Negotiating Basics for Real Estate Professionals

By Ann Heinz, JD, CDEI, GSI
Feb 24, 2023
Negotiating basics for real estate professionals

While much of the real estate industry is focused on location, design, buying and selling, people are its heart. A large part of your success will depend on how you navigate different perspectives and expectations.

Strong negotiation skills improve your ability to understand and connect with your clients. Below are some essential real estate negotiating tips for connecting with a client and closing the sale.

Essential Negotiating Basics for Real Estate Professionals:

  • Express Empathy Toward the Buyer or Seller
  • Being Prompt Means Being Respectful
  • Different Approaches for Different Personalities
  • Understand Cultural Differences

Express Empathy Toward the Buyer or Seller


Fifty percent of home buyers say the process left them in tears, according to a recent Zillow survey. Expressing your understanding of just how stressful home buying or selling can be for your client may alleviate some of their worries. During this stressful time, a client may look to their real estate agent for support.

Sharing your experience or expertise can help clients define or contextualize their feelings. This also helps build trust and rapport. Clients will appreciate you empathizing with them and may open up about their concerns as a result, when they may have otherwise remained guarded.

Sensing and addressing how a client is feeling, then speaking to or appeasing those feelings, can make discussions more productive and negotiation more effective. Affirming and encouraging language to express your understanding, combined with active listening, can help alleviate a client's stress and allow you both to get down to business.

Being Prompt Means Being Respectful

Vince Lombardi, the legendary NFL coach after whom the Super Bowl trophy is named, told his teams being early is on time and being on time is late.

The on-the-go nature of a real estate professional’s day creates a unique challenge: mastering time management. Since you typically schedule your own appointments and often work remotely, there is a burden of responsibility lurking in this freedom.

Some appointments run longer than you anticipated. Others are quick. Not to mention paperwork and preparation. Juggling these appointments and tasks is not just about being professional, but about being respectful. After all, as a real estate professional, you’re after a connection with another person.

If scheduling becomes a problem, consider hiring more support staff. With support in place, you can clearly communicate with clients without rushing them to make your next meeting.

It also helps to announce just how long you have at the beginning of a meeting if one is running long and you need to step away. This clearly announces certain expectations for both parties regarding how long a meeting ought to run.

Different Approaches for Different Personalities

The more you work in real estate, the more people you meet, each with different personalities. Successful negotiations often depend on how well you understand and work with different types of people.

Some may want to explain your job to you, while others may be timid and require some encouragement. Say you’re dealing with a family or a couple who disagrees in a heated argument about what they want—they may expect you to mediate given your expertise!

Learning about some basic conflict resolution tips and the different personality types can help you gracefully iron out any disagreements and move forward.

Understanding Cultural Differences

You must also understand cultural differences, which is especially important if you live in a diverse area.

Take some time to learn customs of the various cultural communities in your local real estate market. Some cultures have different greetings, while others will only conduct business on certain days of the week. If you’re unaware, this could create tension between you and your client.

Above all, be willing to listen and accommodate. Be sincerely empathetic. When your clients express cultural or religious needs relating to a house—a kosher kitchen, for example—do your research first, then do your best to find what they're looking for.

The psychology of real estate is its own dedicated field of study, but putting these basic tenants of real estate negotiation into practice will equip you to make a strong connection with every client.