We were fortunate to get a couple of offers. Hearing feedback from our neighbors and realtors, we learned that one couple with young children really loved our home, especially the trampoline in the backyard!
As we responded to the offers, we made it clear to the realtor that we really wanted the family with the young children to have the house. Our children, now in college, were a similar age when we first bought the house. The neighborhood was a great place to raise kids, and we thought it would be nice to complete the circle.
And that’s when the trouble started. Our counteroffer made it clear that we were negotiating in good faith, trying to meet the couple in the middle. Except they didn’t see it that way. They stood their ground, forgoing the traditional compromise approach to pursue a “we win, you lose” stance.
As the emotionally charged seller, I can confirm that this tactic did not go over well.
The disconnect was that we were selling a home full of memories that we wanted to pass along to another young family. As the buyers, they were just making a purchase decision at the best price possible. It was a just transaction to them, one that they wanted to get at their price.
And with that strategy, they took out all the goodwill. In this case, it may have been worth more than they saved.
For example, the family was moving to the area from out of town. We’ve lived in the area for 30 years, 14 years in our current location. There are things that would have been helpful to know about our home, our neighborhood and our community. Insights from a resident on teachers, coaches, neighbors are usually helpful to someone new to an area.
Because they changed the rules of the game, we conveyed none of that info to them. The relationship had been killed.
Think about that when you’re negotiating a business deal. Deals are made between humans, so emotions are involved. In the end, you may get your price — but at what cost? What goodwill may have been lost? What could the seller tell you that could help with implementation, use of the product/service, etc.?
The secret to a good deal is that both parties feel like they gave up something, but that they also got something in return. You may feel good about the short-term gain — but by making the other party the “loser,” it might cost you in the long run.