How to Turn Concessions Into Painkillers

From time to time you’ll be involved in a negotiation with a buyer who wants your seller to cover an unanticipated cost. This might be a specific repair, a home warranty, or some other concession. If your seller already feels like they’re taking a beating on their listing price, these little concessions can be the straw that breaks their back. Often an “almost done” deal can quickly turn into a stalemate between entrenched seller and nickel-and-diming buyer.

One strategy that may make these concessions palatable to your seller (assuming you feel they are reasonable requests) is to remind your seller of the reasons they’re motivated to sell in the first place. If they’re carrying two mortgages, need to get relocated before school starts, or has recently taken a new job at the other end of a three hour drive, now is the time to remind them why they want to sell their home.

1. Be empathetic. Acknowledge that their reaction to the concession is valid, and offer your sympathy.

2. Don’t bad-mouth the buyer. Even if you think it’s a raw deal, speaking ill of the buyer might be the little extra comment that convinces your seller not to budge.

3. Remind them of their pain. ”Judy, I know you’re anxious about being settled before school starts, and you had anticipated being in your new home by now. It’s up to you whether not making this concession is worth delaying a clean start to the year.” Or, if math works on your side: “Tom, while I recognize it’s irritating to be expected to replace the stove, you might consider the cost of carrying the house an additional month or more if the buyer is unwilling to let this concession go.”

People lose perspective during transactions. A professional coolly reminds them of their “big picture” goals and helps guide them back on the path.

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