Sam Lee is a marketing manager and property consultant at JML Property. JML was established in 1994 and offers Investment Property & Homes. It specializes in managing properties for owners and investors, and providing attractive and comfortable homes for tenants.
Real estate is a people business over anything else. As discussed in last week’s article, during the process of renting, selling or purchasing a property, many different parties with varying objectives can get involved. In a scenario like this, it’s only natural that some expectations become misaligned and frictions occur from time to time.
Throughout the years we have learned and implemented techniques and principles for resolving conflicts and deescalating emotions so that we situation can be approached calmly and logically. These tips can be applied universally, so if you find yourself in a tight spot, try them out!
Move up the communication ladder
The broad use of messaging apps like Whatsapp or Facebook messenger have made our lives much easier for the most part. But it also brings with it the possibility of texts being misunderstood and long blocks of text being left on “read” with two awkward blue ticks staring back at you. If miscommunication happens over text, it is unlikely to be solved over text, especially if there is a language barrier. It is much better to “move up the communication ladder” and pick up the phone to have a chat. Actually hearing the counterparty’s voice can make the situation feel much more human and create empathy. Failing this, the next step of course is to meet face-to-face and chat over a coffee.
Use the ‘Sandwich’
The offer was rejected. The apartment that they really wanted has been taken off the market. The contract cannot be renewed. It is sometimes very difficult to deliver a piece of news that you know the receiver does not want to hear. Instead of simply dumping the bad news on them like a bomb, a good technique is to ‘sandwich’ the negative between two positives. For example, instead of simply sending a text that says “Your offer of HKD 5 million was rejected”, you might say “Good news is that the seller is open to negotiating. Your offer of HKD 5 million was not accepted, but the owner has agreed to extend the closing time to 90 days if we can find a price that works for everybody!”. Although both messages contain the same fact that the apartment can’t be bought at HKD 5 million, the second message is much more ‘digestible’ for most.
Tune in to WIIFM
Although people can be incredibly giving and sympathetic, when it comes to a commercial transaction everyone is tuned into the channel of WIIFM, or “What’s In It For Me?”. It would seem obvious, but this point very often gets missed. For example, on the surface a negotiation between the seller and buyer might look like it’s purely based on price. But a deeper look might reveal that what the buyer wants is not a cheaper price, but a way to save face in front of his wife. If the seller knows this, he might find a creative way to get the price he wants while giving the buyer face.