Think of it this way: Your effort to negotiate the best transaction from buyers begins the moment they walk in the door. Before the paperwork is even drawn up and before an offer is on the table, you are subtly giving cues that will allow them to determine an initial offer and to influence their willingness to negotiate.

Recognizing this reality and planning ahead puts you in control and affords you the most power possible in the deal. So before you show your home, before you are faced with questions, consider these important strategies:

1. Depersonalize: Selling your home is a business transaction-one of the most important ones in your life. It could be easy to let emotions, preferences or even memories get in the way of a professional experience. Don’t let this happen.

When a buyer says your custom wall color is disgusting or grimaces at your newly redone ceramic tile, stay calm.  Do all that you can to avoid offending. Although it’s something you’ve put time, effort and love into, remember that now your home is a product you’re selling. Listen to buyers’ concerns without anger and point out your home’s strong points.

2. Build rapport: Buyers today are smart. They know when you’re trying to hide something. So establish trust by being as honest as possible. Answer their questions. When a buyer notices the stained carpeting or the damaged roof, don’t make an excuse. Tell the truth about what happened and state what you can do about it.

3. Consider all offers: Even if you’re offered an amount $10K or more below your asking price, don’t immediately eliminate it. Ask the buyer to explain: Were comparable property prices considered? Does the buyer think there’s a flaw with the home? On what basis was the offer made? Knowing this information will help you decide how to respond.

4. Respond to concerns: Offer to pay for an inspection regarding major issues the buyer perceives, if you haven’t had one conducted already. If there really is damage to the roof or some other major issue, consider reducing your price by a portion of the repair cost.

5. Counteroffer: Using information on comparable properties, the current market and buyer interest on your home, evaluate a fair counteroffer. Reduce your price slightly, making it as attractive to the buyer as you can, and let the buyer know how you arrived at your new price.

Also be sure to understand your leverage in the situation. In a buyers’ market, you have much less leverage because of the great amount of homes for sale.

Compare the variation between your asking price and the buyer’s offer with what you’re currently paying monthly. If your mortgage payment is $2000, for example, it might be worthwhile to accept an offer for $3500 under your asking price, rather than hold onto the property for two more months and pay $4000. On the other hand, if your home is paid off and you are not in a rush for the money, you have more room to wait.

6. Make Concessions: Not only finances are being discussed here. Without compromising too much on your price, you can still offer helpful concessions to the buyer.

Evaluating the buyer’s motivation is a good step. Is there a job transfer causing a fast relocation? Maybe the buyer needs a quick closing. Is this a first-home purchase? Offer to include the window treatments or select other features. Based upon the circumstances, consider these options: cleaning/updating the carpeting, immediately removing the property from the market, and so on. Find out what the buyer needs and see how you can accommodate.