Negotiating Sequim real estate prices or the terms of a transaction involves some key elements to arrive at a final agreement.  But I have come to realize that there are two critical components to a successful negotiation, and if you are missing one of these, your transaction may go up in flames.  You or your Realtor must be good at both of these.

Good written communications are an absolute requirement to effectively negotiate the price and terms of a real estate transaction.  Honestly, I’ve learned this from the school of hard knocks, mostly from negotiating with opposing parties who are horrible at written communications.  Imagine for a moment that you are a buyer negotiating to buy a home in Sequim or Port Angeles.  Now imagine that the seller or the seller’s agent has drafted ambiguous language in an addendum addressing an important issue.  As you often end up with counter addendums and a counter to the counter, a poorly drafted original addendum is like building a house upon a weak foundation.  The potential problem of dealing with bad language just gets worse.

But imagine that your agent cannot accurately convey in writing your wishes or your contractual demands.  That plays out to your detriment not only in the contract and the addendums, but in the email communications that go back and forth between you and your agent, and between your agent and the other agent.  Then you can only hope that the other agent can articulate the terms of the negotiation to his or her client.

It is an agent’s job to educate their client on the issues
being negotiated, so the client can make a fully informed
and wise decision.  If the client is not fully informed,
the default position is to reject the terms and kill the
transaction altogether.  The unintended consequences
leave the seller with a house still on the market,
wondering, “What the heck happened.”  By then,
it’s too late.  The buyer is gone forever.

A breakdown in these written communications that can involve dozens of emails and faxes often ends up with both sides feeling frustrated and convinced that the other side is not negotiating in good faith or that they are being stubborn and unreasonable.  I have seen this happen when the opposing agent is a poor communicator in writing, especially in emails these days.

Good oral communication skills are critical to effectively work through the negotiation process.  Some people are better communicators if they can just talk about it.  This is the auditory person.  Being great at oral communications is a good thing, but if the agent or seller you are dealing with is still lacking in written communications skills, you may still find you cannot get past all the critical language dealing with complex issues.

The Best Negotiation.   The best and most successful negotiation will involve real estate agents on both sides that are good or reasonably good at written and oral communications.  This gives the buyer and the seller the best possible opportunity to reach a reasonable agreement on all terms of the transaction.

I wrote this article because I have seen far too many transactions get killed by opposing parties who were ineffective communicators.  It is the lack of ability to communicate effectively in the negotiating process that often kills a transaction over the most minor and silly details.  Happens all the time.  Perhaps you can see why I harp so much on the importance of clients doing their due diligence when they hire a Realtor.  You certainly don’t have to hire me, but for goodness sakes hire a Realtor who is a good communicator if you want to substantially increase the probability of your success.

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