How To Negotiate

By Donna Raskin & Susan Hawthorne

Ready to be incensed? Women pay, on average, 46 percent more for goods and products than men. And part of the reason for this is a woman’s fear of negotiation.

We’re going to give you a generalization here: Most girls are brought up to be nice and smile in the company of strangers (and family and friends), but that really doesn’t work with someone who wants to take your money. And, trust us, when mortgage lenders see a single woman approaching, they don’t feel like they have to take care of you because you’re alone. They know this is about money and nothing else.

So, summon your inner Martha Stewart, Hillary Clinton, or Lynne Cheney, and remember it’s your money that you’re protecting, not your personality. Make the decision within yourself to view the home-buying process as a negotiation even before you start to consider which aspects of your deal you want to change.

Here’s a crash course in the art of negotiation.

Recognize that everything is negotiable. Don’t be afraid to ask questions about the price of everything in the contract, and pay attention to the response. See where there is wiggle room. Sometimes, when confronted, lenders will change rates or prices, but they won’t do it unless you take the initiative to stand up for yourself and ask for what you believe you deserve.

Say what you mean without wavering and don’t ask for permission; instead, ask for what you want.And state it in positive, active terms framed in your needs, not in getting the other party’s approval. In other words, don’t say, “Would it be okay if you told me what a lender’s fee is? I’m not sure I can afford that.” Instead, say something like, “I don’t know what this lender’s fee is, and it seems like something I shouldn’t have to pay. ”This statement puts the other person on the defensive (which is what you want) and establishes who is in charge—you. You are. It’s your money.

Then, play hard ball, but keep the situation win/win, not win/lose. You want the loan, but you also don’t want to give them more of your money than you have to. Explain what you need, back it up with a reason, and then listen to what the other person says.

Remember, the other person might not be a great negotiator (few people are) so feel confident and stay powerful. Don’t assume he (or she) is better at this than you are.

Do your homework and don’t be afraid to show it. Bring this book with you and show the lender what you’ve learned.

Don’t get emotional. Tears will not get you what you want. Neither will yelling. So, when you’re talking to a lender or a seller (or a seller’s agent) don’t tell them your sob story about how you need this home. Just stick with the facts and use logic and rational thinking and discussion to make your points, because if you don’t have a strong case (and your emotions are not a case in this situation) then you won’t get what you want anyway. So you might as well hold your head up high.

Don’t bluff if you can’t afford to lose.

From A Single Woman’s Guide to Real Estate, Copyright ©2006, F+W Publications, Inc. Used by permission of Adams Media, an F+W Publications, Inc. Co. All rights reserved. You can purchase the book in our amazon store by clicking here.