Don’t be afraid to ask for too much
by James Miller
As I was sitting in small claims court last Monday. As I waited for my turn to try to get a judgment against an Ex-tenant, I watched as an old man in an electric wheelchair argued his case against the tenants he was evicting.
His tenants were trying to use some claim of water damage against getting evicted and judgment for past due rent. They failed on both accounts. After this the landlord asked to add in court costs as part of the judgment. This is a standard request, which he was granted.
The elderly landlord then asked for the most audacious thing.
He claimed that by the tenants not paying their rent, it forced him to have to refinance with the bank, causing him to incur $1700 in refinance costs. He asked that the $1700 be added as damages to the judgment.
I smiled at his bold attempt to stick it to them and waited to hear how the judge would deny this crazy request.
Instead, the judge said that it was an unique and novel idea, and that he would hold it over for a hearing.
What this means is that instead of denying the claim, the Judge was actually considering it.
Now I really don’t think this damage claim will end up having much traction in court. If the old guy was running things that tight, it is hard to say that the tenants missing a rent payment or two, was the defining event that pulled him over the edge.
I think he will have his work cut out for him if he tries to draw a direct correlation between having to refinance and not getting in rent payments.
It seems that would be akin to getting fired for being late, and then trying to sue the driver of your carpool for lost wages. While he may not have contributed to your situation, there were surely some mistakes you made before he came along.
I sat in amazement in that courtroom, not only at the old guys creativeness, but that I had never even thought to ask for so much in court. I realized that we all tend to ask for what we feel is owed to us, or what we deserve, but no more than that.
I think that it is human nature to ask for what we think is “fair”.
My contention is that in asking for only what we deem as “fair” we are shortchanging ourselves. What we think is fair may be an unbelievable deal for the other side.
I am going to start asking for things that I think I consider unfair, but in my favor.
I don’t think that there is anything unethical with this as the person on the other end of the conversation has a choice whether they will say “yes” or “no”.
I may start asking if I can get a free desert with my dinner order, or a discount on the clearly priced toilet paper.
I may even suggest to my neighbor that they shovel the snow out of my driveway for me.
Who knows what I might get taken up on.
Ok, I might be taking things a bit far, but this does apply to Real Estate.
You can make thousands of dollars more from a deal just by asking for “too much”.
It reminds me of the popular Real Estate saying when making offers to purchase:
“If you are not embarrassed by your offer, you are offering too much.”
By just moving your lips, you have the potential to make more money than you can from all of those late night hours of swinging a hammer at the “fix and flip” house.
Here are the questions I like to ask the most when dealing with sellers:
1) Are you willing to sell it for what you owe?
2) Is that the best you can do?
3) Can you do any better in price if I agree to (close quickly, let you take the appliances, etc.)
4) Are you willing to bring money to the closing table to sell this house?
5) I need to include your (boat, truck, car) as part of the deal, are you ok with that?
Try Asking for what feels like “too much”. I can’t promise you will get it.
I can only assure you that you won’t get what you never ask for.