Dear Zuess,

I have been negotiating an offer with a really irritating agent.  He is so aggressive and annoying that my clients don’t want to deal with him, and frankly, neither do I. My clients need to sell.  His clients have come up a lot in price since their opening offer, but they still have a crummy deposit and a condition on financing.  My clients just signed back a final offer.  It’s at full price and gives the buyers only 24 hours to arrange financing.  The irrevocable is only three hours.  I’m sure that the buyers won’t accept it and I am terrified that we won’t find another buyer in time for my client to close on the house they’ve bought.  I’m tearing my hair out.  Can you help?



Dear Tricia,

Ah – the joy of negotiations.  Stop tearing your hair out and continue to negotiate intelligently. So far, things are going well.

Negotiations are about power.  Whoever has the most power, will achieve the best outcome.  Power comes from several sources – an important one being BATNA (Best ToughAlternative to Negotiated Agreement) also known as plan B.

Your seller has bought a home and needs to sell.  This potentially reduces his power, but if the other side doesn’t know this, your sellers’ perceived power may be very strong.  The buyers really want the property as evidenced by their willingness to improve their price significantly since their opening offer.  This tells you that their BATNA is not strong.  This gives you power.

In addition, their agent is competitive and unskilled in negotiations.  You know this as he has built no rapport with you or the seller and he has failed to uncover information about your client’s situation.  Collaborative win/win negotiations will normally lead to better outcomes for both parties and he has failed miserably in this.  This gives your side power.

My bet is that the offer will be accepted and that the buyers will remove the conditions in time.  The buyers really want the house, the buyer’s agent really wants the commission, and neither of them know that you have a weak BATNA.

Well done!


Columnist, The Nature of Real Estate

Dear Zuess is a column dedicated to offering tips for real estate agents that want to know how to negotiate with aggressive agents. Do you have any real estate binds you’ve been in lately? Drop Zuess a line at