How to Work with a Stubborn Seller

Even the most desperate sellers can be stubborn at times. When a seller doesn’t budge from their asking price, it can seem like the only option is to walk away from the deal. However, if their offer is within a reasonable range, and you can make a profit in a fix and flip or rental property, you can still win the negotiations and close the sale.

Working with stubborn sellers in real estate investment is more about psychology and understanding the seller’s frame of mind than it is about going through your list of negotiation tactics. A person who puts a for sale sign on the front lawn or is interested in hearing your offer is usually looking for something. What they’re looking for and what they’re willing to sell to get it is what you will spend half your time trying to figure out. Your ability to crack the code and close the deal with a stubborn seller will help you negotiate a great deal.

Let’s look at these tips for negotiating with a stubborn seller.

Get to Know the Seller

The best way to overcome a difficult negotiation is to establish trust or rapport with the seller. The only way to do this is to get to know the seller better. When you get to know them, they get to know you and establish a business relationship. This breeds trust and helps the seller feel better about the transaction. 

When talking to the seller, ask questions, and do a lot of listening. Why are they selling the house? What is the history of the property? What pain points can you address? Understanding your seller gives you greater insight into their mindset and why they may be unwilling to negotiate their price or other terms. You can empathize with their situation, which goes a lot further than arguing with them over the price.

Find Out What the Seller Wants

The best thing you can do as a real estate investor is to discover what the sellers want. There is a reason why they won’t budge on their asking price, and by determining their motivators, you can create a plan that appeals to their needs.

Since there are so many factors that come into selling real estate, the only way to find out what the seller wants is to ask. If there are certain conditions or terms that the seller is asking for, and you can provide them, then you are more likely to get what you want in return.

Crunch the Numbers

Sometimes a seller’s expectations are unrealistic. For instance, they may be asking too much for the house, not knowing that the actual value is much lower. Or certain terms may not be logically possible to agree to. One of the best ways to present your case is to crunch the numbers in advance and have them ready at every meeting. 

Conduct a comparative market analysis and submit it along with your next offer to show the seller that your offer is reasonable and in-line with their home value. Sometimes data will jolt the buyer back into reality or give them a reason to be more flexible.

Revisit Another Time

There may be times when you have to ‘circle the wagons’ and wait it out to wear down the buyer. A seller who is just entering the real estate market may be full of hope and energy. Therefore, they are likely to turn down your offer because they’re convinced that they can get a better price. In six months, when they haven’t secured a buyer, you may be in a better position to negotiate.

Check-in a few months later to see how the sale is going. If they appear to be frustrated or worn down, you may be able to make an offer on the house that they will accept. Saying no to a real estate deal at the beginning doesn’t mean that it won’t come back around. Sometimes it’s about timing and knowing when to return to the table. 

Walk Away from the Deal

At a certain point, you must accept that you may not negotiate with the seller. If it is abundantly clear that the seller will not accept less than their original asking price, it may be time to start looking at other deals. This can be gut-wrenching if this is your first or presumed biggest real estate deal to date. 

However, there’s more to your business than negotiating with stubborn sellers. Even if you finally got the seller to bend, you may discover that they present challenges, making the transaction too difficult to move forward. At the very least, you probably learned a few things about negotiation that sharpen your skills for the next real estate deal.

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