Are you ready to ditch all the patriarchal bullshit around negotiation? I’ve navigated the BS and redefined myself as a negotiator, in real estate and everyday life, throughout my career. Hell — this shaped my philosophy as a realtor. Imagine life if blunt threats and aggressive tactics weren’t normal negotiation tactics used to get what you want; respect should come first — always — when trying to find agreements between two parties.
Negotiation isn’t a race, there aren’t winners and losers. The kind of patriarchal “negotiation” that we see in real estate isn’t necessarily negotiation, it’s more to bully and win at any expense. This doesn’t really benefit society at the end of the day.
As a realtor, my success has been built on smart, collaborative negotiation. So, if you want to see this in action, read on, and I’ll tell you about my approach to finding common ground and getting everyone a good deal. Plus, an inside look at the “hidden” item I always negotiate for to ensure everyone is happy.
If you’re new here, I’m Lauren Goché — a Portland realtor with a decade of experience backing me up. Which means I’ve weathered more than a few market shifts over the course of my career, and specialize in making sure you can make the most of the market for your goals. Read more about me here.
A Lil’ Background on Me
Some time ago, a potential client told me I must be a “bulldog at negotiation”. I understand where they got that idea from — I have a blunt personality, which I attribute to being raised by a commercial fishing family and being jewish. However, the assumption that I spearhead negotiation with “bulldog” agro energy couldn’t be further from the truth.
My pops was talking about politics one day and said, “when did compromise become a dirty word?” Those words have stuck with me, guiding me through my career development and personal relationships. I believe in finding mutually beneficial solutions that value everyone’s interests equally. That’s the kind of negotiator I am as a realtor, and that’s how I get the best results for my clients.
How We’re Taught to Negotiate is BULL
Cutting to the chase. The term “bulldog,” and so many other descriptors for effective, efficient negotiation, are rooted in the patriarchy. We’re taught that the only way you can be a good negotiator is by verbally eviscerating the other party — I’m just not having it.
My experience as a realtor has let me to understand that the opposite is true. You can be a great negotiator by collaborating, finding a mutually beneficial solution, and still have everyone walk away satisfied in the outcome. In a negotiation — especially in real estate where money and individual livelihoods are concerned — it’s unreasonable to claim all parties will leave the conversation thrilled. If this was the case, there would be no need for a negotiation in the first place. I walk into every negotiation, ready to carry out a respectful discussion, considering each party’s needs, and devising a fair compromise, while still strongly advocating for my clients. Looking at you, Dad!
And the worst kind of negotiation… Going silent. I’ve encountered and observed negotiators — realtors and beyond — whose first instinct is to go silent, avoiding the issues at hand. Clearly, that’s not good negotiation.
I Bridge The Gap with The Other Side
I don’t go silent — ever (lolz, I know). I want to read between the lines and understand the other side’s wants, needs, and personal circumstances in-depth to figure out what they really want from this situation. It could be something financial, lack of emotional support, or anything else that’s causing their distress.
For example: Someone trying to sell a house after 2 years? Could mean they’re not making enough money for bigger repairs required by buyers; maybe even family issues like a divorce or an unexpected move is stressing them out.
Why I Take the Collaborative Approach
My definition of a collaborative negotiator is someone who understands the other side and wants everybody to walk away feeling confident. I don’t walk into negotiation ever with the intention to attack the opposite party. I always advocate for my clients’ best interest first, in a collaborative, respectful way that benefits us all!
Negotiation isn’t a one-and-done deal. It happens throughout the buying and selling process. From the…
1) initial offer
2) inspection period & repairs
3) possible low appraisal
… There are so many times to go back to the table during a sale. I do my best to make sure both my clients and the other side feels respected and genuinely listened to, which also allows me to read between the loans on pain points — and this usually has a positive ripple effect on all other points of negotiation.
I Want You to Give Me The FULL Picture
As your realtor, I need you to give me alllllll the info, so I can look at things holistically and make sure I’m giving you the best advice possible.
For example: I had a client that was a few months pregnant, and I didn’t find out until well after I started looking for homes. THAT is the exact kind of thing I need to know — Now I understand the client’s timeline and can advise her on the purchase. I’ll know we need to have 2 bedrooms and a bathroom on the same floor, so they’re not in the middle of the night walking up and down stairs in a sleep-deprived haze and falling down the stairs and breaking an ankle…
Having the whole story also comes in handy when it’s time for negotiation. If I can make you appear like a real human being to the other party, they’re usually more willing to see eye-to-eye, all while protecting your interests.
My Favorite Moments…
The most heart-warming moments brought about by collaborative negotiation are when everybody walks away feeling fairly treated instead of screwed over.
Each time I witness buyers walk into their new home to find a note and a bottle of wine gifted from the sellers… Only for years later the buyers contact them over a long-lost box of photos left over.
THAT never gets old. This kind of connection is one of the reasons why I love being a realtor, and why I believe in collaborative negotiation.
Bonus: My “Hidden” Addition to Negotiations
Now it’s time to reveal my secret to sweetening any deal…
I ask sellers to pay a 1-year home warranty for my buyers! As we all know, anything that can go wrong usually does in year one — whether it’s an unexpected problem with your HVAC system or your water heater gives up its water heating ways. With this kind of insurance though, no need to worry because if disaster strikes they just give ’em a call and most likely they will get everything sorted out quickly at the cost of a service call. This ALWAYS leaves everybody feeling a bit more trustworthy of each other.
The Bottom Line
When it comes to negotiation, it pays in the long run to take a collaborative approach. Going for the win-win solution not only benefits both sides, but it also leaves everyone feeling respected and heard. That’s why I advocate to approach negotiations with the big picture in mind, and a generous helping of empathy. After all, what’s the point of walking away with a great deal if you leave with an empty feeling?
So if you want a realtor that’s just going to obliterate their way into getting what you want — I’m not your gal! But if you want someone who will find your dream home and facilitate a firm and fair negotiation, then ya found her! Get in touch with me here