Negotiation tips for Sellers! (Part 1)


Where do we start! I could write for days on this. Advising homeowners on how to strategise to achieve the best possible price has been my life since 2007. As much as I would like to jot down my first novel here or sit down with you for a cup of coffee and a good long chat about the in’s and out’s of selling real estate (I can see you rolling your eyes), I am going to try and condense this into as few words as possible. Bear in mind this is just scratching the surface of what’s important though…

So here it is, 8 long years of painstaking work and study summed up in 1 sentence:

The key to selling your home for the best possible price:

The no.1 key for all sellers is that you attract as many qualified buyers as possible to your property through the most efficient and cost-effective marketing channels available, help them create an emotional connection to your home (while they are there and after they have gone) and then give them 1, and only 1 opportunity to buy it (preferably in competition).

There, that’s it. It has taken me years to put it onto so few words. It might sound simple but the vast majority of agents do not follow this process and will be happy to sell your home to the first buyer who walks through the door and breathes hot air. Don’t settle for average. You deserve better. In addition to committing the above statement to memory I would recommend the following tips:



1. Cash is king.

Nothing pours cold water on a property sale than an offer that falls over. Nothing. Do everything you can to help buyers make unconditional offers on your home. Provide a LIM report and a builders report (they may get their own as well but at least it gets them started and protects you going forward). Provide invoices for any work you have had done on your home, provide tenancy agreements if applicable, a copy of the title, sales history, anything you can think of! Buyers crave information and the more you can give them the better they will feel about buying your property. Once it comes time to evaluate offers give precedence to anything unconditional, even if it isn’t the highest offer.


2. Don’t sell it too quickly. 

Every month I look at the sales stats for our area and I see houses that have sold in 1 or 2 days. Every time I see this I cringe…. Why, why, why would you do that? Seriously this is not a good thing. If someone was so excited to buy your home and they were so keen to avoid the competition that they offered on it the instant they saw it and snapped it up as soon as it went on the market, then doesn’t it follow suit that there would be other buyers in the market who might just feel the same way? Wouldn’t you rather expose your property to the entire market and have buyers compete with each other to buy it, rather than selling it to the first person who walks in the door? It’s like going to a speed dating night and leaving with the bouncer before you even walk in the door. It’s like having tickets to see your favourite band play but not making it to the concert because you had a few too many drinks beforehand.

Many thousands of dollars have been lost by owners being in too much of a hurry to accept an offer and move on. While no one wants to sit on the market for months, a couple of open homes could pay huge dividends if handled correctly.


3. Keep negotiations moving and don’t be afraid to counter-sign.

As discussed above, pride is often the biggest barrier to a sale. A lot of owners feel like counter-signing (where you go back to the buyer at a higher price) is a waste of time if you are far apart. It simply isn’t. If you reject an offer outright the buyers lose all hope. If you counter-sign the offer (even much higher) then you keep the dream alive and keep the conversation going. Keep things moving, even if only by a small amount. Keep the buyer interested in your property and don’t let them go elsewhere if you can help it. Another offer could come in at any moment providing extra competition, and that’s when things can really get interesting!

Offer to include chattels you don’t need that a young first home buyer might not have already, like that old fridge or outdoor furniture, or the washing machine you have had for 10 years. It might not mean much to you but it might be the spur the buyers need to put their price up a little bit and feel like they have had a little win. They can go home and tell Mum & Dad how good they were at negotiating.


4. It’s nothing personal, it’s only business.

It’s your home, your haven, it’s where your kids have grown up. It’s where you have had some of the most memorable moments in your life, but at the end of the day 4 walls don’t make a home. You and your family make a home, wherever you choose for that to be. YOU are the most important part. Without you there is nothing. Without you it is just dirt and wood and glass. Don’t ever forget that. If you are selling it is important to try to separate yourself from the property as hard as that may be. Don’t take things personally when the buyers do something you don’t like. They have probably never sold before, it’s probably their first time buying and they have no idea how much their actions will effect you. When you are considering an offer the only question you need to ask yourself is:

“Does this offer allow me to get where I need to go and move on with my life?”


In closing…

The other day an investor rang me asking for advice on a property he was considering buyer (listed by another company), and he said to me:

Investor: “Andrew, I have figured out the key to buying a property for a good, cheap price.”

Me: “Oh yeah? What’s that?”

Investor: “Look for the houses that are badly marketed, with only a few crap photos online, and don’t buy one of your listings. They have too much competition…”

Smart boy 🙂

Click here to read Negotiation tips for Sellers (Part 2) where I cover how to approach negotiating commission and marketing expenses.

Here are a few other articles that might interest you too:

5 things you must do before you sell

When is the best time to sell? Summer / Winter?


Best wishes,

andrew duncan

Andrew Duncan – Real Estate Blogger

You are far too smart to be the only thing standing in your way
– Jennifer J. Freeman
  1. Hi Andrew, your information and delivery of it is so valuable and must be so valued by all who are lucky enough to have searched you out. I feel you have armed me well and only regret that I had not this information during my previous sale of a property of which I am still recovering from the burn.
    Thankyou for your advice.

    1. Hi Gail, thank you for your kind words. Hopefully, the info comes in handy in the future. Sorry to hear about your past experience, it’s always such a big transaction and the negative feelings can stay with us a long time when the service is poor or not up to scratch.

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