TOP NEGOTIATING MISTAKES OF SELLERS AND THEIR BROKERS

by Teri Karush Rogers, Brick Underground
Date Publish: Wednesday January 18, 2012

We've already covered the top blunders buyers can make during the negotiation process, but what about sellers (and their brokers)? Here are some of the worst, from the experts.

1. Don't blab about personal information

This negotiating gaffe is typically committed by the seller’s agent--though buttoning your own lips may be the best way to prevent it.

“A seller’s broker needs to keep a lot of the personal reasons for selling confidential, because a well-prepared buyer’s broker will use all such information against the sellers when negotiating,” says Rodrigo Guzman of Rutenberg Realty.

Though it violates a selling broker's fiduciary responsibility to the seller, brokers leak personal information “often,” says Victoria Shtainer of Prudential Douglas Elliman.  “The sellers are getting divorced. The owner lost his job. They need to move because of job relocation....As soon as I hear that, I think, ‘Desperate.’ I can negotiate and I can low ball."

2. Don't take a lowball offer as an insult—or fail to respond to one

Yes, this sounds suspiciously like broker spin, but worth mentioning as it was by far the most repeated lament of the brokers we spoke to--and really, what have you got to lose by seeing if you can get a low offer up to an acceptable level?

“Probably 75 to 85% of lowball offers end up being the deals that get done, and they get done within 5 to 10% of list price,” says Ariel Cohen of Prudential Douglas Elliman.

Moral of the story: Always counter a lowball offer—even if your counter is your asking price.

“This shows a willingness to say, ‘I am serious about my price,’” says Brad Malow of Rutbenberg Realty. “’Please come back with a bit more of a serious offer.’”

3. Don't make a counteroffer that’s too small  

While sticking to your asking price can be an appropriately strategic response to a lowball offer, counteroffers that are too small risk backfiring.

When responding to an initial offer, a reduction of less than 1% of the asking price (for example, a $5,000 reduction on an $800k asking price) “is actually an insult to the buyer” that may drive him or her away, says Bevan Versfeld of Rutenberg Realty, whereas a reduction of 1 to 3% “shows your willingness to play ball.”

4. Don't focus exclusively on price

If you’re deadlocked on price, it’s time to get creative. There’s a lot more to a real estate deal than sticker price.

“The seller wants to sell,” says Malow, so “what are the other issues that might be adjusted to yield a common ground? Closing costs? The purchasing timeline? Adding or dropping contingencies?”

5. Don't accept the first offer as is

It’s a buyer’s market, but it’s still a negotiation. Accept the first offer as is and you may be leaving money on the table, says Kevin Kurland of The Spire Group.

All Articles

martina's story - Jan 14, 2019
Contactually
rent that was too good to last - Aug 30, 2018
Joyce Cohen, The New York Times
a home to reshape in his image - May 17, 2018
Joyce Cohen, The New York Time
bunny mellon’s manhattan aerie sells - Apr 11, 2018
FANG BLOCK, Mansion Global
el apartamento de la mítica 'bunny mellon' en central park - Feb 6, 2018
SAM DANGREMOND, Nuevo Estilo
see inside bunny mellon's central park south apartment - Jan 18, 2018
SAM DANGREMOND, Town & Country
central park south condo of bunny mellon seeks $9m - Jan 8, 2018
Amy Plitt, Curbed.com
bunny mellon’s central park aerie lists for $8.9 million - Dec 20, 2017
STEFANOS CHEN, New York Times
bunny mellon’s manhattan pad hits market for $8.9m - Dec 20, 2017
FANG BLOCK, Manison Global
aileen getty buys adam dell’s $19m townhouse - Jul 3, 2017
Page Six Team, Page Six
spire’s kevin kurland sells stake - May 26, 2017
Spire’s Kevin Kurland sells stake
spire’s kevin kurland sells stake in 100% commission firm - May 24, 2017
E.B. Solomont , The Real Deal
3 apartments with doormen to see this weekend - Nov 12, 2015
Emily Nonko, DNA Info | New York
the most style you'll ever see packed into 1000 square feet - Jul 2, 2014
Mitchell Owens, Elle Decor
mid-sized firms see shake up - May 1, 2014
Katherine Clarke, The Real Deal
the ultimate chemistry test: speed dating for roommates - Apr 22, 2014
The Wall Street Journal
byow: top spire agents make their own vino on team retreat - Oct 9, 2013
Rew Staff, Real Estate Weekly
spire launches 'be 100% happy' campaign - May 1, 2013
The Real Deal
spire group celebrates 'happy' start to season - May 1, 2013
Onlinedigeditions
spire featured in the real deal 'how residential brokerages celebrated 2 - Dec 24, 2012
Leigh Kamping-Carder, The Real Deal
'redefine the way you live' with a $15k rental at 40 bond - Oct 22, 2012
Jessica Dailey, Curbed NewYork
nyc’s best firms to work for - Sep 1, 2012
Leigh Kamping-Carder, The Real Deal
business booming as boutiques expand - May 10, 2012
Rew Staff, Real Estate Weekly
top negotiating mistakes of sellers and their brokers - Jan 18, 2012
Teri Karush Rogers, Brick Underground
how to appeal a co-op board turndown - Jan 10, 2012
Teri Karush Rogers, Brick Underground
health of the small business economy - Jan 7, 2012
77WABC Radio
basketball star's soho pad back on market - Aug 11, 2011
Amanda Fung, Crains New York
architecture firm sawacki tarella to buy building for $3 million - Mar 7, 2011
Ronald Li, Real Estate Weekly
what you get in a hotel condo - Feb 12, 2006
C. J. Hughes, New York Times