Of all the negotiation skills that you can learn in buying real estate, none is stronger then “bonding” – and none is easier to learn and master. Effectively, “bonding” is nothing more than becoming friends with the seller. If you can make friends, than you can be a master at “bonding”.
Great things happen when the seller likes you
I have done five “zero-down” deals. I have done a ton of “seller-financed” ones. I have had a seller drop their price by 50%, and I have had sellers renegotiate hundreds of thousands of dollars off the bottom line. In all cases, what created these opportunities was that the seller liked me. As a result, they wanted to make their deal special, to give me a great opportunity. And they worked with me when problems came up during due diligence. When the seller likes you, fantastic doors open.
Money isn’t everything when you get older
While you probably have many things you’d like to buy yourself and your family, picture yourself at 80 years old. Do you really want a boat? To travel? Or do you just want to help people and have fun? When you approach the end of your life, your priorities change dramatically. There has to be a higher purpose to life and your actions. And that higher purpose, in real estate, is often just trying to help people you like to succeed. I have seen properties sell to the low bidder. I once saw a seller virtually give a $500,000 property to someone they liked for $10,000. It all revolves around bonding.
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Spending time with the seller can create big dividends
So if we all agree that bonding is hugely important, how do you do it? The answer is that bonding is a direct result of spending time with your seller. It can be in person, or by phone. But it revolves around being a good listener. You strike up a conversation, and then let the seller take that catalyst wherever he or she wants to go.
The magic question that creates bonding
I have found that the most successful question to create bonding is “so how did you come to own this property”? That question triggers an answer that typically begins with the seller’s childhood, and works its way up to their college, early adulthood, day job, and then 1001 stories regarding the property itself. I’ve started with that question, and then listened for an entire day. And the great part about bonding is that you also learn a huge deal about the property and its strengths and weaknesses – virtually a mini-due diligence fixture.
If you want great real estate deals, don’t run down and buy a book by Donald Trump. Don’t watch an episode of Shark Tank. Instead, focus on bonding with your seller. You’ll be amazed at the dividends it will create.