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Basic Rules of Negotiating

If you follow these basic negotiating guidelines, your deal will practically take care of itself:

  • Get everything in writing. Written contracts evolved from the muck and mire of legal quicksand because people have lousy memories. If you want your deal to be enforceable in a court of law, put all the terms in writing. Make a habit of writing short, dated MFRs (Memos For Record) of important conversations (such as, "June 2 -- buyers' agent said that they'll have loan approval by Friday," "June 12 -- buyers asked to extend closing one week," and so on).
  • Make sure that deadlines are met. Real estate contracts are filled with deadlines for everything from contingency removals and deposit increases to the ultimate deadline, your closing. Failure to meet each and every deadline can have dreadful consequences. Your deal may fall apart -- you may even end up in a lawsuit. However, most deadlines are remarkably flexible. They can usually be lengthened or shortened by negotiation if the need for revision is properly explained and handled promptly with adequate lead time.