How to Negotiate Without Losing Your FSBO Cool

by : Lori S. Anton

No buyer wants an uncomfortable confrontation with the owner of a house for sale. Therefore, when a buyer asks to negotiate on aspects of the fsbo sale, it is important for the house owner to project a calm, relaxed mood and respond to negotiation requests politely. This reduces the risk of blowing a potential sale.

The goal of a good salesperson is to handle the sale in such a way both seller and buyer walk away from the sale feeling they got something they wanted. The sales floor, then, is no place to let egos get the upper hand. Be willing to compromise on minor issues.

Elements of a Successful Negotiation

By asking a fair price for your home you greatly reduce the risk of negotiations turning nasty. Other elements that make for successful negotiations are as follows:

    1.) Plan ahead. Decide before hand what aspects of the sale are negotiable, and which are not. This will reduce frustration during negotiations.

    2.) When setting your house for sale by owner asking price, set it higher than your rock bottom price. Expect that buyers will ask for you to negotiate on price.

    3.) Foster a calm relaxed tone and make good eye contact. Listen carefully to the buyer, and avoid the temptation to interrupt them.

    4.) Keep in mind how much of the equity is saved by not going through a real estate agent when asked to reduce the price. Reducing the asking price by 2 or 3% still puts you way ahead of the game.

    5.) Avoid the word "NO" when negotiating. Be willing to compromise on minor issues. Even when a point is not negotiable, take the time to explain "why." This sends a better message to the buyer.

    6.) Get everything in writing. Don't rely on trust. Document what terms and conditions are discussed and agreed upon, and what still needs to be worked out.

Prepare a Negotiation Worksheet

By preparing a negotiation worksheet, you help the house for sale by owner negotiations go more smoothly, and the atmosphere to remain calm. You also reduce the risk of frustrations resulting from misunderstandings that could arise later.

The worksheet is not meant to be a legal, binding document. It is only to serve as a visual aid to keep track of what aspects of the sale process are agreed upon by both parties, and what aspects still need to be worked out. The worksheet will also serve as the foundation for the purchase and sales contract that should be drawn up with the help of an attorney.

The Negotiation Worksheet should include the following:

    1.) The seller's name

    2.) The buyer's name, address, and phone number

    3.) A description of the property fsbo, including address

    4.) The purchase price

    5.) The amount of the deposit

    6.) Who holds the deposit

    7.) Financing information

    8.) Pre-Qualification letter due date

    9.) Date of final loan approval

    10.) Whether or not the seller is financing

    11.) Who pays for what (inspections, appraisals, repairs, attorney fees, etc.)

    12.) What is included in the sale (personal property such as appliances, curtains, etc.)

    13.) Other conditions of the sale (buyers must first sell their current home, maximum mortgage note %, property inspections, etc.)

    14.) Anticipated closing date

    15.) Rental fees if seller continues to occupy the home after the closing

    16.) Notation that the worksheet is not a binding document

    17.) Any other aspects agreed upon, relevant to the sale of the property

For a MS Word formatted Negotiation Worksheet template, email the editor of Virtual Real Estate Listings at Type "Negotiation Worksheet" on the subject line of the e-mail; include your name and email address when making your request.

By both parties being willing to negotiate and documenting what has been agreed upon, fsbo dealings will go more smoothly, with irritations kept to a minimum. And the house for sale by owner process will be a win/win situation for both the buyer and the seller.

? 2006 Lori S. Anton, for Virtual Real Estate Listings