Ultimatums are a competitive negotiation tactic, and most real estate professionals have encountered them at some point in their careers.  Of the ultimatums in common use, “Take it or leave it,” is by far the most popular.  It is designed to cause discomfort and put the negotiation off balance.  The ultimatum can include a very short deadline or a particularly unreasonable price, and is meant to create a sense of panic through fear of loss.

An experienced negotiator knows how to handle the ultimatum tactic.  Less experienced negotiators may allow the ultimatum to throws them off balance – the desired effect.  The best reaction is often the hardest to summon:  relax.

Countering “take it or leave it” is no different than countering any other highly competitive negotiation tactic.  Start by calmly asking for the basis supporting the ultimatum.  Why is that deadline important?  What data has been used to set that price?  Gather information that will help you determine what is important to the other party, and continue negotiations to find other options that meet both parties’ needs.

It is possible that the other party might stick to the ultimatum and refuse to negotiate further.  IF that happens, and you have tried to be collaborative without success, you might need to issue your own ultimatum or simply walk away.  But WHEN that happens, you will know that you have tried to reach a mutually satisfactory real estate negotiation agreement without resorting to intimidation tactics.