3 Things You Do That Hurt Your Real Estate Agent Business
As a real estate agent I’ve done it. You’ve done it. You said something during negotiations that didn’t feel right, but at the moment seemed appropriate, even necessary. You laid down the law without any finesse or respect for the art of negotiation. It made you feel in control and yet, afterwards, you lost all control of the deal. Every veteran agent has done it. It is your job to fight for your client’s best interest, and sometimes fighting for the client’s best interest means finding a middle ground for both parties. Did I get all “Beautiful Mind” on you yet? Not really. I’m not that deep. Here are three things that you do in the best interest of your client that actually kill deals.
1. Over-Negotiate Pricing
The pricing is completely different depending on which side you represent. The seller wants the highest price possible. The buyer, on the other hand, wants the lowest price possible.
I never argue or negotiate pricing with a seller over the phone. If they press me with, “Can you get me X dollars for my home?” my response is always, “I will make note that X dollars is your target list price. Is Friday good or Saturday better?” Prior to your listing consultation you should have emailed or dropped off your pre-listing package with the comparables and listing agreement. Doing this eases the shock, if any, of your suggested list price being different than what they want. During the listing presentation go over the comparables and shut up.
If the seller refuses to be reasonable even after being presented all the facts, there is nothing you can say that will convince them otherwise. Trust me. I’ve engaged in hour long debates over this and all it did was hurt my relationship with that client. Some real estate coaches will tell you not to take the listing. Some real estate coaches will tell you to take an even longer listing period in liue of the overpricing it. I’ve success with both. My point is, it will leave a very sour taste in the mouth of the seller when you try and beat them down with price. Now some of you will argue, you’ll end up beating them down during the listing period anyway so what difference does it make? Touche. But it’s much easier to justify a price reduction after you’ve put in some work and yielded zero results.
Buyers has the polar opposite intention than the seller. They want to pay the lowest price possible. When a buyer lets you know they want to make an offer on a home and you know it’s a low, perhaps even insulting, I’ve heard agents say, “I’m not going to write it up that low.” or “You need to offer more.”
I realize that we are advisers. I get it. We advise them on how to best make an offer that will get accepted, but that doesn’t always mean full price does it? In addition, what does it tell a client when you tell them that you wont write up an offer that low for them? It’s okay to let the buyer know the offer is low. In multiple offer situations it even makes sense to instruct buyers to offer more, but don’t beat them up on it or you may lose a client.
When I do have an offer that is less than the asking price, or perhaps even offensive, I treat the offer like it’s full price. In other words I don’t discount the way I service it or present it. I then call the listing agent and prep them that it is on it’s way. Yes, the listing agent may say that it’s too low, or that I shouldn’t even bother, and that’s when I push my weight and remind them that it is their job to present all offers. If your lowball offer is rejected, it then gives you more authority when you return to your client demonstrating that “their way” didn’t work and that is more convincing then beating them up from the beginning. Capiche?
2. Over-Negotiate Repairs
The second thing that many real estate agents do is over negotiate repairs. This typically happens when you are in escrow, but may also happen during the offer process as well.
When you are submitting an offer on behalf of a buyer you may want to list out all the items that your client wants fixed. On the surface this makes sense as it clarifies certain things prior to us opening escrow. In practice though, it hurts your chances of getting the offer accepted-especially in a multiple offer situation. Remember that a buyer is entitled to a home inspection and after the home inspection is the optimal time to request repairs. Request them too early and you’ll spook the seller. Just my opinion.
Once the home inspection is complete, the buyer has the opportunity to call out any items that the home inspector may have called out. This is where most first time home buyers freak out. This is also where many agents shut down both their buyer and seller accounts.
During any request for repairs it isn’t your job to:
- Tell the seller they are obligated to make the repairs
- Tell the buyer that their repair requests are unreasonable
- Tell the buyer’s agent that the seller won’t make any repairs without presenting their request
I’ve seen deals fall apart because agents don’t know how to mediate and get the buyer and seller to meet it in the middle. I hate when a listing agent tells me, “My seller won’t do any of those repairs. Don’t even ask.” Nothing makes my blood boil more. All that tells me is that that agent doesn’t want to deal with a difficult conversation and so they’d rather avoid it altogether by overstepping their ground and rejecting it which doesn’t represent our fiduciary responsibility to present all activity to our client.
I’ve also seen agents who try to convince their buyers to not even ask for repairs which blows my mind. That’s the whole point of an inspection. Yes. There will be times when the buyer’s requests are completely unreasonable, even crazy, but by you not honoring their request you are demonstrating to them that you aren’t willing to fight for their interest and at least try. Write up their laundry list of repairs. Call the listing agent and prep them. It’s not that hard.
3. As Is Isn’t Always As Is
The third and the last mistake that agents fall prey to is the “As-Is” clause. People seem to think it’s an impenetrable cloak or a Jedi mind field when really it’s not. I can’t tell you how many As-Is contracts are renegotiated once in escrow. It happens all the time.
Many agents will tell their buyers not to bother submitting a request for repairs because they bought the property As-Is. That is the wrong position to take and again, many opt to do this because it takes more effort to renegotiate terms than it does trying to dissuade your client.
Ditto for the listing agents. Don’t tell me that my buyer purchased the property As-Is and that you won’t present my client’s request for repairs. That won’t work with me and you shouldn’t let it work on you. As-Is is only As-Is until terms are renegotiated and terms are renegotiated all the time. Like that one eh? Nice little quote.
So those are the top three things that a lot of real estate agents do that they think makes them look good in front of their clients but in reality, hurting their business. It is your responsibility to represent your clients right but at the same time to find a way to make the deal work to the benefit of both parties. There is a fine line between defending them and finding the balance to make sure the transaction closes, especially if both parties just want to make the deal happen.
Hope you enjoyed this article. If you’ve ever made these mistakes or if you’ve been on the opposite end of these mistakes comment below!