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Real Estate Negotiation 101: How to Talk Turkey When Investing or Renting

By Donna Jones

Unlike everyday retail transactions, the purchase and rental of investment properties features a great deal of negotiation in the search for common ground and agreement. The better informed and the friendlier you are, the further you will get, regardless of which part of the tenancy agreement you sign. But here are a few hot tips to help you stay relaxed and in control during your next real estate wheeling and dealing.

How to rally good relationships as a renter

Because your relationship with your landlord will be an ongoing one, it’s extremely important to build a good relationship with them. You want to be comfortable asking them to tend to any issues with the property, and you want them to hold you in good favour when it comes to extending lease periods.

So be friendly with potential landlords from the get-go. Help them envision you as the model tenant you will of course be. They want more than anything to be confident in your reliability to pay the rent on time and not trash the place, so give them every reason to believe you’re a catch.

Be reasonable when it comes to details like lowering (or at least not raiding) the rent or requesting a new service or amenity. Don’t forget that most landlords are normal people like you and I, and that they aren’t going to be making a fortune out of their investment property, so don’t think your rent money is stuffing their mattress and that they owe you a jacuzzi and infinity pool. If you and your landlord are successful in developing a give-and-take relationship formed on mutual respect, then they are more likely to honour their word and do everything they can to keep you happy in the home.

Keep things personable by chatting with them face-to-face as much as possible, or at least over the phone. Phone calls don’t show as much emotion as in-person discussions, and text messages and emails even less so. There is also the chance that landlords will suspect you don’t trust them enough to discuss anything without having the conversation in writing, perhaps to be used against them later. Face-to-face chats, whether during a scheduled inspection or an organised visit, always allow for better communication and a higher rate of resolve.

How to be an intelligent investor

Getting into the investment property market is a lot different to buying a home that you will live in yourself. As such it requires a lot of research and self-education. You should spend every spare moment reading about what additional cost you need to account for as a landlord, and how to safeguard all parties in the case of a dispute, and keep these in mind when it comes time to negotiate a purchase or a tenancy agreement.

Learning the value of the house you’re going after is a great way to arm yourself with the power of market knowledge. Concentrate on the house’s value, not the listing price, and do some research about house sales on surrounding streets to put yourself in the driver’s seat.

You’ll need to identify the type of market you want to enter – high end apartment, three-bed house in a recently gentrified area, etc. – and go after it with knowledge of fair pricing in that bracket. With your newfound knowledge base, you can afford to be confident and authoritative, but avoid being cocky and respect the fact that you are new in the game and still have a lot to learn

To that end you shouldn’t be afraid to ask questions – to your letting agent, to tenants and to real estate agents dealing with the sale. If they’re anything like the experienced team here at McPherson Property Management, they’ll be full of invaluable advice and direction. You should be asking questions about absolutely anything you don’t understand, and willing to negotiate about anything to do with your investment property: appliances, warranties, tenancy agreements, lawncare contracts, etc.

Good luck with your good-natured negotiations and if you have any questions, our team welcome your contact.

Image: Handshake by Mark Morgan under CC BY 2.0

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