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Sell by Owner

The Give and Take Sell by Owner Negotiation

When you sell by owner, these give and take negotiation strategies, are mainly used when you have the big stuff out of the way.

You and the purchaser have reached the stage, where there is some fine tweaking to be done.

Let's say, you are within a couple thousand dollars on price.

First Things First

Before you try to do these negotiation strategies, concerning a relatively small gap between you and the purchaser when you sell by owner, try to ALWAYS ask this question.

This question is very important and should always be asked at this time. Here it is;

You: Mr. and Mrs. Buyer, Other than the price, is there any other concerns that you have with this purchase agreement? (use your own words of course)

Now, don't say a word, and listen for an answer.

Buyer: Nope, I think that the purchase price is all we need to settle.

Buyer: Yes, I'm sure.

You: Great, let's see what we can do to put this together.

If you are looking for another negotiation technique, select any one of the photo links below.

Angry man giving the thumbs down

The Verbal Offer

Owl with stern look

The No Blink Technique

Hand passing money to another hand over pen and paper

Negotiating the Fine Details

Single right hand reaching to shake hands

Negotiation Techniques Main Page

Gold house logo with red sold sign

Home Page

Why ask the Question?

OK, if you are $2,000.00 apart on price and things are rather locked up there if you settle on the price issue, the buyer may start negotiating on other details.

If you ask the question when you sell by owner, and the purchaser affirms there is no other problem, it is very hard for the purchaser to start trying to negotiate other details and save face.

To be extra cautious in the script above, I added the "Are you sure?" for two reasons.

  • The buyer used the words "I think" suggesting they were uncertain.


  • The "Are you sure" question, should clear up all doubt of further negotiations, on other points.

Make sense? Good.

Scrabble Tiles spelling best deal

The Sell by Owner $2,000.00 Difference

The buyer and you have narrowed everything down to a $2,000.00 difference. What kind of negotiation strategies can you use and still sell by owner?

Here are several ways to handle things.


  • Use the Give and Take, using one of the following, in no particular order of preference.

#1. You: Mr. and Mrs. Buyer, I know you would like to be the owner of this home and we would like for you to live here, so let's save some time and split the difference 50/50. Fair enough?

Now, hold out your hand to shake and close the deal, with each of the buyer(s) Smile, make the change on the paperwork and have everyone initial.

#2. You: Mr. and Mrs. Buyer, We really have no room on the price, but we would be willing to let you have the fridge and stove as part of the deal. Fair enough?

Now, hold out your hand to shake and close the deal. Smile, make the change on the paperwork and have everyone initial.

#3. You: Mr. and Mrs. Buyer, We really have no more room to negotiate the price, but originally on your offer you wanted us to include all the window coverings.

We really wanted to use them in our next home, but let's put them back in the purchase price and put this thing to bed. Fair enough?

Now, hold out your hand to shake and close the deal. Smile, make the change on the paperwork and have everyone initial.

#4. You: Mr. and Mrs. Buyer, We really have no more room on our price, but to sweeten the deal, we would be willing to pay up to $1,000.00 of your closing costs to help you out. Fair enough?

Now, hold out your hand to shake and close the deal. Smile, make the change on the paperwork and have everyone initial.

Great, follow the dialogue and most times, you will have a sell by owner success story to tell.

A Thousand Sell by Owner Different Ways

I can't possibly cover all the different ways you might close a sale when you sell by owner and you are a couple thousand dollars apart on price.

The main points to remember here are:

A Visitor's Comment

Your pages on negotiations. Very interesting! I've learned a lot reading your site tonight.

  • Isolate the negotiations to ONE item. Example: Price.

  • Give something of value to the buyer. Example: Split 50/50, include appliances or window coverings.

  • Use words like Fair enough? or OK? at the end of your counter-offer.

  • Hold out your hand to shake and close the deal. This, by the way, is an assumption close. You are assuming they will agree to your offer. :-)

Hand reaching to receive handshake

More Sell by Owner Give and Take

What negotiation strategies could you use if a buyer suddenly gets cold feet just before signing?

First isolate the problem. Here is an example:

You: John, I noticed you seem to be bothered with something. Would you mind sharing your concern with me?

Buyer: Well Doug, a friend of ours bought a home last year and they had to replace the furnace the first winter. It costs them over $2,500.00. We just don't have that kind of money.

You: Well John, I certainly can appreciate your concern. Thanks for sharing that with me. I'll tell you what.

Why don't we make this offer subject to you having a full inspection by a qualified home inspector of your choice, within the next 5 days?

If you are not totally satisfied with the report, we can either repair any problems that are found such as the furnace or if we don't do the work, you can walk away clear and free. Fair enough?

Now, hold out your hand to shake and close the deal, with each of the buyers that are present. Smile, make the change on the paperwork and have everyone initial.

No real estate agents needed here to sell by owner!

Breaking it Down

When you sell by owner, you can use the dialogue above for any objective the buyer may have. You will notice I followed a sequence, which I will do in point form below.

  • Ask the buyer to share their concern with you.

  • Listen to the answer.

  • Agree with the buyer - I understand how you feel - Thank you for sharing.

  • Offer a solution and an escape plan for the buyer.

  • Fair enough? Now hold out your hand to close.

Sell by Owner Danger

Question: If I offer them an escape clause to walk away, isn't that just giving them an option not to go through with the deal?

Answer: Yes.

OK, that was cruel! Let me let you in on a little secret. It is my belief, that there is no such thing as an air-tight, absolutely enforceable contract when it comes to selling a house.

This I believe to be true whether you are listed with a real estate agent, or if you sell by owner.

I used to actually help write clauses for our real estate board back in Eastern Canada. Wow! What an interesting challenge.

Some clauses were rather straight forward but others... not so much.

One of the most difficult was the home inspection clause. We wrote and re-wrote that one over and over. Run it past the lawyers and rewrite some more.

We finally came to the conclusion that it was impossible to seal that clause up tight, and still be fair to all parties.

Our final advice?: Keep the time period short, and hope for the best! For some ideas on how long to satisfy various clauses, go to Don't be Handcuffed by Time Frames. By the way, unless there was actually a major problem, almost 100% of these contracts closed.

What's that you just asked me?

Yes, I will be covering Forms and Real Estate Clauses on other pages of this web-site. Don't let the real estate agents try to scare you on that one. It's just that. Scare Tactics!

While that concludes this page on negotiation strategies, for those that sell by owner. Rather than bog you down with all kinds of cute negotiation techniques, I wanted to keep it simple.

The negotiation skills covered on this and the previous pages should get you through most situations.

For More Information about Real Estate Negotiations

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