Even as so much changed in the last year, one thing stayed pretty consistent: high demand and low inventory in the residential real estate market. It’s great news for the sellers who are ready to list (though on the flip side, many sellers are simultaneously looking to buy), but it’s created a battle for buyers as prices soar amid record competition.
Buyer’s agents need to be at the top of their game to win for their clients. Now is the time to brush up on real estate negotiation tactics to ensure you can expertly make your buyers’ offers stand out. Improve your negotiation skills with these four tips.
1. Include an escalation clause
An escalation clause is an absolute necessity in this market, where more than a dozen buyers might be vying for the same property. If you’re not familiar with it, it’s a statement that tells the seller that your client is willing to raise their offer above the highest bidder by a specific amount. You can also add an upper limit in case the highest offer is well above what your buyers are willing to pay or can afford.
In a bidding war situation, which is common in a hot real estate market, an escalation clause will give your clients the best chance of winning. Here is an example of what to write:
[Name], referred to as The Buyer, offers to pay $[initial offer] for the property at [address]. Should the seller receive a bona fide offer exceeding $[initial offer], The Buyer will increase their offer by $[additional amount] above the highest bona fide offer, not to exceed $[upper limit offer].
2. Take a win-win approach
Although you may be inclined to take an aggressive, hardline approach to “go to battle” for your buyers, it’s in your best interest to maintain a win-win perspective instead. Be the real estate agent who other agents want to work with, not the nightmare agent everyone dreads.
When you focus on solutions and ask what the other party needs — such as seller terms, fast close, etc. — the deal will not only go more smoothly, but your positive attitude could actually be the deciding factor in the seller selecting your clients’ offer over another.
3. Be flexible
Similar to taking a win-win approach, flexibility is one of the real estate negotiation tactics that can prove to tip the scale in your clients’ favor.
Consider this: Most sellers will also become buyers if they aren’t already searching for a new home. As they juggle buying and selling simultaneously, less-flexible offers or buyers who are more aggressive about needing the property ASAP may be easily dismissed.
Find out what the sellers’ ideal timeline is and what other needs they have, and then talk to your client to see if they’d be willing to accommodate to help their offer stand out.
4. Make it a point to meet the sellers in person
With the current state of the pandemic in the US, people are increasingly comfortable meeting others face-to-face again. Encourage your buyers to join you at a meeting with the sellers and listing agent. Doing this provides an opportunity for your clients to create an emotional connection with the sellers and hopefully discover a few shared interests.
In a bidding war situation where the sellers are comparing offers based solely on price, yours will be the one that has an additional reason to stand out.
These aren’t the only real estate negotiation tactics to consider, of course. But keeping them top of mind in a hot real estate market will help differentiate you and your clients from the competition. Ensure you’re providing a good experience for the sellers — stay flexible, be solution-oriented, and meet their requests when possible — and take actions that will help elevate your buyers’ offer.