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It’s Not Personal, It’s Only Business

Negotiating the purchase or sale of a home can produce anxiety for both buyer and seller. Unlike a car, buying or selling a home evokes strong emotions. Negotiation, a creative process which frequently involves compromise, can be particularly stressful if each party lacks a clear understanding of the other’s function within that process.

Basic psychology assigns distinct roles to buyer, seller and agent: The buyer’s objective is to spend as little money as possible while the seller’s goal is to gain the most money under the most favorable terms. Added to this is the agent’s function as mediator, keeping everything amicable and on an even keel.

In simplest terms, the seller attempts to accomplish the reverse of what the buyer hopes to achieve, and vice-versa. It’s precisely because everyone behaves “normally” that friction occurs. And money isn’t always the cause. Animosity can arise out of anything from the condition of the house to the date of occupancy to one party’s sense that the other wants to take advantage of a given situation to attempts to re-negotiate.

A competent broker, aware of these possibilities, strives to manage all relationships in a transaction successfully. Your ability to view negotiations dispassionately will lend a positive perspective to a rather predictable set of circumstances, furthering your capacity to compromise when appropriate. The moral of the story: don’t get angry. Keep your cool—and pause to observe human nature at work.