Anger as a Negotiating Tactic

“I never lose my temper — I always know where it is.”
–Senator Ted Stevens (R-Alaska)

Besides generally lower prices and longer market times, another hallmark of today’s housing market can be more strained negotiations between Buyers and Sellers.

Sellers — especially those who bought recently — are often dismayed to hear what their house is likely to fetch. First, their realtor tells them. Then, once the house is listed, prospective Buyers may weigh in with — to be charitable — offers that can discount even more.

Meanwhile, Buyers are worried about selling their own homes, as well as about making a big financial commitment in uncertain economic times. In their eyes, (some) Sellers’ prices reflect stubbornness and denial.

Enter the realtors.

Just as people vary in how emotional they are, so do realtors. An emotional client, represented by an emotional realtor, can be an especially volatile combination.

In my experience, anger can — occasionally — be a strategic tactic in negotiations. When one party overplays their hand, or stakes out a too-aggressive position, the appropriate response sometimes isn’t just “no,” but “Hell, no.”

Well-delivered, such a parry can serve to reassert control, (re)establish boundaries between the parties, etc. The downside of anger is that it can elicit a similar response from the other side, causing things to quickly deteriorate.

So the trick is to use anger without being angry. Once it has served its purpose, it is important to quickly turn down the heat.

About the author

Ross Kaplan has 19+ years experience selling real estate all over the Twin Cities. He is also a 12-time consecutive "Super Real Estate Agent," as determined by Mpls. - St. Paul Magazine and Twin Cities Business Magazine. Prior to becoming a Realtor, Ross was an attorney (corporate law), CPA, and entrepreneur. He holds an economics degree from Stanford.

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