Just as there are different types of homes in different types of communities across different areas of Long Island, so there are different types of personalities when it comes to buying and selling a home. And through his decades in the business, Kevin Leatherman of Leatherman Homes has pretty much seen them all.
“Some people, for example, they price their house and then they get an offer,” Leatherman posits. “Some buyers just give you one offer—that’s what they think it’s worth, and they don’t want to go back and forth—and the seller says, ‘Well, they’re not having any give and take.’ Well, they don’t want to negotiate that way.”
A keen understanding of real estate markets, the fine art of transactions and human nature have allowed Leatherman to develop a unique understanding of the how’s and why’s of the way people approach buying a home. “I say there are three types of buyer personalities when they make an offer,” he offers. And knowing which one you are—or which one you’re dealing with—can go a long way toward a successful negotiation.
BUYER TYPE 1
“There’s The Researcher. The Researcher’s non-emotional, they do their due diligence. They say ‘Mr. and Mrs. Seller, this is what I’m prepared to pay you for your property. If it works for you, it works for me and we can move forward.’ They’re just looking for a thumb’s up or a thumb’s down. They do not want a counteroffer. They’re telling you right up front. And they’re making what they believe is a fair market value offer.”
BUYER TYPE 2
“Then you have somebody who’s like the typical New Yorker. On a house that’s maybe $599,000, they’ll come in with an offer of maybe $15,000 less than what they really want to pay. So if they’re offering $570,000, maybe their top number is $585,000. They just want a little bit of the New York dance and feel like they negotiated something. But at least they’re giving you a reasonable starting point for a negotiation to fine-tune it.”
BUYER TYPE 3
“Then there’s your third type, which I typically find more with first-time home buyers, where possibly they don’t have the maturity of understanding that you have to respect the seller.
“Respect goes two ways, as my father taught me. The sellers should respect the buyers and all the real estate agents by putting the property on the market at a reasonable, rational price based upon a professional’s advice, and the buyer should make offers that reflect the expectation of paying a fair market value.
“But when a buyer lowballs a seller, what they’re doing is they’re antagonizing the seller. The reality, when you take a look at human nature, is a lot of sellers wind up selling their property for a few dollars less—whether it’s 5, 10, 15 thousand dollars less—than what they were thinking, because everyone thinks their stuff is worth more than their neighbor’s. That’s human nature. It’s like, we all get on the scale and think we weigh less than we do—unless you’re just naturally thin.
“So you have to take some of that human nature into account. But what happens is, if a buyer lowballs, the seller only has three choices. They can either be agreeable to move forward, they can give you a counter offer, or they can just decline the offer. And that’s what you don’t want to do as a buyer—if the seller’s declined your offer, all you’ve done is wasted your first round of negotiation and you’ve kind of put the seller not in the right mindset.
“If a seller finds you likeable, and a pleasure to do business with, they may be a little bit more flexible. So if they’re getting $8,000 less than their target, they may say, This buyer’s been nice, they’ve acted in a reasonable and professional manner, they’ve come into my home and they haven’t insulted me or my family or the occupants of our property, they’ve been respectful, they showed up reasonably on time, they haven’t touched things or opened up my refrigerator, with no intent to buy.”
Learn more about Kevin Leatherman and Leatherman Homes at leathermanhomes.com.