Negotiation can be the difference between 'for sale' and 'sold.'

Real estate negotiation doesn't have to be scary; it's part of selling a house. But because most people don't make their living buying and selling houses, the whole process from start to finish might be a bit intimidating.

Keep your sanity by going into the whole process better prepared than the average guy. You don't have to take a class. Just learn what to expect and plan how you'll navigate around it.

#1: Go Into the Process Educated

Many fears are rooted in mystery. The great unknown. You might have heard horror stories about real estate negotiation, or you might spend too much time imagining scenarios all on your own. But the best defense against negotiation fears is education.

Your real estate agent is a deep well of knowledge about the whole practice. If she's been an agent long enough, she's probably seen it all. Don't be afraid to ask what to expect in both best-case and worst-case scenarios. The more you know, the less you'll have to fear from the unknown. That said, Bankrate warns against replying too heavily on your agent. She's your agent, not your friend.

#2: Don't Hold out for the Perfect Deal

There is really no such thing as a flawless real estate sale. Things happen. Appraisers miss appointments, flaws in property are discovered, title searches take time, financing falls through, and sometimes people just change their mind.

There are lots of components involved in a real estate transaction, and many of them are handled by different people in different offices at different companies. And because they are interrelated, when one thing goes wrong it can affect something else. Bottom line, no deal is perfect and at least one problem is bound to happen. Take a deep breath and remember that whatever it is, yours is not the first transaction where the problem has popped up.

Real estate negotiation should be fair to both parties.

#3: Try to Remain Flexible

One of the fastest ways to kill an otherwise great sale is by digging in your heels. You want the very best possible deal, but so does the buyer. And that's natural for both sides. But if one party makes all of the rules while the other one has no say, the whole thing is off balance.

Flexibility is what helps some homes sell fast while others languish on the market for weeks and months without a solid deal. It's smart to take the 'bird in the hand' approach. Time Money reminds of a recent luxury real estate deal that almost fell through just because the seller wouldn't include a washer and dryer, even though the buyer had offered $300,00 over the asking price!

Every home sale has the potential for problems; its all in how you weather them.

#4: Be Confident About Walking Away if Necessary

Although flexibility in a deal is important, so is walking away if it's just not right. Real estate negotiation is an important skill, being bullied (or being a bully) isn't ok. Sometimes the smart thing to do is walk away and be glad for it.

When a buyer makes an offer that's too low, you'll obviously decline. But if the whole deal feels sour, try to brace yourself for backing out and waiting for the next offer. Your agent can help you determine whether yours is a normal situation and one that's worth trudging through, or if it's really more trouble than it will be worth in the long run.

Almost anything can happen during the sale of a house. An inspector might find mold that requires remediation. Or maybe a potential buyer finds out that they're expecting a baby, and what was a good house becomes an 'absolute must have' because of its proximity to great schools. Bidding wars usually end well for the seller.

Negotiation isn't necessarily fun, but it is part of selling real estate. Few are the sales where no negotiation takes place at all. So the more than you know, the better prepared you'll be to weather all of it successfully.

At eppraisal, we offer one tool that helps you prepare for selling your house that gives you peace of mind. When you know the estimated value on the front end, you'll have fewer surprises to work through. It's easy to use, and gives you lots of valuable information about your house and the community around you. Click here for your free property valuation today.