Real Estate Deal Analysis & Advice

2 Clever Negotiation Tips to Get More Deals Under Contract

Expertise: Business Management, Commercial Real Estate, Landlording & Rental Properties, Real Estate Deal Analysis & Advice, Mortgages & Creative Financing, Personal Development, Real Estate Investing Basics
126 Articles Written

It’s ideal to negotiate directly with the seller in person. You should always work to try to arrange that whenever possible. This allows you to establish rapport and more quickly talk through different scenarios to try to reach an agreement.

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Most often, however, the broker will make sure you don’t get the chance to do that. This means you need to negotiate through the broker, and this is most often done over the phone or in writing, with the broker relaying documents and emails between you and the seller.

It’s aggravating, but a reality of life.

This is why your ability to effectively negotiate in writing is critical if you want to get deals done.

Long before the purchase contract is ever submitted, there's lots of negotiation going on. If you just throw over a purchase contract (which may be fine for single family houses, but not so much for apartment buildings), you're just wasting everybody's time. Or you could just make up an offer price 25% below asking, but I've found that these kinds of "offers" are quickly dismissed by the seller and broker.

Related: A Powerful Alternative to Soft or Hard Negotiating: How to Land Win-Win Deals

You have to be more intentional if you want to increase the chances to get your offers accepted.

I have found that if you can communicate HOW you arrived at your offer price, you have a much better chance at getting a positive response, which in our case would be a counter-offer, which starts the negotiation process.

You have to get good at communicating how you “underwrote” the deal to arrive at your offer price to both the broker and the seller. Sometimes you find yourself educating the seller and/or broker if their expectations are higher than what the property is worth. If they can understand your underwriting, then you have a better chance at getting agreement on your offer price.

Let’s talk about two ways to do this effectively.

Tip #1: Make an Informal Offer via Email or Letter

One good way to communicate how you arrived at your offer price is to write an email or letter. In the email, you present how you analyzed the deal based on its income and capitalization rate, comps or some other way that makes sense.

There’s an even better method for accomplishing the same thing.

Tip #2: Submit Your Analysis and Offer with Video

An even better way to test the waters with an informal offer is to email the broker and/or seller a video recording of your analysis and assumptions.

I use a free program called “Jing” (from Techsmith), which lets me do a video capture of my analysis using a deal analyzer spreadsheet. I then email the video to the broker along with my offer price.

Here’s how one broker responded after watching my video:

Brilliant! It reminds me of the Kahn Academy videos I often watch. I will have to use this going forward. I am going to forward this to my clients and we will jump on a call together to discuss and I should have some feedback for you by tomorrow hopefully.

Perfect, that’s exactly what I wanted. I wanted the seller to understand my rationale, and the video makes sure that nothing is lost in translation.

He also added: “We have other offers coming in on this property, but my clients were pleased with your presentation. We anticipate a level of savviness engaging you as the buyer as opposed to the others whom we are in the process of vetting.”

So the video analysis also adds a certain level of professionalism, which will set you apart from other buyers.

Related: 4 Priceless Contract Negotiation Tips to Keep You in Control of the Deal


Communicating HOW you arrived at your offer price, either via email or video, explains to the broker and seller HOW you arrived at your offer price, that you’re not just making it up, and that you’re professional. You make it easy for the broker to communicate your offer to the seller because he can just forward your analysis to the seller. This opens the door to the negotiation process and increases your chances of getting more deals under contract.

What other things have worked for you when negotiating deals with the broker or the seller?

Let me know with a comment!

Michael Blank is a leading authority on apartment building investing in the United States. He’s passionate about helping others become financially free in 3-5 years by investing in apartment buildi...
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    Robert Loiselle Investor from Medford, Massachusetts
    Replied about 5 years ago
    Michael, Great post. I’ve recently started to include a summary of my analysis on properties when I make an initial or informal offer. I find it really helps to show the seller how you’re looking at the deal and forces them to review their numbers and analysis. It also helps to show, like you said, that I’m not just pulling this number out of my butt (which it seems like a lot of sellers assume we do as investors). I really like the video idea…very interesting. Great find. I’m going to have to try this out on my next offer. Thanks!
    Michael Blank Rental Property Investor from Northern Virginia, VA
    Replied about 5 years ago
    Thanks Robert …
    Bill Bodziak Real Estate Agent from Bloomfield Hills, Michigan
    Replied about 5 years ago
    Great Jing recommendation! Thanks!
    Michael Benson from Dittmer, Missouri
    Replied about 5 years ago
    WOW! Thank you for sharing! This is a great method and one I will certainly be trying in the future. I like how it instantly sets you apart from all other offers and gives a level of credibility (which is critical to building trust) based on facts (the numbers in you analysis). Would you be willing to share one of your videos/e-mails with us here on BP as a benchmark for myself and others? Thank you for considering it! My Best,
    Michael Blank Rental Property Investor from Northern Virginia, VA
    Replied about 5 years ago
    Hi Michael — here is an example: Hope that helps.
    Melvin Hazelton from Powder Springs, GA
    Replied about 5 years ago
    GREAT! This is a really great article @Michael Blank ! As of late I have included the summary of my analysis in the proposals and I find it to be fruitful (especially when dealing with a broker). I agree with @Michael Brown in thinking the videos will set you apart from the competition. Its time for the implementation process.