Deal Making

Learning to negotiate is critical to investing in real estate. Although this is not a full class on business negotiating, or even a brown-bag lunch seminar, I found this list of tips on negotiating on the Forbes website, and it is helpful. The article, “15 Tactics for Successful Business Negotiations” is by Richard Harroch and was written in 2016. The techniques, or tactics, are worth considering.

It is very likely you will naturally have some negotiating ability or you wouldn’t be in the real estate business. However, your skills may not be evenly distributed, and it is good to reflect on a comprehensive list so you can bring to mind skills that you might need to work on. For example, perhaps you are not shy at all, but you hate paperwork. As you will see from the following list, both of these traits, no fear and paperwork, will have a place in your negotiating tool box.

The 15 tactics include:

Listen and understand the other party’s issues and point of view.

Key: Do not do all the talking.

Be prepared.

Key: Review the business’s website and do Google and LinkedIn searches to learn all you can about the other party, the person you will be negotiating with, past deals, and what you competitors have offered or their pricing.

Keep the negotiations professional and courteous.

Key: “Don’t be an asshole.” Establish a good long-term relationship.

Understand the deal dynamics.

Key: Who has the leverage, time constraints, alternatives available to the other side, who is getting the payment?

Always draft the first version of the agreement.

Key: This lets you frame how the deal would be structured. Balance is key.

Be prepared to play poker.

Key: Know your walkaway price and stick to it. Walkaway if you cannot live with the offer.

Avoid the negotiating by continually conceding.

Key: the other party will learn your tactic and keep producing unreasonable demands, knowing you will concede. The deal will not get done.

Keep in mind that time is the enemy of many deals.

Key: be prompt and turn documents around quickly. Keep the deal moving.

Do not fixate on the deal in front of you and ignore alternatives

Key: Alternatives let the other party know they have competitors.

Do not get hung up on one issue

Key: Set aside hot issue for later so you do not get stuck on it and maybe can think of a creative solution.

Identify who the real decision-maker is.

Key: You cannot get anywhere if the other party cannot say yes or no. If you have the leverage, ask to speak to the person who has the power.

Never accept the first offer.

Key: Counteroffers and some back and forth will most likely lead to both parties being satisfied with the deal.

Ask the right questions.

Key: Do not be afraid to ask questions.

Prepare a Letter of Intent or Term Sheet to reflect your deal.

Key: The letter reflects your view of the key terms of the deal.

Get the help of the best advisors and lawyers.

Key: It is often worth the money to hire an investment baker or real estate attorney in a complicated deal.

As a broker, I can help you make the funding contacts and fill out the applications. But, in the business of real estate investing it is worth your time to learn to negotiate so you are satisfied with the deal you end up with.

To read more from Richard Harroch who is a venture capitalist in the San Francisco area.


The entire article appears at

Pat St. Cin


Austin, Texas


Handshake picture courtesy of EU2016 SK [CC0], via Wikimedia Commons.


2019: The Year of the Learner

I just read an interesting blog called the “Future of Learning” off the Medium blog site by Niklas Göke.

The point of his essay is that learning itself is a skill and the person who can learn how to learn will be “exactly the person an unpredictable world needs.”

He and Emilie Wapnick both suggest that if you can learn to learn across multiple domains, you can then specialize faster when you choose to do so or remain a generalist, standing out against the world of specialists.  So what do they advise?

Don’t change if you are a generalist, don’t narrow your focus to get ahead in your career.

Challenge yourself to grasp concepts of broad variety, like microbiology, auto repair, knitting, and aerospace.

Learn the difference between what is important and what is unimportant and combine many bits of information into a broad picture of the world. (Yuval Noah Harari)

What will the skill of learning get you? Well, if the knowledge you learn in a university education only lasts 5 years and companies rise and fall all around us very quickly, learning to learn will help you become what Emilie Wapnick calls a “Multipotentialite.” These are people who can synthesize ideas, innovate, rapidly learn, stay flexible, stand out from the specialists, and be adaptable.

In an unpredictable world with many complex problems and to much information, being a person who can be receptive to multiple perspectives and hold them in your head all at once, keep an open mind, one that allows new information in and allows the picture of reality to evolve and become coherent will be very valuable in the future.

So in 2019, Let’s all vow to be learners. Keep an open mind, build a real picture in your mind, and invest in it.

books on bookshelves

Photo by Mikes Photos on


Austin, Texas