One very important reason for hiring a real estate agent is to take emotion out of the equation for you when you’re negotiating the terms of a sale. A real estate agent should be knowledgeable, professional, level-headed, and unemotional when communicating with buyers, sellers, and fellow agents. If an agent loses his cool it can really hurt your negotiating position – or worse, cause the deal to completely fall apart.
Tuesday night I received a faxed offer on one of my listings. It was lucky I saw it since it came in at 8:00 p.m. and he didn’t call or e-mail to let me know it was there. After reviewing the offer I sent an e-mail to the agent that thanked him for the offer and expressed concern over things that hadn’t been included with the offer, such as an earnest money check, a lender’s pre-approval, and acknowledgment that the listing is a short sale contingent on 3rd party approval.
The next afternoon I hadn’t heard from the agent but I met with my seller anyway to present the offer. We talked and decided we needed more information from the buyer (the three things I’d mentioned to the agent already) before we could decide whether or not to accept the offer.
I called the buyer’s agent after meeting with my seller. There was no answer so I left a message asking the buyer’s agent to return my call. This was at 4:30 p.m.
A few hours later I still hadn’t heard anything from the buyer’s agent since he sent the offer the night before. I called again and got voice mail but did not leave a message.
The next morning (today) I called the agent again. No answer. It’s very strange for an agent to send an offer and then dodge phone calls and e-mails so I called again after lunch. The offer had come from a male, so when a female answered the phone I asked for the male. I could hear kids yelling in the background. The woman told me she was the guy’s wife and that she could help me because she and her husband work as a team.
I was a little skeptical since she hadn’t written the offer but I went along with it. I asked her if she had gotten my e-mail from the night before with my concerns about the offer. She said she had and that she would be sending the pre-approval over shortly. I asked if that number was the best one to call since she hadn’t returned my phone calls. She said it was. Kids were still screaming in the background.
Next I explained that the sellers preferred not to sign the offer since it was a little low but would be happy to send the offer to the bank for their approval if they would include in the offer that the offer was contingent on the bank’s approval. The woman abruptly interrupted me and started into a lecture about what was fair and not fair for her buyer and then threatened to walk away if my sellers wouldn’t sign the contract.
Her tone of voice and the fact she went on and on without giving me an opportunity to respond and clarify my seller’s position really grated on my nerves to the point that my reflex was to scream back at her or hang up on her – but how would that benefit my client? I took it as long as I could. When I tried to talk she didn’t stop. I had to raise my voice so she could hear me. Then she snapped. IF YOU’RE GOING TO YELL AT ME I’M GOING TO HANG UP!! Wow. I really don’t need this.
As her kids continued to yell in the background I felt like I was one of them. “I don’t know if you’re having a bad day or what, but when you talk to me like I’m one of your toddlers it’s difficult for me to really hear what you’re saying. Could you try to communicate with me like a professional please?” My blood was boiling and my hands were shaking.
Miraculously, she calmed down and we proceeded with a halfway pleasant conversation. She agreed to send me the lender pre-approval and find out how long her clients were willing to wait on the short sale to go through. Secretly I hoped her clients would say they weren’t willing to wait on the bank’s approval. All I could think was, those buyers will never succeed in buying a house as long as that woman is their agent.
A couple hours later I still didn’t have the lender pre-approval from the buyer’s agent. I did have some new information though, so I called her back. Within minutes she was screaming at me again. She thought she knew what I was going to say so she jumped down my throat before I had a chance to complete my first thought. Again I had to endure her tantrum while her kids screamed in the background. Not productive at all.
There’s more, but you get the picture. It’s so important to hire an agent you can trust. Not just with your information, but with their emotions. Your agent is an extension of you. You need someone who can side-step the urge to kick and scream when they are frustrated. Someone smart enough to realize they can’t get you what you want by shutting down and refusing to communicate. You need an agent others will like working with, not someone they will dread working with. Look for a problem solver, someone who does what she says, someone who makes you (and your offer) look good!
Next time you’re selecting a real estate agent, ask yourself: will this person work FOR me, or AGAINST me?