Getting too friendly in a negotiation can severely impact a person's bottom line.

Don't become too passionate about a sale or negotiation
Whatever the negotiation, it is not a good idea to become overly passionate about a particular deal. Garratt Hasenstab, a broker with Verdigris Group, told Trulia that it is important to stay levelheaded.

"This is business, simple as that," he said. "There is no call for emotion. Rational thinking, business skill and negotiation skill are what it's all about."

Hasenstab said a seller's real estate agent should discover what the buyer's desired purchase price is because the more information a seller has about a buyer's fiscal standing, the better chance the seller has at bargaining.

Walk away from the deal
If there's not a deal to be made, sellers should not be afraid to reject the offer without a counter. Investopedia said some bold home sellers will reject offers without a counter and ask the buyer to resubmit a different offer.

This tactic suggests the seller knows exactly what he or she wants and what the property is worth. If a buyer resubmits, he or she will have to make a higher offer.