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How Did I Negotiate For My Dream?

The art of negotiation really isn’t as scary or complicated as it first seems. Believe me, I am someone who has never haggled for anything in my life, and my experience with this process of the real estate transaction was actually quite pleasant and rewarding. It helped that I had a highly experienced real estate agent in my corner, but much of it was left up to me. No real estate agent can tell you what you want – they’re there to make sure that you don’t act against your own best interest by doing something like agreeing to waive the home inspection contingency to close a sale sooner. (While there may be some cases in which this is fine – the seller has provided a pre-inspection report from a licensed home inspector, for instance – it is generally not the best idea.) That is why you need someone there who knows the real estate industry and wants to help you negotiate effectively and successfully.

Much of the negotiation process for me did not revolve around the listing price. Compared to what I had seen, what my agent had shown me, and comparable properties that were on the market or recently sold, the seller was asking for a very fair price that was below what I had expected to pay and was well within my budget. Instead, I focused on other aspects of the real estate transaction that were more important to me.

  • I wanted the closing date to be sooner. I had already spent over a year and a half working on my business plan, and I will admit that I was more than a little eager to get it off the ground. To expedite things, I had already gotten full approval for a mortgage before putting in my offer.
  • I wanted the property gutted before I moved in. The property I bought used to be a tailor shop. The seller had anticipated that they would find a buyer who wanted to set up a similar or related business, so they were selling the property with the dressing rooms, mirrors, clothing racks, and all. When I expressed that I would not be needing any of those things, and that it would be more inconvenient for me to have to dispose of them myself, the seller gladly agreed to take those items off my hands. He was able to resell them to someone else he knew who had a tailoring business as well. This worked out perfectly for both of us.
  • The one thing that the seller wanted to take with him, turned out to be the one thing I would have loved to keep – a cute vintage cash register. When he refused to include that in the purchase, I offered to pay additional for it. (That’s how much I adored it.) Unfortunately, that was the register his great grandfather used when he first opened the tailor shop many years ago, and it has been carefully maintained and kept in use by each generation after, so it had great sentimental value.

Always remember that there is more to negotiate than just the price in a real estate transaction. Ask your real estate agent for advice if you are unsure what is off limits.  Hello Bentonville!


How I Found My Real Estate Agent

yay-1963075-digitalI always knew that I wanted to open my used bookstore in the downtown area of Bentonville, Arkansas where historical buildings stand side-by-side with modern condos and lofts. It is a blend of old and new that I’ve always found beautiful and fascinating. To me, it seemed like the perfect setting for a business such as the one that I wanted to open. Of course, being a highly desirable area, it was not easy to come by a property that was for sale within my budget.

I began the search on my own but found myself getting nowhere. It was difficult to stay on top of checking listings, contacting sellers, arranging viewings, and tracking down necessary documents and paperwork, all while also trying to get the details of my business sorted out. I finally decided I needed a trustworthy real estate agent to help me. The agent who sold me my home had little experience with commercial real estate and recommended a colleague of his to help me. I had a positive experience working with him, so I felt optimistic about his recommendation. Surely enough, as soon as I met her, I was confident she would be an invaluable asset to me. She was experienced, knowledgeable, and proactive.

Those who are looking to buy their dream property but don’t know where to start, my advice to you is find a Realtor. If you have not worked with one before or were not satisfied with your previous experience, you can find a good real estate agent by:

  • Asking friends, family, coworkers, or other associates who their real estate agent is and how satisfied they were with the service they received.
  • Searching online for the names of reputable or popular real estate brokerages in your area.
  • Attending open houses and speaking to the real estate agents you meet.

Of course, there are other ways to find real estate agents in your area as well, such as newspaper listings, advertisements in the mail, local magazines, etc. It is important to get to know the agent before signing any type of agreement though. My real estate agent advised me that I could go to a showing with her before making up my mind. Even though I was already fairly positive I would be more than happy to work with her, I decided to take her up on her offer anyways. Buying a real estate property is a large investment, and you want to be absolutely sure you’ve got the right person working to protect your interests. Never rush into a commitment without doing some homework first. It is perfectly acceptable to “interview” the real estate agent about their body of experience, any special designations they might have, or what their recent success stories are. You can also ask for references or contact the real estate board in your state to inquire for more information. The bottom line is, do not pick the first real estate agent whose name pops up on a list. Who you choose will have significant bearing on your overall experience.

The Hunt Is On!

It’s time for me to finally fulfill my dream of opening up my own used bookstore. After retiring from my job of 40 years as an accountant, I started putting my plan into motion. It took two years to draw up a proper business plan and find the perfect little location to set up shop, but I am now only steps away from my grand opening. I can’t even begin to explain how great it feels to take a risk and go after something I feel so passionately about. While I took great satisfaction from being an accountant and enjoyed the challenges and lessons that came with that career path, it is time to embark on a new adventure with something that brings me great joy.

Reading has always been a hobby of mine since I was old enough to sound out words. I continued to make reading a part of my daily routine and habit, bringing a book with me everywhere I went. I would find time to read on the bus, before bed, or during lunch. For me, it was a way to relax and escape from the pressures and stress of everyday life. Through the pages of a book, you could travel to another place and time. You could learn about the life of an inspirational figure or enrich your understanding of a topic. There were so many doors that reading could open to anyone who was willing to pick up a book. I passed on my love of reading to my children, and am now trying to do the same with my grandchildren by reading to them whenever I see them.

I hope to continue spreading an appreciation for books and reading through opening my own used bookstore. To me, it is important not to waste things that still hold value. Many people read a book once and then put it on a shelf to collect dust. Meanwhile, there is someone out there who would love to read that book but may not be able to comfortably afford paying full price for a new copy. My hope is to connect these individuals, and in doing so, better the community I have been a part of for so many years.

The final renovations are being completed on my shop as I write this blog. Soon it will be ready for me to start filling with unique and interesting pre-loved books of all genres. I am grateful to my real estate agent who helped me in my search for a suitable property that met my needs perfectly. I think I would still be searching if it weren’t for her expert guidance and knowledge of the local market. As soon as this property went up for sale, she contacted me to notify me that there was something she thought I would be interested in. According to the seller, after he had accepted my bid, he had at least two more offers come in. If my real estate agent had not been so quick to act, I may easily have missed out. Finding a location was a critical step to fulfilling my dreams so in my next couple of posts, I’d like to go further into detail about that experience.