Real Estate Poker

Two years after the millennium passed, my brother gave me a poker book for my birthday. Something by Phil Hellmuth. Eight hours later I was online and up $300 in no limit poker. I was hooked. Thousands of hours and years later, I was tired of gutshot straights and flush chasers. I was tiring of poker. But, I kept the lessons I learned from the game. One of my friends remarked to me the other day, “you’re still playing poker, now you’re just doing it with peoples’ lives.” I laughed. Maybe it does look like that from the outside, nahls but good negotiation should never be left to chance. I am a very good poker player, but this is largely due to diligent study and practice, not any sort of inherent talent.

Skillful negotiation is one of the most important tools for a Realtor. Some agents excel in this area while others find it difficult. This process is one that I enjoy above all others. Many times people look to us to identify all the magic numbers. What should I sell it for? How much should we offer? Should we take this offer? We are there to advise. Good Realtors will give you well thought out ideas on what your options are, however, tipsjanbd you are responsible for these decisions under counsel. A well prepared agent will be invaluable in helping you make these decisions.

This brings me to an important poker lesson that has stuck with me. Know your opponent. I will give away one of my secrets here. You can tell a great deal about people by the books they read. If I am going through a home I know we will be making an offer on, I will study any books they have on display. I won’t explain it more than that. There are other things. I have always felt I have a good sense of people. If agents are direct with me, I will be direct with them. Although, I will always hold my client’s cards close to my chest unless they explicitly direct me to do otherwise. If I sense any sort of gameplay from another agent, I will inform my client of this and we will act accordingly. But, in the end, the most important way to have strong real estate negotiations is to be meticulously prepared.

This is yet another reason why it is imperative to have a good agent. They will be able to recognize and assess value. They will research all the listings and sales in the area and know when something stands out. It makes negotiation easy because your agent can inform you when you are getting into a deal that doesn’t make sense. This doesn’t mean you won’t do the deal. Sometimes economics are only part of a picture for a client, but it is still important to understand the nature of your deal. There is no substitute for good preparation. The rest of negotiation is really just fine tuning.

When you are buying, you have to be careful when you start arguing over small details. Is that extra five thousand dollars you might save worth losing the house you love? Does it make sense to throw in a really low offer for something you want, when you run the risk of alienating the sellers and ending all negotiations? When you are selling, you need to be careful about not respecting initial offers. Often, Dog breeders the best offers come first and there are endless stories of sellers who wish they would have handled offers better. My phone has rang more than a few times from Realtors who said their client would like to revisit our initial offer, but many times it is too late. My client had moved on.

Howard Baker, an American senator, once said, “The most difficult thing in any negotiation, almost, is making sure that you strip it of the emotion and deal with the facts.” This is difficult in a real estate negotiation because the stakes are often so big, but this is exactly what you must do. You can’t second guess yourself. Identify your position and be prepared to lose a deal. Once you let your emotions get involved, you may find yourself in a less favourable position.

There is more. Give a little when you ask for something. Want a lower price? Be open with your closing dates. Want the black labrador in the back yard? Well, there is a deal where this happened but they had to get creative! I could say a great deal more, but I don’t want to be completely exposed. How many poker players could I effectively play with if I always had my cards face up?


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