Negotiations, what is your bottom line?

A common question you may face when negotiating an offer on your home is, “what is your bottom line?”  

This question causes a bit of a dilemma and it’s often inevitable.  When the potential buyers ask what is the bottom line for the seller, it often means they don’t want to mess around with back and forth negotiations or perhaps they can pay cash and just want to know what’s the price.  It may also mean they’re looking for a deal.

My advice is, don’t respond to these questions.  Not without careful consideration anyways.

There is no bottom line.  Price is not the only factor when it comes to negotiating a real estate transaction.

Sometimes an agent will use the question to simplify the process and make their job easier. But negotiation should not be easy because buying and selling real estate is usually a big deal, a huge transaction, and an emotional sale for both buyer and seller. Your agent shouldn’t look for the easy button, they should put in the work and be creative.

Many agents see negotiating as trying to get the best price for their client but there is more to it than that. Negotiation should take time and should go back and forth to ensure the best outcome for both parties.  Yes, both parties.

It’s always best when both parties feel like they got a good but fair deal.  When one person feels like they got the short end of the stick, they’re a lot less negotiable and cooperative later and the sale isn’t done when the initial offer is negotiated. There may be more negotiation with the home inspection, the buyer may want to view the home prior to possession to meet with contractors or designers, or there may be a reason that someone needs the possession date adjusted.  If both parties feel as though they got a fair deal, it will certainly be better if something comes up later in the sale.

The best way to proceed when negotiating is to reply in writing with your counteroffer. Keep it clean, straightforward, unemotional, and always give yourself some room to move.

Buying and selling on an open market without fixed prices almost always involves discussions, compromise, creativity, and bath and forth.  You might think you’re have hit the bottom line (yours or the other sides) but there’s often something that can be negotiated that benefits one side or the other.

Compromises could include possession dates, tractors, cats, barstools, early access to a garden, or sleepovers.  Yes, we’ve negotiated all of those.  

Be creative.  What else can be done to negotiate a positive outcome other than just the price? If you’re stalled out on price, what else can you offer? It’s not over until it’s over so never answer the question on the bottom line with a simple price. If they don’t like the price, it is likely to end the negotiation early without having the opportunity to consider other options. Creativity, curiosity, and patience are what lead to successful outcomes when negotiating.