Property: The Art of Real Estate

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Our real estate expert Yannick Callens offers advice on negotiation and financing.

I have recently finalized a real estate negotiation like no other. It took time, energy and understanding to reach an agreement with the sellers.

Time passed; doubts arrived. The beginning had started so well. I came across a description of a building with several apartments for sale. The displayed price had just dropped, demand was heating up. I completed my visit to the building and I said to myself: ’I can’t miss this deal.’ I immediately made my offer, taking into account certain factors, including the regularization work that needed to be done. I sent off my offer and decided to insist on a short delay for validity in order to exert a little pressure.

This was the first mistake on my part, since the sellers were not used to selling a property and the pressure was too much. The real estate agent asked me to extend my offer, and I began to feel doubt. Was I going to be the carrot to push the price up? What did I have to lose? Nothing! I complied and extended the offer and asked to meet the sellers. A few days later, I did so, at their notary’s office. The meeting was going well, we were getting to know each other and I hoped to come out with an agreement. Second disappointment – I came out of the meeting without an agreement, only a handshake and a promise to follow the file.

What to do? End it? Continue? Two possibilities. I took my destiny in hand and I continued. I engaged the same notary as the sellers, I increased the deposit and made a gesture towards the sellers. I waited. Two days later, I had the opportunity to meet with the sellers and the real estate agent… but I had to wait for a week. Still seven more days to wait, and my doubts grew. Was time in my favour or was it against me?

The day of the meeting arrived, and I got to meet the sellers. After a short discussion, I realized that the doubts I had been having had also affected the sellers. But by now, the sellers had gained confidence and they accepted my offer – they had simply needed more time to assimilate the situation, and had to get used to the negotiations. The mistake I made was that I didn’t put myself in the place of the sellers.

Always take the place of your counterpart in order to better understand them and be able to lead the discussions. This will help you save time and lessen any doubts you may have. If necessary, make concessions. You will not win all the battles, but it is the final victory that is most important.

The second stage is the demand for financing, which is another battle that is potentially just as fiery as the negotiation. You must prepare your file well and know it by heart. Doubt is not allowed – you should see your banker, broker or financier as your partner. He can guide you in all the possible choices. With the low rates available at present, I currently advise clients to take as lengthy a loan as possible. Inflation will help you over time.

If doubt arises, step back, analyse the numbers and come back stronger. There is no failure, only lessons. Even in real estate.

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