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The Art of Negotiation 6

Peter Illingworth of Peter Illingworth Estate Agents highlights two important principles in property negotiation.

Some people are good at negotiating. Some people, it turns out, aren't. Some people hold all the cards and know it. Some people hold weak hands and don't know it. So here are two important elements - prompted by ongoing political events - to think about when negotiating for your next home.

First it is very important that your partner, if you have one, is fully behind you - and all the other members of your family who are old enough to possess rational thought. After all, it wouldn't be good if only, say, 52 per cent of your family supported you and the other 48 per cent didn't. That way almost half of your clan are going to be miserable - which is no way to run a family.

Oh you can tell the naysayers that it will be lovely to live in the isolated location you have chosen - having left all their friends behind; that self-sufficiency will be great and they will soon get used to it. But some family members might still not buy into that. They like it where they are too much. So it is always best to have everyone fully on board with the moving project from the very start.

Second, you should try and get the measure of those with whom you will be negotiating. If they are affable, agreeable and flexible that is great. But if they are the type of people who just don't care if they sell to you or not; display a cynical, take-it-or-leave-it attitude; meet with open contempt all your reasonable attempts to negotiate, and hold out for an inflated price without any hint of being prepared to compromise themselves, then you should be very sure you want to buy because the price you pay will almost certainly be at a premium - including some inevitable loss of self-respect. The experience may well lead to resentment and ill feelings. Dealing with these sorts of people is difficult. Sometimes it proves so difficult the only course of action, it seems, is to walk away from trying to do any sort of deal.

For some, moving out of the place they are in is infinitely better than staying put and even worth putting up with some loss of face. Their home may not fit any more, the neighbours may be driving them mad and they might even feel they have lost some control of their lives. A new start could be just the thing and it might seem worth paying almost any price to achieve it.

But that's the thing with big decisions and negotiations. Not everyone thinks the same and the more the protagonists are prepared to understand that and compromise to some degree the more chance there will be of all round success to suit both sides.

It's complicated. So if you don't want to get involved with all the frustrations of a purchase then hire a good estate agent. That's what they are for. Just don't ask him or her to make everyone in your family happy about your move. That is still your job.