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Real Estate Negotiation Secrets

When you bought your home, you offered less than you were willing to pay, right? That's the most common negotiation technique. For experienced investors, however, that's just one little secret among the many more powerful ones. What else can you do?

How To Make An Offer

1. Offer an odd amount, like $161,793. This gives the impression that you know something the seller doesn't. They may think you have a good reason for that particular price.

2. Play dumb. Ask questions, talk slow, ask for help, and never show off your real estate expertise. Sellers are afraid to budge if they think a smarter person may be taking advantage of them.

3. Use the "limited authority" ploy. Say "I'll have to check with my wife (or partner)." It's easier for sellers to accept that you can't do something, rather than the idea that you won't.

4. Refer to precedent. "My father bought his house this way." If the offer is at all unusual, sellers will feel more comfortable if they know it has been done that way before.

5. Ask for things you don't want. This lets the seller win concessions when negotiating. If you can say, "I guess I don't need the refrigerator, if I can get my price," you're more likely to get your price.

6. Be reluctant. "well, I don't know..." Reluctance gets the seller looking for ways to motivate you, and lets him feel like he's won something when you settle the point.

7. Make the offer their idea. "Are you saying you'd like a later closing, and more earnest money? Well let's do it your way, then. I just need..."

8. Get a yes before the offer. "What if I paid your price, but got my terms? Would that work for you?" Even with a few changes, it will be hard for the seller to say no to an offer he more or less already agreed to.

9. Flatter the seller. Flattery has been proven to be worth an average of $1962 in real estate negotiations. That's a joke, by the way, but you know if he likes you, you'll probably get a better deal.

10. Pass over problems, and return to them later. Agree on every agreeable point first. It will feel like the house is sold then, and it will be difficult for a seller to lose the deal over an issue or two that you need to go in your favor.

You can spend a lot of time looking for cheap houses. Why not spend a little time learning how to purchase every home for less, with some smart negotiation?

Steve Gillman has invested real estate for years. To learn more, and to see a photo of a beautiful house he and his wife bought for $17,500, visit

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