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How to negotiate using a real estate agent

Profile photo of Samantha Thorne
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Samantha is a Sydney-based real estate and home improvement writer. She is currently Head of Marketing at OpenAgent.

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Navigating real estate negotiations as a seller can be a delicate balancing act. Whether you're preparing to sell your first property or have experience in the market, the art of negotiation plays a crucial role in determining the outcome of your sale. 

When it comes to discussions over property prices, terms, or conditions, your real estate agent becomes your trusted ally in this intricate process. 

In this article, we'll delve into the art of negotiating with a real estate agent from a seller's perspective. We'll explore effective communication, essential strategies, and the insights you need to confidently manoeuvre the negotiation table. So, let's step into the world of real estate negotiation, where every word and action can impact the success of your property sale.

How to negotiate a house price with an agent 

By leveraging a real estate agent and their negotiation skills, you may be able to maximise the sale price of your home through their extensive knowledge in the world of property.

They’re able to bring valuable qualities such as:

  • Being well-versed in market trends and insights
  • A thorough understanding of pricing strategy 
  • Access to a large pool of buyers 
  • Feedback interpretation (from property showings)
  • An objective perspective

With this, you can use your agent to negotiate on your behalf and provide counsel on offers that might come your way.

Real estate agent tactics 

For the best possible outcome, agents employ a variety of negotiation tactics throughout the selling process. These include:

  • Counteroffers: agents can draft counteroffers that reflect your desired terms, whether it's the purchase price, contingencies, or other aspects of the deal.
  • Leveraging time frames: your agent may use time constraints to your advantage. For example, they might encourage buyers to act promptly or propose a short acceptance deadline for offers.
  • Switching sale method: in extremely competitive markets or high demand for your property, your agent may instead opt for an auction rather than negotiation-based selling. This can potentially drive up the selling price by capitalising on high demand.  

Real estate negotiation tips for sellers

At the end of the day however, your agent can only provide you with their recommendations and advice, with you ultimately having the decision on what to do moving forward.

Here are some wise tips to follow to ensure a smooth sale and successful negotiation: 

Be flexible on price 

Your agent will likely bring you an array of offers on your property which may not necessarily hit your desired target price. Being inflexible on pricing can be particularly difficult for your agent if you have unrealistic expectations, making them feel that their time isn’t being put to best use. 

It’s therefore important to stay flexible on pricing, particularly in the ever changing real estate market. 

Timely responses 

It’s also essential to promptly respond to offers and inquiries brought forward by your agent. By creating delays, you may cause uncertainty and potentially deter buyers who were once interested in your property

Stick to one agent 

If you're expecting your agent to go the extra mile for you and strive for the best outcomes, it's equally vital to reciprocate that loyalty. 

Agents invest substantial time, effort, financial resources, and expertise in selling your property or securing a purchase. Thus, your dedication to them is paramount. Should you ever find that their services no longer align with your needs, it's important to have an open conversation about your decision and the reasons behind it.

Be open to trade-offs

During negotiations, there may be areas where you may need to compromise to secure a successful deal. 

Some of these can include:

  • Having flexibility on the closing date 
  • Addressing repair requests
  • Pricing adjustments 
  • General contingencies 

By being open to concessions in different aspects of the transaction, both parties can work together to find a balance that meets their respective objectives and ultimately leads to a harmonious deal. 

How to deal with agents when buying 

If we flip the scenario on the side of buyers, it’s also important to uphold many of the previously listed principles such as flexibility, timely responses, loyalty and being open to trade-offs. 

Here, you would need to employ the help of a buyer's agent who can help you find suitable properties, provide market insights, and negotiate with sellers on your behalf. 

While your agent will be doing a lot of heavy lifting, this will be a collaborative effort that requires your constant input until you land on an ideal property at an ideal price.