On Nice People.

Real Estate Broker/Owner with J. Philip Faranda (J. Philip R.E. LLC) Westchester County NY License # 49FA1074963

Nice dogI like nice people. You probably like nice people too. Nice people are...nice. Given the choice, I prefer to do business with nice folks. Especially here in rushed, rude, New York and occasionally aristocratic Westchester County, nice people are such a breath of fresh air. Of course, in business, being nice isn't enough. People want to get from point A to point B, and if all they get is nice with no result, they get frustrated. 

For example: You might have had the experience of dining in a well-known bistro and been greeted by a cheerful, perky, awesomely-flared server who was wicked nice. They were really super neato charming. They ask all about you and you learn all about them, and, sometimes, you might feel a slight urge to stuff the center table ornament in their mouth and tell them to go get your food. 

That doesn't make you a bad person. It makes you "hungry."

In my bartending days back in the Mesozoic era, people would come in and enjoy my company greatly. However, they only enjoyed my wit and charm after I made them "not thirsty." Then we'd be nice together until Ted Koppel came on the TV. Of course, throughout the process, I made sure their glasses were full.

Here's the real estate lesson. Recently, one of my clients was fortunate enough to get an offer on his property on a Friday. We had quite a few showings scheduled for the weekend, and the buyer graciously agreed to wait until Monday for us to evaluate any other interest that might arise until Monday. We received another offer on Monday. The second offer was informed of a competing offer on the table, yet their offer was significantly lower than the first. Even though they knew they had competition, they still made an uncompetitive bid. 

When my client and I discussed the merits of the two offers and it was clear that the second offer would not get the nod, he expressed sorrow for the losing bidders. "They were such nice people," he said.

I told him they could have been $35,000 nicer. In business, nice may get your foot in the door. But if you don't deliver, nice is not enough. 


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Carla Muss-Jacobs, Principal Broker (503) 810-7192
BuyersAgentPortland.com | Portland Metro Exclusive Buyers Agent | 100% Buyer Representation ~ 100% of the Time - Portland, OR
Buyer Focused ~ Buyer Results

I didn't know where you were going with this post until I read the end.  Yup, nice people are nice, but they may not be nice enough.  ;-)

Nov 02, 2011 05:09 PM #35
Larry Story
Total Care Realty - Greensboro, NC
Total Care Realty, LLC, Greensboro, NC Real Estate


You are so right.  Nice only goes so far there is a time when the rubber needs to hit the road and without the cash no offer goes very far.

Nov 02, 2011 05:55 PM #36
Not a real person
San Diego, CA

Congratulations on being the only serial featured poster from yesterday!

I'm always confused when I read posts like this. Here's why: You said that the "second offer was informed of a competing offer on the table yet their offer was significantly lower than the first. Even though they knew they had competition, they still made an uncompetitive bid."

My question would be, "How are they supposed to know what is competitive and what is not?"

I'm presuming that you didn't tell them the dollar amount of the first offer because I think that would be against the Realtor Code of Ethics, to give away information like that.

So what is someone supposed to do just because there is a competitive offer? Could it not be possible that the first offer just might be lower than the second offer?

If one's intent in saying that there is a competing offer is to hope that the second offer is higher, well, it is, after all, just hope, on both parties' parts.

I'm also curious if it's common there for the sellers to meet the prospective buyers before an offer has even been accepted.

During the thirty years that I was flipping properties, I always reserved the right to present my offer to the sellers in person because I recognized that nice and personable does go far, and I won a lot of properties that way. Did lose a few, too, but I had a pretty good on-base percentage.

Nov 02, 2011 10:09 PM #37
J. Philip Faranda
J. Philip Faranda (J. Philip R.E. LLC) Westchester County NY - Briarcliff Manor, NY

Thanks Russel- think they did that to nudge you? I wondered. =)

That is a good question. Unless the seller inexplicably wants us to, we can't reveal the number on the table.  The second offer was significantly lower than asking on a very aggressively priced home which had showings going on like a a conga line. The number offered was strongly 5 figures off asking, and would be a number I would expect if they were the only game in town. In a situation where asking price is aggressive as it is, full price in a multiple bid situation wouldn't have been crazy. 

We seldom present offers in person here, just the local way of doing things. We did in Rochester when I was up there, and I know you are right. These people did have a chance to meet the seller at the showing, and they were, well, nice, but even in person with Lee Iacocca presenting their bid they would have lost. 

Nov 02, 2011 11:33 PM #38
Fernando Herboso - Broker for Maxus Realty Group
Maxus Realty Group - Broker 301-246-0001 - Gaithersburg, MD
301-246-0001 Serving Maryland, DC and Northern VA

Being nice sometimes will get you nowhere. . .Congrats on the feature

Nov 02, 2011 11:46 PM #39
Jackie Connelly-Fornuff
Douglas Elliman Real Estate in Babylon NY - Babylon, NY
"Moving at The Speed of YOU!"

If you are nice and have a good offer, then nice is a plus. I try to present offers in person and most times I can. But, the higher offer for the most part prevails.

Nov 03, 2011 01:17 AM #40
Women of Westchester Working Together
Women of Westchester Working Together - West Harrison, NY
Women helping Women get ahead

Yes, just nice doesn't cut it.  But, nice and effective, now that is truly ideal.

Nov 03, 2011 02:00 AM #41
Michael Setunsky
Woodbridge, VA
Your Commercial Real Estate Link to Northern VA

Phil, I guess in business nice helps the deal, but it doesn't have much of a monetary value.

Nov 03, 2011 02:17 AM #42
Bill Gillhespy
16 Sunview Blvd - Fort Myers Beach, FL
Fort Myers Beach Realtor, Fort Myers Beach Agent - Homes & Condos

MNorning Phillip,  Just lost a big one yesterday.  My buyer and wife are extremely nice and easy to work with.  They made an offer expecting a counter...

Nov 03, 2011 02:52 AM #43
Bryan Robertson
Intero Real Estate - Los Altos, CA
Broker, Author, Speaker

It's fine to work with "nice" people, agents and clients alike, but that doesn't matter when it comes down to the value of what is clearly a business transaction.  I think being nice buys some generosity but it has a limit.  I know many sellers who will give up on pricing for a buyer (couple with kids, etc) that they think will really enjoy their home. But at the end of the day, money talks and a higher bidder will almost always win the deal.

Nov 03, 2011 03:34 AM #44
Dawn Crawley
Dawn Crawley Realty - Pinehurst, NC
Find Pinehurst Homes

I love this! $35,000 nicer would have been great. Congratulations for you seller getting a contract on their house.

Nov 03, 2011 04:03 AM #45
Sandy Acevedo
951-290-8588 - Chino Hills, CA
RE/MAX Masters, Inland Empire Homes for Sale

The nice people got their foot in the door. But the ones that offered higher are great people, and I like great people better than nice ones.

Nov 03, 2011 04:12 AM #46
Leslie Ebersole
Swanepoel T3 Group - Saint Charles, IL
I help brokers build businesses they love.

In response to Russell, it is not a violation of the COE to tell buyer #2 what buyer #1 has offered if so directed by the seller. This is specifically covered in the NAR class "Elements of a Contract". 

Here in Illinois, it is explicit in our license law -- and for my firm in our listing agreement -- that we work at the direction of the seller regarding multiple and subsequent offers.


Nov 03, 2011 04:27 AM #47
Mike Frazier
Carousel Realty of Dyer County - Dyersburg, TN
Northwest Tennessee Realtor

Phil, if I am working with a "nice" family I always want the seller to meet them. It makes my job easier putting a deal together.

Nov 03, 2011 04:39 AM #48
Elizabeth Weintraub Sacramento Real Estate Agent, Top 1% of Lyon Agents
Lyon Real Estate - Sacramento, CA
Put 40 years of experience to work for you

There is some new thing coming out about not having to disclose how many offers you have or whether you have any without being in conflict with Article 1. But you'd think after being advised that there is an offer on the table, the second buyer would have bumped it up a bit. Nice doesn't count at the bottom of a net sheet.

Nov 03, 2011 05:23 AM #49
Eric Proulx
RealEstate.com - Kirkland, WA

"In business, nice may get your foot in the door. But if you don't deliver, nice is not enough." AMEN

Nov 03, 2011 05:30 AM #50
Lisa Heindel
Crescent City Living LLC - New Orleans, LA
New Orleans Real Estate Broker

In response to Russell (#37), once informed that they were competing against another offer, the buyer's agent should again counsel the buyers on the current market for that property and educate them about what they might be competing against.  (That's assuming they did that to start with)  Will that guarantee them a win?  No, but they will have made an educated decision about their offer, knowing they may be out bid.

As a listing agent, I'm surprised by how many buyers are shocked when their offers are flat out rejected because they /their agent didn't run comps on a property.  You can be as nice as you want, if you aren't even in the ballpark of value, you'll lose every time.

Nov 03, 2011 07:07 AM #51
Evelyn Kennedy
Alain Pinel Realtors - Alameda, CA
Alameda, Real Estate, Alameda, CA

J. Philip:

If the buyer's agent had run the comps and realized that the price was very competitive then they should have know that their offer should have been near asking.  Nice people are OK, nice offers at or near asking are the best.

Nov 03, 2011 11:20 AM #52
Kristin Moran
Owner - RE/MAX Access - KristinMoran@Remax.net - San Antonio, TX
San Antonio,TX - Real Estate - 210-313-7397

Nice guys finish last i've heard. Being nice doesn't always get me where I want to be but I make sure & "kill em' with kindness" as much as I can!

Nov 03, 2011 12:36 PM #53
The Scott Loper Team Bux-Mont Premier Properties
Keller Williams Real Estate - Montgomeryville - Lansdale, PA

Hi Philip,

Of course nice isn't going to cut it if the nice people offer $35,000 less.  On the same vein, you can be the nicest Realtor in the world, but if you don't get your listings sold, you are likely to lose your clients.  Being nice is rarely enough to get by in this world.  Sometimes too nice is too much.


Nov 04, 2011 03:10 AM #54
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