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Selling Your Home? How to Get to Yes!

By Homesmsp @HomesMSP

When selling a home, there are a lot of factors to consider: The condition of the home, de-cluttering, what to fix and what to leave alone, among many, many other considerations. While a real estate agent is there to help guide you through the process, ultimately, you must make the decision that feels right for you, your family, as well as what fits with your bottom line. Preparations to sell and waiting for an offer can be challenging; the part that can really test your mettle is when you enter into negotiations.

As human beings, we want what we want. And we want it more when faced with an offer (say a dollar amount for your beautiful home that’s 20% less than asking price) that doesn’t meet with our criteria. If you’ve ever sold something on Craig’s List, you’re familiar with how it works: You list your bike for $200, and receive an offer for $150. Your initial reaction is balking at the offer and saying no outright. But if you counter, the potential buyer will come back with a more reasonable offer. For the most part, this is what happens in real estate, but because a home is such a deeply personal belonging, feelings and emotions become involved, which muddies the waters and can sometimes separate us from the desired outcome of selling the home. 

First published in 1981, and assigned in college courses ranging from Peace Studies to Poli Sci everywhere, the classic Getting to Yes - Negotiating Agreement Without Giving In by Roger Fisher and William Ury offers some guidelines to apply when working toward mutually-acceptable terms.

  1. Separate the people from the problem: Completely disregard who the buyers might be. When submitting an offer, potential buyers sometimes include a letter detailing their circumstances and what they love about your home—this can create an emotional 
  2. Focus on interests rather than positions: We tend to ask ourselves, What do you want?, when the more important question is Why do you want this? In negotiations, it’s vital to understand that there’s a purpose behind every position which belies the true motivation. Without knowing this motivator, the problem needing to be addressed may be unidentified, leading to confusion.
  3. Generate a variety of options before settling on an agreement: As human beings, we tend to believe that our opinion is the only correct one; logically, we know this isn’t true. When negotiating the terms of a purchase agreement, consider several options to offer a potential buyer, then decide the best course of action for you.
  4. Insist that the agreement be based on objective criteria: In a nutshell, don’t let negotiations devolve into a battle of wills. Consider the offer objectively, determining if it meets your criteria. It can also help to frame the offer as though you won’t receive another for 3 months—or not at all. Is there a way to make the offer work for you? Is it better to move forward, or to bow out altogether?

It’s true that some of these criteria may not apply to every potential real estate transaction, but keeping them in mind may help you make a decision that’s right for you. In closing, the authors suggest:

  • Framing each issue as a mutual search for objective criteria.
  • Being both reasonable and open to reason when determining the standards to use, and how they should be applied.
  • Never bending to pressure—only to principle.

Angela Anderson, 612-396-3654

Realtor, Results Support Services: EMAIL — BIO

Licensed Associate Working with Sharlene Hensrud of RE/MAX Results, and HomesMSP — Sharlene, John, Angela

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