Negotiating Real Estate and the Value of Leaving Some on the Table

By: Reza Afshar

Negotiating Real Estate and the Value of Leaving Some on the Table

Tags: Negotiating Real Estate, Buying a Toronto Condo, Selling a Toronto Condo


I have been selling Toronto Real Estate for close to 20 years and have negotiated almost 1000 real estate transactions. I have been front row centre for selling Toronto Condos, Toronto Homes, Toronto Townhomes, pre-construction condos, Toronto Leases, you name it, I have negotiated and sold it. 

Recently I negotiated a deal on a downtown luxury Toronto condo where money (not physically) was definitely left on the negotiating table. You might ask yourself why would someone in their right mind not want to get the best possible price when buying real estate? Let me explain…

One of my favourite things about working in real estate is the negotiation process. There is definitely an art to it and I love to go in and fight for the best deal for my clients whether they are buying or selling. What I loved about this deal and why I am sharing this with you is that my clients really understood the value of not negotiating every last dollar out of the deal. Many buyers get caught up in this and get hurt in the end.

My clients were financially secure and wanted to purchase a downtown Toronto condo for their own personal use to enjoy for many years to come. Being successful business professionals, my clients were veterans when it came to real estate as they have bought many Toronto condos with me over the past 10 years. It was to my buyers advantage that I knew that the sellers of the unit were being transferred to another city in Canada and were being well compensated through their employment in order to make the move. This meant the sellers’ reason for listing was not a usually case of upgrading or downsizing,  nor was their decision to sell solely based on a final sales number. All these factors meant that there was room to negotiate! 

We went back and forth a few times in the negotiating process working out details such as price, inclusions and closing date. In the final stages I had a feeling that there was still room to get a bit more off the price, however my clients instructed me otherwise and decided to take the sellers last sign back on the offer. Their reasoning for not negotiating further was simple and a lesson that most buyers learn the hard way. 

When negotiating in any transaction, it is important for both parties to be happy when coming to an agreement. My clients felt that they received more than a fair deal and didn’t want to take advantage of the sellers and their need to close quickly to move onto an another city. They also saw the value in keeping the sellers happy so they too would have a good feeling about the overall transaction. 

My buyers hoped that this positive feeling would translate to the sellers leaving the unit in same pristine condition on closing. Now there is no guarantee to this but if the sellers felt like that they had lost in the deal, there is a possibility that the sellers wouldn’t maintain the property properly in the interim closing period nor be careful during the move out process. By trying to get every last dollar, my clients felt they had more to risk than gain.  

If you ever purchased any real estate by power of sale, you will definitely see this lack of regard to the condition of a property. In these cases, the homeowner is being forced from their home and there is no care about the condition or cleanliness of the property upon vacancy. Properties are often left full of garbage and in need of lots of repair. 

I had represented buyers who purchased a home in midtown Toronto. They loved the home but also loved the way the home was put together. They had instructed me to include a few of the furniture items in the offer. Although this is not that unusual and we see it from time to time, the sellers were unhappy about selling a few pieces of their furniture. I always tell my clients to focus on the bigger item as buying a home is much different than buying a sofa. In the end, the sellers reluctantly agreed to include two items that my buyers wanted. The problem that this created was that the sellers had a bitterness towards my buyers. On closing, the sellers did not provide keys, did not clean the home, did not pick up after their dogs in the backyard for months and even took the toilet seats! It caused more headache and stress for my buyers to resolve this issue than going out to buy the two items that were included in the offer. 

Buying and selling a home can be a very emotional process for all parties involved. Don’t get me wrong, I still make sure to negotiate the best deals for my clients and will negotiate to the best of my abilities. In the end I always inform and represent my clients and follow their direction. Years of experience has shown me that a buyer or seller doesn’t always get the best deal when they negotiate till the bitter end. When you have reasonable buyers and sellers, everyone can have a positive experience in the transaction.

For more tips and advice to buying or selling a Toronto condo, please contact Reza Afshar, you downtown Toronto condo expert.