One of the best parts of selling real estate is that no two days are the same and everyday we learn new things about what we do.  We learn the most from the mistakes we see our clients make.  Many times they push past the advice we offer and do something that is detrimental to the negotiation and hurts them in the long run.  

“Let’s make a low offer and see what happens!”  This is the first step towards insulting a seller and making your negotiation much more difficult.  I have actually had sellers say when receiving a low offer “I would rather not sell my house at all than to sell my house to that (insert expletive)!”  The seller gets so upset that the chances of getting a property under contract lessen considerably.  In many cases the low offering buyer ends up paying a higher price than they would have if the initial offer had been more in line with the value of the property.  

“Tell the seller the paint is really ugly and the carpet will need to be replaced when I buy it.”  This is really common.  A buyer wants to justify a lower offer and tells the agent to beat up the property to the seller so that they drop the price.  It’s as if the buyer expects that the seller will be surprised that the home might need painted or new flooring.  The seller (and the sellers agent) both looked at the condition of the home when pricing it and took into account the condition.  If the house had fresh carpet and paint it would be listed for $10,000 more!  

“Tell them I am only qualified for ($$$$ fill in the blank).”  A buyer makes an offer on a house in Belterra that is 10% below the list price and tell the agent to tell the sellers agent that is all they are qualified for.  The buyer now has little room for negotiation before looking like a liar.  If the buyer is only truly qualified for up to that price, and the seller will not sell it for that, then there is no reason to negotiate.  Don’t paint yourself into a corner.  

“My agent told me to call you to show me your listing.  He said you wouldn’t mind and that it is your job to show me the listing.”  This one happens all the time around the 4th of July and Labor Day.  The buyers agent goes to the beach and then sloughs his/her work off onto the listing agent without the agents permission.  I do show my listing in these cases, but it still rubs me the wrong way.  I expect that a professional buyers agent would have someone else covering their clients while they are sunning on the sand.  When I show my listings I gather as much information as I can about the potential buyer.  It’s my obligation to let my clients know everything about the prospect that I know.  

A good agent will counsel the client to avoid insulting the other party during a negotiation.   I do need to convey my clients wishes, but I don’t always do it in the way my clients think I should.  I know the negative consequences of poor negotiation and I will try to get my clients everything they want in an effective way.  When my clients want to make a low offer I ask; “Are you willing to take a chance that this tactic blows up in your face and you lose the house or do you really want the home?”  If the answer is that they love the home I tell them to make an offer more in line with the value of the property and avoid starting the negotiation by slapping the sellers in the face.  



Steve Mallett has been selling real estate in the greater Austin and Dripping Springs area since 2004.  He lives in downtown Dripping Springs and maintains an office in the Keller Williams building located in the heart of Dripping.  He is the President of the Dripping Springs Real Estate Professionals and also the Dripping Springs Running Club.  He is a Triple Platinum Sales Winner with Keller Williams Realty and a top producer in Austin.