David Jones, director of Allan Morris Estate Agents looks at one of the fundamentally important issues in selling or buying a property – negotiating the deal.

There is currently an awful lot in the news about negotiating. In Europe the Brexit negotiators are sharpening their pencils while on the other side of the Atlantic President Trump would have us believe that he is the best negotiator who ever walked the earth.

In fact selling houses has more to do with negotiating than just about anything else - the better the negotiator you have on your side, the better your chances of getting a decent deal put together – and keeping that deal together. The trouble is most people aren’t particularly comfortable negotiating the purchase and sale of their own homes. That’s why they get someone to act for them - an estate agent.

Negotiators should never be confused with hagglers. Anyone can haggle. Negotiation is a far more difficult art to mkaster. In Brussels there are currently teams of negotiators who are representing opposite sides of the Brexit discussion, but who still need to work together to hopefully reach a compromise deal that will be good for the UK and also good for the EU.

In the end both sides will compromise a little here and a little there. Neither side will end up with all that they want - although each will claim that they have. But both sides will reach a point of being satisfied with what is on offer, and a deal will be struck.

Good negotiators have years of experience during which they learn the tricks of the trade. Whether the negotiation is for world peace, releasing hostages, buying or selling houses or simply debating which film you will go and see with your partner or friend on Saturday night, all negotiations run in roughly the same way – argument, proposal, counter-proposal, understanding the other party’s point of view and then – finally – reaching agreement. We are all good at negotiating to some extent – children perhaps best of all, as they never back down and tears make a good sanction.

But how good are we at negotiating when it’s potentially hundreds of thousands of our own hard earned money at stake? Then it can often get too personal. That’s where many do-it-yourself negotiations break down – over small points of petty principle which prevent both sides from following a clear and dispassionate path to the desired end.

So why is a good estate agent so important? Because he or she will be a skilled negotiator. Without a skilled negotiator an already complicated house selling process can fast become an impossible one. If you think that buying and selling a property is hard when you use an estate agent, just wait until you try to do it without one.