Negotiating has gotten a bad rap. Ask virtually anyone—aside from those who professionally make their living negotiating—what they think of when they hear the word “negotiating” and you will get answers like: “Adversarial,” “A battle—be careful.” “Negotiating is only for the hard nosed, tough-minded person.”

I  recall a time when I was selling my home in Pacific Palisades, California, because I had left the faculty at UCLA to join the faculty at Caltech in Pasadena.

A couple had come over to the home on three separate occasions to consider buying the property. The last time they called, I told them I had just reduced the price to $32,000, considerably under the market value (you can imagine how many years ago that was!), for a quick sale if they wanted it. If not, I would rent it out.

The husband with his wife returned to see the house again. They wanted the house. Then the husband in a somewhat condescending tone (or at least that is the way I interpreted it) said to me, “Okay—I will give you $29,000 for the house.” I remarked that he and I knew that $32,000 was  basically a steal. The house was his if he wanted it. If not, he was out of there and I would rent it.

He responded, “Okay, $29,500.” I said, “You are out of here.”

After having rented the home for several  years, I decided to sell it. It sold for just under 20 times that $32,000 that I had asked some years before. I can only imagine what the home  might bring in today’s market where just a small vacant lot, if available, in Pacific Palisade is well over a  $1,000,000. (Yes even in today’s  “disrupted ” real estate market.)

I write this not to try to impress you but to impress upon you that you don’t have to always get the “best buy” by continually trying to knock down the price and terms. If it is a good deal and you want it- take it.

Negotiating is not war; it is not about beating the other person. It

is about crafting an exchange that benefits all parties to the transaction.

Key points:

• It is as important to know when and when not to negotiate, as

it is to know how to negotiate.

• Just because you can negotiate doesn’t mean that you necessarily

should negotiate. Why? Because negotiating often takes

significant time, energy, planning, and execution. Be selective.

• Reserve negotiating for those occasions where the possible

payback in terms of money, satisfaction, and process is commensurate with the potential rewards of that negotiation.