The View From Inside

Two local real-estate agents share their tricks of the trades

October 26, 2012

Brothers Steve, right, and Hans Wydler sell high-end condos and houses in D.C.

Unless you’re Donald Trump, you’re probably not negotiating real-estate deals on a daily basis. Most people buy or sell a home only a handful of times in their lives, and it’s a process that leaves many mystified.

Hans and Steve Wydler, founders of local residential real-estate company Wydler Brothers, hope to change that with their new book “Inside the Sell” (LINX, $22). It arms buyers and sellers with the skills they need to navigate the world of real estate.

Why did you want to expose the unspoken secrets of real estate?

Hans Wydler: It’s hard for clients to know whether they’re getting good service or bad service. Sometimes things that are portrayed as an advantage to the client really are not; they’re intended to benefit the brokers at the clients’ expense.

Like what?

Steve Wydler: The private, exclusive listing. The agent appeals to the seller’s ego, saying, “It’s such a great listing. We only want the cream of the crop. I’ll market it privately.” It sounds appealing, but the seller will never know what could have happened if the listing had been exposed to the entire market.

What are common mistakes that buyers make in a market like this?

HW: A buyer sees a home that’s been on the market for a long time and they think they’re getting a great deal on a house. But there is usually some issue with the house. You’ll find that when it’s your turn to sell, it’s going to be a challenge.

Why do you think buyers and sellers should work with an agent?

SW: We believe that people vastly underestimate the time involved in selling a home and overestimate their skill set in doing so.

What are some negotiating tips?

HW: Don’t talk too much. And try to understand the motivation for the other side. Get as much intelligence on the competition as you possibly can. Are there two offers or five offers? What is the seller’s timing? All of those little things can help give someone an advantage when buying a home.

SW: You can be a tough negotiator in a fair and respectful way. It doesn’t have to be war; it doesn’t have to be emotional. The best transactions are the ones where it’s a hugfest at the closing table.

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