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

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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

How to Invest in Real Estate While Working a Full-Time Job

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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!

About Author

Sterling White

With just under a decade of experience in the real estate industry, Sterling currently manages over $10MM in capital, which is deployed across a $26MM real estate portfolio made up of multifamily apartments and single-family homes. Through the company he co-founded, Holdfolio, he owns just under 400 units. Sterling was featured on the BiggerPockets Podcast and has been contributing content to BiggerPockets since 2014, with over 200 posts on topics ranging from single-family investing and apartment investing to wholesaling and scaling a business.


  1. Brian Gibbons

    I like this for wholesaling Sterling.

    If you do not insult the seller, not with language but with PRICE, you a PAYING TOO MUCH. You profit on the purchase. Like Car Auctions.

    In wholesaling you need to get it really cheap. And if it is a MINOR rehab, the 70% of ARV – repairs – wholesaling fee, that offer is a crap offer for the seller. The answer is NO all day because the net to the Seller is AWFUL.

    I like adding other tools in REI:
    lease option and
    wrap for purchases on houses that are in A-B areas,
    C-D areas you can have all of them.

    II also like to JV with the seller on minor rehabs, for example, like a quick kitchen remodel.
    Give a note for equity, single payment,
    buy it,
    fix it,
    resell it,
    pay off the note.

    If you are a one trick pony, only doing wholesaling in C-D areas, go to it.
    And go insult your sellers with a 65% of ARV less repairs less wholesaling fee. 🙂
    You need to make alot of offers to get a deal.
    And you need your Cash Buyers first before marketing.

  2. Douglas Skipworth

    Sterling, I’m so glad you included “Understanding the Seller’s Desires” in the post. To me, that’s the most important part of striking a deal. If you know what they want and you know what you want, it’s a lot easier to come to terms.

    One negotiating tactic we use is the old adage, “Your price, our terms. Our price, your terms.” It works really well when you know what the seller wants and you know what you yourself wants.

    Great post, my friend!

  3. Kenneth brannon

    I’m in total agreement, Sterling. The best approach by far is too convey to the seller that you’re there to alleviate the issues they’re facing, without insulting them are giving them a sense that ?hat they’re being taken advantage of.

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