12 Awesome Real Estate Negotiation Tips for Home Buyers

Negotiation can turn a bad deal into a good deal, turn an undesirable house into the perfect new home, and save you plenty of money. The final agreement between buyer and seller is key, providing a counterbalance to judge the entire value of your new home. Your buying agent will be skilled in negotiation, but there are some important things that you, as a buyer, can do on your own to make sure you get the best deal. Here are 12 tips:

1. Do your research
Research is 90% of the negotiation process. Before you begin communicating with any agents or sellers, you should gather information on your own. Knowledge is power, and the more you can learn about the local pricing information and value of features (such as fireplace, views, utilities, location) the more leverage you will have during negotiation. Before you step out the door, buckle down and take some notes. You never know what information will come in handy during negotiation.

2. Set your boundaries in advance
Sit down alone, without an agent, and run through your personal finances to determine your “absolute” spending limit. Check and double check your calculations, and have confidence in your boundaries. Your spending limit must be based on your finances, not the negotiation process. Once you have a clear figure in mind, set it as your firm limit, and don’t budge.

3. Declare your comfortable spending limit
Once you have your absolute limit, take off about 5-10% and call this your “comfortable” spending limit. This is the limit you should communicate to your agent so they can help you negotiate. Your agent is your friend, and they are motivated to get you the best deal, but they are also business people. Their main goal is to make a sale, and sometimes an agent has more incentive to sell quickly rather than hold out for the best price. Only let them know your comfortable limit, adding that you might be willing to spend more for an exceptional home at an unbeatable deal.

4. Get pre-approved
Before you begin your search, get pre-approved for a home loan. If you’re “ready to buy” you can get the attention of sellers itching to sell quickly. You’ll move up on their priority list and this could help you gain leverage when negotiations begin. You’ll come off as a no-nonsense buyer who’s ready for action-if the deal is good enough.

5. Don’t be emotional
When looking at a new house, or talking with an agent, try not to appear overly emotional. Showing emotions can send subtle (or not so subtle) signals that you wouldn’t necessarily want to convey. If you’re seeing a new home and you’re excited because it’s just what you’re looking for, appear “interested” rather than excited. Excitement, or any display of a lack of calm rationality, can be a sign that your spending limit might be as flexible as your feelings. Along the same lines, if you’re unimpressed with a home, try to avoid criticizing it. Appearing too negative will send the message that you could be a pain to work with, or it could offend the seller.

6. Ask questions about every house you visit
So you’ve found a house that you’re interested in and you need to ask more questions, but you want to avoid coming off as “too” interested. How do you get the information you need while remaining aloof? The best way to not be obvious about your enthusiasm is to make sure you ask the same important questions at each house you visit. Make sure you come off as an inquisitive, diligent, and methodical buyer every time you view a house. When you find a house that excites you, you can gather all the information you need without tipping off the seller.

7. Learn about the seller
The more information you have, the more power you have in negotiations. If you can learn specifics about the seller, you can gain insight into their needs and potentially gain precious leverage. Why are they selling? Are they desperate to sell fast, because their life has taken an unexpected turn? Are they in a good position to wait patiently for the best deal? What kind of a deal are they looking for, and how can you give them what they need while still getting what you need? The more you understand about their circumstances, the more you’ll be able to spot where your expectations overlap with theirs. The best deals are found within the center of the Venn diagram.

8. Don’t rush
Many people fear that the house they want will get sold to another buyer before they have a chance to negotiate, so they feel that it’s best to make an offer early. Many real estate experts agree that this worry is often unfounded. If you’re interested in a house, the seller will know, and even if they have other offers, they will still have incentive to give each potential buyer proper consideration. Waiting to make an offer will always make the offer more valuable. Always wait a few days before making your initial offer. When you finally come around with your offer, the buyer will be relieved, and you’ll find yourself in a stronger position.

9. Have a strong initial offer
Many people underestimate the importance of an initial offer. Even though the final price will be determined through negotiation, the initial offer plays a huge role in informing the price. A good rule of thumb is to offer 20-30% lower than your comfortable spending limit. Keep in mind that if your offer is too low it can offend the seller, and if your offer is too high it will end up dramatically increasing the final price. When you make a low initial offer, always give the seller a good reason, such as the local market, your budget, or other factors in the home’s value. This will show that you’re basing your offer upon logic, and you’re inviting further conversation.

10. Be reluctant to increase your offer
Make sure the agent “convinces” you to increase your offer. Always be reluctant to increase, and only agree when a strong argument has been made. It never hurts to wait. Avoid accepting offers to meet halfway. The final sale price isn’t decided by the splitting your offer with the seller’s asking price. Both offers should be treated as stepping-stones on your path to the final sale price. Make sure to crawl your offer up slowly and carefully.

11. Keep a bargaining chip
You’ll be negotiating more than just a sale price. The terms of the agreement will determine things like move-in date, closing costs, inspections, included furniture and features, as well as other incentives. Early on in the negotiation, hold on to one aspect of the agreement that you don’t necessarily need. Don’t let on that the issue isn’t important to you, but hold onto it as if it’s necessary. Near the end of the negotiation, you can concede on the issue as a final bargaining chip. This will help give you one final push toward closing the deal.

12. Be confident, positive, and respectful
Start off your search by reminding yourself that you’re on the path to your perfect home. Have confidence in yourself and your ability to work within any situation, stay positive, and get what you need, no matter what unforeseen challenges come your way. Remembering that you’re dealing with people, with families, and you’re all about to make one of the most important decisions of your lives. A “good deal” isn’t good unless everybody gets what they need. You’re not just searching for a new home; you’re searching for the perfect circumstance, the perfect deal. At the end of your path lies your new life. You’ll help plenty of people along the way, and many people will help you. Make the best of your situation, and enjoy your new home!

Xmas Present Ideas For 2010

Unless you have been living under a rock, you have noticed that Christmas is fast approaching. The signs are everywhere from the lights, the sounds, and to the shopping. This last part can be very stressful to many who often put off shopping and end up having to fight traffic, long lines and more adding even more stress. We suggest another alternative which is to not put off the shopping and buy today. We also suggest you use the advice of others who have already sorted through the good and bad gifts so you can piggyback off of their hard work and still reap the rewards. The result is a much easier shopping experience where you start out with already great suggestions.

The first gift we recommend is the Loopz™ Game. This hot toy will be a hit with boys and girls as they try to master the movements that were just completed by the lights and movement. Kids will love this competitive game that is fun for boys and girls.

Another good present is the Magna-Tiles Translucent Colors 100 Pieces. This one was a popular gift last year and is sure to be a winner again this holiday season. This one allows kids to tap into their creativity where they can build some elaborate structures with its different colored pieces.

A solid gift idea for the little ones is the Radio Flyer Ultimate Comfort Wagon. Parents should wax nostalgic over this one as odds are pretty good they may have had one of their very own when they were growing up too. The newer versions are safer for kids but still offer the same great fun.

A great gift for girls is the Squinkies® Cupcake Surprise Bake Shop. This one is an adorable gift idea that many girls will love to play with. You can bet this one will be a welcome addition to their room and something they will brag about to the friends.

Finally, the Flip® UltraHD Camcorder 120 Minutes version is a great handheld gadget. This one is perfect for all kinds of uses and was a best seller last year and is selling well again this year.

The Do’s and Don’Ts of Giving a Presentation

First of all, I understand that the title to this article is not new because many authors have previously expressed their view on this topic. What makes this article original is that what I am sharing below is based on my own experience as a trainer for more than 10 years. In compiling the Do’s and Don’ts lists below, I would also like to acknowledge all my mentors for their generous sharing of experience and techniques used in their own training.

Here is my Do’s list:

  • Find out whether the training is conducted in my own room or other people’s room. If it is in other people’s room, I will find out from the event organiser whether there are any specific requirements for the participants. I do not assume that my rules are their rules.
  • Prepare my template by listing down the title to the presentation; a few enrolling questions to engage the participants at the very beginning; my personal story and the answer to the question “why am I qualified to give the presentation”. Finally, I will also prepare a list of benefits my participants will receive out of the presentation based on the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (“MBTI”) Model and/or the Extended DISC Model.
  • Prepare my script and rehearse as many times as possible before the actual presentation. This is to ensure that the presentation flow would be smooth.
  • Prepare the timetable and decide what kinds of group activities would be used in the presentation.
  • Remind myself through visualisation technique that I will use empowering and positive language in my training at all times.
  • Decide the marketing plan and opportunities for the participants who might be interested in my other programmes. I understand that many authors do not include this in their do’s lists. I guess this is because they believe that they are only speakers and not information business entrepreneurs. According to my mentor, a speaker only speaks. An information business entrepreneur makes information sharing a business.
  • Always acknowledge my participants for their participation and sharing. If applicable, I will also acknowledge the event organiser for its effort to organise the event and put my participants and me together.
  • Make sure there are regular opportunities for the participants to do their review and revision in order to reinforce what they have learnt.
  • Prepare a speech for delivering at the end of the training session as a proper closure.

Here is my Don’ts list:

  • Do not use PowerPoint unless I am showing pictures and diagrams which require a certain degree of accuracy. Use flip charts as my main teaching tool instead.
  • Do not conduct the training as a monologue. Instead, always look for opportunities to engage my participants by asking them questions.
  • Do not show off. The training is not a forum to show how much I know on the topic I am teaching. It is my participants’ show and I should let them shine.
  • Do not mumble or speak too fast. A good trainer is someone who can communicate well with his participants. Speaking slowly and clearly will allow my participants to understand my messages.
  • Do not let my participants’ energy level go down because this would be detrimental to their learning. If needed, stop teaching immediately and perform stage change techniques. I will only resume the teaching when my participants are back to their original energy level.
  • When dealing with questions from the participants, do not assume that I must answer all of them. Other participants might be able to answer some of these questions. I can take a step back and become the facilitator of the exchange of views between the participants.
  • Avoid using judgemental comments or passing unnecessary remarks about my participants.
  • Do not keep on teaching without giving breaks to my participants. I confess that I have been guilty of this for years.

I hope you will benefit from my Do’s and Don’ts lists as discussed above. Visit my website as I have a lot of useful tips on public speaking. Please leave me with your comments on my website as I would love to hear from you too.