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Negotiating a contract is tough

- and a prime reason to work through a Realtor -

ORLANDO -- March 29, 2001 -- The Realtor’s role is changing in many ways, but one strength inherent in the use of a real estate pro is not -- the role of negotiator. A neutral third party can often orchestrate a contractual compromise that independent buyers and sellers cannot.

Realtors’ roles have changed thanks to the Internet and the way in which consumers can list their homes and, as a buyer, find information on local listings. Industry discussion has focused on the changes and how to adapt to them, but the negotiating role of a real estate practitioner has sometimes been lost in the shuffle, perhaps because negotiating has no dollar value.

But haggling over price and contract terms causes significant stress for homebuyers and sellers. Sellers traditionally want as much money as they can get for their home; buyers want to pay as little as possible. Allowing a third party -- a Realtor -- to handle the negotiations from a stress-free, third party perspective can keep all parties moving forward.

"Remember that the seller sees their house as a home, a place where they raised children and maybe lived for 20 years. But the buyer sees a house as a commodity," says the president of the Daytona Beach Area Association of Realtors. When it comes to trying to reach a compromise, "It's better to go through a third party that doesn't have an emotional interest and can see more objectively."

He considers negotiations a top reason to use Realtors, who are "trained in negotiations and experts on property value."

It’s not just price. In a real estate contract, almost everything is negotiable -- meaning consumers must balance an array of variables, such as closing costs, closing dates, dates of moving in, repairs and other items. Recently enacted legislation even allows people to negotiate the price of title insurance -- another role that Realtors regularly perform. A knowledgeable third party can explain these various details as appropriate, and put them into perspective by explaining how they affect the overall deal.

Sometimes, unique situations arise that require negotiation. Home repairs, for example, can be paid for in several ways, depending on the needs and finances of the buyer and seller. Realtors not only negotiate an agreement between both parties, but they also have the industry insight to pick a plan that fits each unique situation.

When negotiating a selling price, perhaps the Realtor’s most important role is not in the negotiation itself, but as a counselor who explains to buyers and sellers how the negotiating process works. An explanation of the process -- and advice to not take seemingly unreasonable counter-offers personally - can set the stage for a successful home sale.

"The key for either party is to try and step outside their own shoes and look at it from the other side".

Source: News-Journal Online, R.J. Kelly, March 29, 2001

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