Summary: Putting the terms of the agreement in writing to ensure that both parties are on the same page.
Whenever you and a counterpart reach agreement in a negotiation, you should be the one to put the agreement in writing. This gives you the opportunity to tie down any loose ends.
You agree to lease 4,000 square feet of office space for $4,000 per month. As part of the deal, you agree to sign a two-year lease, and the building owner agrees to give you two months’ free rent. After the handshake, you offer to put the terms in writing. Tying down the loose ends in your favor, you write: Two-year lease commencing May 1, 2013
Price of $4,000 per month for 4,000 square feet, on a gross basis, not triple net (The difference between these small words can add up to hundreds of dollars each month. On a gross rent, the landlord pays all extra costs, such as taxes, garbage removal, cleaning fees, etc.)
Free rent for two months beginning with the May 1 move-in date (Some landlords like to put the free rent in the middle or at the end of the lease.)
If the landlord does not agree with how you have tied up the loose ends in your written agreement, he should immediately write to you, explaining how he thinks the issues should be handled. If he does not respond immediately, he will lose tremendous bargaining power when the two of you reconvene at the negotiating table.
Have you used or encountered this tactic in your negotiations? If so, how’d it go?