The negotiation process involved in most real estate transactions is a progression of offers and counter offers between two cautious parties, each holding their respective cards close to their vests. In a negotiation every thing is contingent upon some thing.

Will and I had had no upper hand in the initial negotiations. Within the first four days on the market the seller had received several competitive offers on the property. We believed our first offer was attractive, but so were the others.

The seller, confident and buoyed by the number of immediate offers she had received in a relatively down market, held fast to her asking price. Our poker game began. We increased our offer. She remained firm. We inched up again but she remained solid. One more tweak up in our price and the seller began to counter, coming down a smidge and revealing her contingencies, her bargaining chips. The closing date must be as soon as possible. The current tenants must remain for another next year, at their modest rent.

Closing date? No problem we said- we’re nimble. Our purchase was not contingent upon a sale. We required no mortgage qualifications.

Tenants to remain? No problem we said. It would be a year or so before we could get started with the renovations we had in mind. It was a win-win for all.

This was our trump card that clinched the deal for us. All the other offers fell by the wayside.

But now we were faced with readjusting it all, based on the inspection results and the amount of work we had in front of us. Tim and I put in a call to our lawyer.  My heart began to pound as Tim presented our request. I wondered just how attractive we were as potential buyers. Where would the give and take come in? How eager was the seller? Nothing short of nail biting.

Tim artfully and calmly conveyed our request for a drastic reduction to the lawyers. He stressed how qualified and amenable we were as prospective buyers. He also made it clear that few others would be interested in this property given the current condition. I held my breath wondering if this would blow the whole deal.

The next day the phone rang…announced with another “Be careful what you wish for!” from Tim. The seller accepted the reduction as long as the tenants could remain.


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