Oreo Cookie of Negotiations

by Karen Briscoe
September 2, 2016

The Oreo is the top-selling cookie in the 20thcentury and a classic sweet treat in American homes. As many students return to school in the fall, I think of all the cookies packed in lunch boxes. There too is a real estate message in this popular sandwich cookie.

First, let’s recall the construction of an Oreocookie. It is two, typically chocolate, circle shaped cookies with a cream filling “sandwiched” between these two cookie pieces.

In negotiations, think of the seller as one of the cookies and the buyer as the other cookie.  What is sandwiched in between these two entities is the “sweet spot”.  No doubt, finding the sweet spot is the desire of many Oreo cookie lovers. It is also the objective of a strong contract negotiator.

The intention of the process is to find the common ground in between. It works best when the agent(s) connect the parties based on the unity on what people care about. The agent(s) are in the middle, literally in the sweet spot between the two positions. In this space she will be most successful when the focus is on shared outcomes, on how the parties can come together. Uncover the objectives of each party and come up with solutions on how they can best be achieved.

By way of example, the seller may focus on the settlement date in order to have funds available so they can purchase their next home. The buyer who is renting month-to-month has more flexibility on the actual move-in date yet wants the seller to complete work prior to settlement so that they can move right in to the home. In this scenario a sweet spot solution could be for the seller to complete the work prior to settlement and then reside in the home by use of a Post Settlement Occupancy Agreement, paying the buyer a fair rate for the time remaining after closing.

It has been said that when the seller believes that they have “given their house away” and the buyer is concerned that they “paid too much” – that is in effect market value. In the Oreo analogy, both parties have pushed themselves to their outer limits – outside the edge of the cookie into the cream, then that is when the sweet spot of negotiations has occurred. Success is achieved with the coming together of all of the parties in the deal!

Karen Briscoe and Lizzy Conroy and their team HBC Group at Keller Williams are active and experienced Realtors® in the Northern Virginia, suburban Maryland and Washington, DC market place.  They would be delighted to assist whether selling or buying a home.  Please contact via the means most convenient for you:  www.HBCGroupKW.com, 703-734-0192, Homes@HBCGroupKW.com.

Karen Briscoe is Principal of the Huckaby Briscoe Conroy Group (HBC) and author of "Real Estate Success in 5 Minutes a Day". She is an Associate Broker in Virginia, a Certified Luxury Home Market Specialist, and a member of the Women’s Council of Realtors. Karen began her real estate career developing residential lots with the Trammel Crow Company in Dallas, and in commercial real estate with The Staubach Company in the Washington, DC Metro area. Karen has a Masters Degree from Southern Methodist University and her BA from Stephens College in Columbia, Missouri – her hometown.
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