Second in a series: Negotiation tips for buyers and sellers

Yesterday we opened up a discussion about the art of negotiation. We at Paragon have put together a comprehensive series of tips to clarify, simply and de-mystify the process. To begin, let’s continue with our basic principles of negotiation.

· Be prepared to take baby steps. This can in turn lead to a deal that might otherwise go down the drain. Even if your offer or counter-offer gets an unacceptable response, try countering again.

· Be open to playing hardball. This can work if you’re absolutely clear that you’re not about to give another penny or that the other party will respond well. Be careful if you’re bluffing, though – you might get called on it.

· Shut up and listen. Don’t undermine your offer by implying that you’re willing to make further concessions before the other party actually responds.

· Remember that each negotiation is unique in many ways. There is an entire range of strategies, each which comes with its own set of risks. Proceed with caution.

· Don’t give in to pressure. You’re the only one who can make this decision.

· Evaluate your agent. If he or she is more interested in a commission than in protecting your interests, it’s time to find someone else.

Now let’s look at some negotiating tips for sellers.

· If an offer comes, welcome it. You can’t open up a negotiation without a written offer – and even the terrible ones can help leverage other offers higher.

· Counter the unacceptable. Don’t just outright reject an offer out of hand. It’s just business.

· In a strong market, it’s sometimes best to slow down the offer review and counter-offer process. Don’t make the buyer feel abused, but also allow for new and better offers to arrive. This also allows for better decision-making.

· Watch out for no-contingency offers. These can be as dangerous to the seller as to the buyer, especially in a state as litigious and pricey as California. Thorough inspections should be ordered in a timely manner.

Tomorrow we’ll conclude this series by talking about sales prices and negotiation tips for buyers.

Dreaming of San Francisco? Cece Blase offers local advice to San Francisco buyers, sellers and owners– and feeds the dreams of those who wish they could live in Tony Bennett’s ‘City by the Bay.’ Call 415-577-0809 or email