4 mistakes you can make while negotiating with Spaniards about accommodation
Negotiating with Japanese, Chinese or Germans is very different from negotiating with British or Dutch. The same applies to negotiating with Spaniards.
In a conversation with Hersilia Valle Gross, she pointed four mistakes expats typically make when visiting accommodation.
Hersilia is Spanish and she lives in Madrid. Since 2000 she and her husband run the company Gross-Spain. They are specialized in finding accommodation for mainly German expats who would like to settle in Madrid. Being married to a German, Hersilia is well aware of the differences between the German and Spanish culture. As she and her clients visit apartments on a daily basis ánd because she is Spanish, she knows exactly how to negotiate with Spanish landlords.
She indicates that four mistakes are easily made while negotiating with Spaniards:
1. Don't run down the accommodation you visit in order to lower the price
You may find some disadvantages or defects and you think this is a reason to lower the price. Spaniards don't like this at all. It is an offense to lower the price because of the so-called defects. Negotiating on the price is possible (it depends on the price) but be careful while doing so. In any case don't do it by listing all the disadvantages. There is a good chance that the landlord is not prepared to do business with you at all.
2. Don't jump into doing business right away: a relationship of trust has to be created
For Spaniards it is important to build up a relationship of trust with each other. They do so by asking about where you live, to which school your children go, where you and your partner work and more of these things.
Background and family are very important for Spaniards. Is your family wealthy, of certain origin or did you study and are you more a self-built person? The fact that you have a title, a master, that you are a professor or a doctor and what you are doing in your working life is less relevant while negotiating with Spaniards.
Accept this way of having a conversation and talk about your background if it is asked for. Don't try to do business from the very first moment. If you cooperate, you will soon build up a relationship of trust and that will benefit the negotiations.
3. Don't wear shorts during your appointment
It sounds obvious, but in the height of Summer, if the temperature reaches the 40°C, it can be so hot that many expats give in and arrive in shorts. Of course, it is comfortable, light and cool wearing shorts, a polo and sport shoes during a visit. Don't do it!! Very often Hersilia experiences that expats come to a visit covered in sweat and wearing shorts. By doing so, you may endanger your negotiating position. Spaniards appreciate a well-dressed person enormously. So, wear decent clothes: a tie is not required but try to wear a suit with a skirt Generally speaking, Spaniards really appreciate classical business garments. And leaving a good impression on your potential future landlord is a welcome bonus!
4. Does use the “usted” form if the landlord uses the “tú” form and reverse
Before starting negotiations, it is important to discuss certain private subjects. Be aware if the landlord uses the more formal “usted” or the informal “tú”. Just like in other languages (in English it is a little bit more complicated, but in other languages not) in Spanish “usted” is used for people older in age and/or if a certain distance exists between two persons. But “tú” will be used as well, also if people don't know each other. If a Spaniard approaches you with “tú”, it is important that you reply with “tú”. If you don't do so, you will create a distance in the negotiations.
If you will pay attention to these aspects, you can count on a more cooperative attitude of the Spaniards. And you may make an excellent deal for your future place to live.
© Quilantro, Lilian Hermans