Dumbest Thing An Investor Can Say To A Home Seller

Q: Gerald, I’m trying to buy a junker property to rehab. The owner keeps telling me about how much the properties in the neighborhood are selling for and when I pointed out how bad her property looks she got really pissed off and won’t return my phone calls. SOS, need some help. Cory, Edison, NJ

A: Cory, one fundamental rule that you must understand if you want to be successful as a real estate investor is that real estate is a lot more about people than it is about bricks and mortar.  You may be absolutely right about the condition of this woman’s home, but it’s vital that you show respect and concern for her, particularly if this is the home that she lives in.  She may have grown up in that house or raised her kids in that house.  One of the basic rules of successful negotiation is to make sure that everyone wins.  Find out what’s most important to her and see if you can negotiate an agreement that works not just for you but for her as well.

As far as the sensitive topic of pointing out the condition of the property, you never want to bad mouth the condition of someone’s home, you can for example ask her how long it’s been since she updated certain parts of the house–if it has been a long time and it sounds like it probably has, you can tactfully say that you are an investor and will need to renovate the property to compete with current market conditions and have to account for that cost in your offer.

Cory, successful negotiating is not a game where the winner takes all and the loser is left bleeding on the floor.  The best negotiators make sure there are no losers.  Remember, as investors, we need the cooperation of others in order to be successful.

Thanks for your question, Cory.  Good luck!

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