Don't sweat the big deal: Jo Chivers

Don't sweat the big deal: Jo Chivers
Don't sweat the big deal: Jo Chivers

It's hot, I'm sweating and in the middle of cutting a very good deal. 

This time it's not with a vendor or real estate agent  - I'm not buying a development site - but the negotiation is fierce and taking place with a Thai business woman who owns the stall where I'm buying a much wanted ornament.

I'm on holiday in Thailand with the kids and a trip to the local markets has reminded me of how important it is to negotiate in the correct way to get the best deal. I'm also trying to train up my sons in the practice of negotiation. 

Here everything is up for negotiation. I'm using my proven formula that works not only when I am shopping in Thailand but  also when I'm making offers on development sites and negotiating with builder's, consultants and tradespeople. 

I'd set my sights on a pair of wooden, silver plated elephant ornaments (I know, customs will have a field day with these!).

I'd shopped around and knew what I wanted to pay (completed my due diligence).  I'd asked a few questions about how her day was, what her name is and if this may be her first 'morning' sale. The last question is key as if so, it will bring her luck for the rest of the day (so I'd gathered intelligence and established a relationship). 

Rather than make an outlandishly low offer which I know would insult the Thai sales lady, I politely make my offer with a wide smile on my face but with serious eyes. The offer is a bit under half of what she's quoted. I back it up with a few good reasons. "I saw this one for sale down there for less" or "this one is not as big as the one they are selling there".  After some fun interchanges and much tapping of numbers on an old calculator back and forth, we came to a mutually suitable price and everyone was happy. I have my silver plated elephants and she has a good price. 

I use similar techniques when making offers on properties. At Property Bloom we study the market to establish what the property should be worth, we look at its last sale price and find several comparable property sales to back up our offer.  

Understanding the unique benefits of a property will help you put a value on it. For us, the value lies mostly in the land, it's location and what's under it, not what's on top of it. 

Property Bloom has established relationships with agents and they know our clients are serious buyers that won't muck them around. Our clients have their finance preapprovals in place and can move quickly to secure a property if the numbers stack up and we know it will make a great development site. We'll ask questions about why the property is selling and what the vendor expectations are.  

But there in one major negotiation tactic that always comes into play. It's making sure there is something in the deal for everyone. 

If the vendor is making something from selling and our client is set to make something much more from developing, and if there's a bit for the agent or the person who has referred us, then we can cut a good deal. 

Usually these types of negotiations involve much less  sweat than the ones done in Thailand.

As I start to leave the stall hugging my silver plated elephants, I hear the Thai lady sing 'kob koon Ka' (thank you) as she waves me good bye and adds,' you come back soon?' confirming that she'd like to do more business with me. The same goes for our property deals, we'll always be back for more if the numbers stack up and there's something in it for everyone. 

Jo Chivers is chief executive officer of property development project managers Property Bloom. 

Jo Chivers

Jo Chivers

Jo Chivers is director of Property Bloom, which manages property development.

Tags: 
Development Negotiaton

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