The Newbie’s Guide to Becoming a Savvy Real Estate Negotiator

The Newbie’s Guide to Becoming a Savvy Real Estate Negotiator

2 min read
Sterling White

Sterling White is a multifamily investor, specializing in value-add apartments in Indianapolis and other Midwestern markets. With just under a decade of experience in the real estate industry, Sterling was involved with the management of over $10MM in capital, which is deployed across a $18.9MM real estate portfolio made up of multifamily apartments. Through the company he founded, Sonder Investment Group, he owns just under 400 units.

Sterling is a seasoned real estate investor, philanthropist, speaker, host, mentor, and former world record attemptee, who was born and raised in Indianapolis. He is the author of the renowned book From Zero to 400 Units and the host of a phenomenal podcast, which hit the No. 1 spot on The Real Estate Experience Podcast‘s list of best shows in the investing category.

Living and breathing real estate since 2009, Sterling currently owns multiple businesses related to real estate, including Sterling White Enterprises, Sonder Investment Group, and other investment partnerships. Throughout the span of a decade, he has contributed to helping others become successful in the real estate industry. In addition, he has been directly involved with both buying and selling over 100 single family homes.

Sterling’s primary specialities include sales, marketing, crowdfunding, buy and hold investing, investment properties, and many more.

He was featured on the BiggerPockets Podcast episode #308 and has been contributing content to BiggerPockets since 2014, with over 200 posts on topics ranging from single family investing and apartment investing to mindset and scaling a business online. He has been featured on multiple other podcasts, too.

When he isn’t immersed in the real world, Sterling likes reading motivational books, including Maverick Mindset by Doug Hall, As a Man Thinketh by James Allen, and Sell or Be Sold by Grant Cardone.

As a thrill-seeker with an evident fear of heights, he somehow managed to jump off of a 65-foot cliff into deep water without flinching. (Okay, maybe a little bit…) Sterling is also an avid kale-eating traveller, but nothing is more important to him than family. His unusual habit is bird-watching, which he discovered he truly enjoyed during an Ornithology class from his college days.

Sterling attended the University of Indianapolis.

Instagram @sterlingwhiteofficial

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You’ve had a good walk through of the property; you like it and have an offer rolling about in your mind. Honestly, it would be great if it just ended there, wouldn’t it? But no, before you can legally claim the property as yours, you’ll have to run the figure by the seller.

Unfortunately, after they run through their numbers, their asking price is more than what you want to pay for it. So what should you do when you meet this kind of unfavorable scenario? Don’t worry, everything isn’t lost yet. Here is a list of some of the steps that need to be taken in order to work out a brilliant steal of a deal.


Related: How to Take Control of Everyday Negotiations With One Simple Technique

The Seller’s Inspiration

It is important to keep in mind at all times the level of motivation the seller you are dealing with has. For example, are they willing to wait for a few more months in order to score top dollar? Or are they more than eager to simply get the property off their hands ASAP? If they are the former, then it’s really just bad luck for the buyer, as it can be extremely hard to get them to consider your figure. No matter how much you may want the deal, please do not overextend yourself and overpay for the property. This is a common mistake I see from fellow investors who adjust their numbers to justify the higher purchase price. 

However, if the seller needs property gone ASAP, then the odds are in your favor! If they are desperately seeking immediate cash or perhaps they are moving out of state and simply want to sell a property quickly, then trust me, their level of motivation to sell will be very different.

Understanding Their Desires

In the tricky game of negotiating, it is important that you be savvy. Figure out what the seller wants, and this can be of a great benefit to you (and them)! If you know the kind of price that they are seeking and the situation that they are in (i.e. they need cash ASAP), you can offer a price that will work both in your favor and theirs, too. After all, if the seller can close the deal in the shortest amount of time with a nice wad of cash in hand, you just might be able to entice them to sell it at a lower price.


Be Bold

Sure, the figure that you are offering to the seller is pretty low (actually, more like really low), but don’t go all misty about it. Be BOLD.

Related: 6 Key Steps For Fearlessly Negotiating Great Real Estate Deals

Trust me, from my experience, I have noticed that if you are straightforward about your intentions from the very beginning, then everything tends to fall into place. This is simple psychology. Everybody enjoys collaborating with others who are honest, direct and get the job done. It makes life so much easier for them, and if you are dealing in-person with the sellers, be aware that their main wish is to sell the property as cleanly and swiftly as they can. Hint: Using a title company will help you to achieve this.  

Book Recommendation

I would highly recommend the book Trump-Style Negotiation as a read. Negotiating is a skill that can be learned and perfected.

Investors: What tips do you live by when negotiating real estate deals?

Let me know with a comment!