While many aspects of real estate selling follow understandable patterns, few courses are more difficult to chart than the outcome of individual negotiations. Each negotiating experience is a complex mixture of personalities and real-world considerations such as financing, terms and goods.

Underlying the negotiating process there are common questions which are raised with some frequency. Here are some:

Q. What's the best way to insure a strong negotiating position?

A. Know your alternatives. Before entering serious negotiations compute the cost of as many possible offers and counter-offers as make sense. If you permit settlement in 60 days and not 30, what will be your cost in terms of interest and taxes? If you "chip in" an old washer and dryer you can figure spending $500 on a new set. Did you want to give up $500? Or does your new home already have laundry equipment?

Q. Is it possible to be friendly with the buyers and still make a good deal?A. Yes. As long as your prime motivation is to sell the property and not make friends there is no reason not to be nice. But many sellers feel that if they assume a strong bargaining position the buyers will be offended. This is not likely if you explain your positions with care.

Q. Who has the better bargaining position, the buyer or the seller?

A. It depends on the parties involved and the marketability of the property. But given a reasonably attractive property and evenly-matched buyers and sellers, the seller usually has the advantage of being more familiar with the property.

Q. Is it true that sellers usually give up the value of the broker's commission to gain a sale?

A. Some do and some do not. The value of a commission represents that much more negotiating room for a self-seller. If a house does not move quickly, an owner can always give up part of the commission.