Can I Learn to Negotiate Successfully

In the old days in real estate (by old days I mean as late as the 1950s) the Latin expression "caveat emptor" was often quoted: "Let the buyer beware." Since that time, consumer protection laws have swelled to the point where today the buyer who knows how to take advantage of these laws is protected and even has advantages as never before.

However, when it comes to the actual negotiations, there are no protections for the buyer. You are at your own mercy. You can make a good deal. Or you can get yourself into terrible trouble.

The question naturally arises, therefore, of how a person who is not a real estate professional can negotiate successfully in what may be a den of wolves. How do you avoid cheating yourself by your negotiation inexperience?

The answer is by acquiring knowledge. Having read this chapter thus far, you've already acquired a great deal that you may not have known before. You now know that everything is negotiable. When the agent says, "There's no way you can ask for the refrigerator. It's personal property and goes with the seller automatically." You can stand back, catch your breath, and say with confidence, "Either I get that damn refrigerator or there's no deal!" Grumbling, the agent will write into the contract that the refrigerator goes with the house, knowing full well that he or she is going to have to fight the sellers for hours to get them to agree.

You should now know that there's nothing embarrassing about submitting low offers and making your agent struggle to get the seller to sign. There's nothing wrong with insisting on terms that are totally favorable to you. You should also now know that it's a mistake to let the seller's agent "assist" you in determining the price to offer.

Finally, you should now know that there's nothing foolish about getting down on the ground and scrambling for price and terms.

It's an ancient tradition that, regardless of your particular background, is your human heritage. You were born to do it!

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