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When it comes to selecting an agent, there are many skills you should assess them for. 

Whether it’s their character, presentation, previous sales and marketing plan, it’s your job as the seller to choose wisely. But there’s one factor that can be difficult to measure but may mean the difference between success and failure – an agent’s negotiation skills.

From the back-and-forth between buyer and seller about price, to upfront discussions with buyers and managing multiple offers and counter-offers, the final sale price is usually a result of many emails, phone calls, verbal offers and written offers. It’s rarely the case that a buyer offers once and is accepted unless they’re offering their full hand.

It’s an agent’s job to ensure a buyer is giving as much as they are willing to. This isn’t getting any easier, with buyers getting savvier, but in a fast-moving market many are realising the need to negotiate or miss out.

In particular, investors and buyer’s agents can be difficult to negotiate with and firm on the price they want to secure your home for. It’s our job to know the market value and be ready to defend that price, and to ensure those who are serious about purchasing are willing to present a decent offer.

For many, this means we’ll be negotiating up from a lower offer. Many buyers will offer an erroneous amount below the asking price as a matter of course – such as 10%. For a seller, this can be disheartening if they aren’t sure that it’s the norm. We can tell you whether an offer is someone trying to get a steal, or whether the market is telling you that the price you wanted is out of step with what is available.

As a matter of legality, we cannot advertise a home’s price for a different price than what it is likely to sell for. The price guide is substantiated using comparative sales in the local area and market knowledge, and these same details can be used to inform interested buyers why the price you’re asking is fair.

The more evidence available to justify your asking price, the better your position when it comes to our negotiations on your behalf. Agents trained in negotiation are better able to handle your sale. We are able to bring patience, charisma and strong research skills to each transaction to ensure you’re in good hands.

There are many times, outside of just the initial offer, when negotiation techniques come in handy.

These include:

Post-inspection negotiations

Sometimes, savvy buyers will use anything that comes up on a building and pest inspection to ask for a reduced price or for additional work to be done. This back-and-forth process can be stressful after a conditional contract has been signed and a good agent will be able to work through negotiations to come to a mutually satisfactory conclusion.

Contractual negotiations

It’s not unusual for buyers to want to alter the contract upfront. This could be to include or exclude certain clauses, add conditions or alter the settlement timeframe. While some sellers and buyers are not bothered by these features, there may be good reason to stay firm on requiring a set-date for settlement.

Settlement day plans

It can be a difficult juggling act to ensure all the ducks are in a row come settlement day. Some buyers will undertake a pre-settlement inspection, and may ask for anything unkempt to be tidied up or other factors to be fixed before settlement will go ahead. Last-minute negotiations aren’t common, but can happen.

Be sure to put negotiation skills at the top of your list when choosing an agent. Ask them about how they have negotiated sales in the past, and their experiences in getting the best possible price for the vendor.

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