Everybody has seen this “bad cop-good cop” negotiation trick on TV.. More often than not, the tough cop will ruthlessly question the suspect, stopping just short of violence to gain a confession. Then the “bad” cop is called away for some reason and the “good” cop takes over to sweet-talk the suspect into a confession or a plea bargain.

The same negotiation tactic works in real estate negotiations. Often the husband yet lately I’ve experienced the wife, is the “bad cop,” who is tough and not willing to compromise. But the “good cop” is the husband, who is more reasonable, don’t be fooled.

This is how this tactic was used on me. I was interested in buying a “for sale by owner” house from Steve and Debbie. Surprisingly, tough Debbie was the “bad cop” demanding full price and all cash. But Steve was the “good cop” who realized the vacant house was less than perfect and would be difficult to get it sold.

After a few weeks of informal Sunday afternoon open house negotiations, “bad cop” Debbie finally gave in and to my surprise agreed, to a 10 percent down payment with a 90 percent owner financing mortgage which provided comfortable retirement income for both of them for many years.

I recently completed a deal like this in August, and in most cases, I suggest my sellers negotiate 30% down and finance the balance for 20 years with a 3 or 5-year balloon mortgage. With 30% down the buyers have a good amount vested into the purchase and in many cases, it covers all closing costs and puts a little bit into their pockets at closing.

“Good cop” Steve was only too happy to get rid of that house. Debbie and Steve later became good friends and we completed several mutually profitable transactions together.