Want To Really Do A Great Job For Your Clients?

Real Estate Agent with Leigh Brown & Associates, RE/MAX Executive

Honey and Bees



Now tell the truth, every single person reading this was told by a mama at some point that:

      "You catch more flies with honey than with vinegar."


It's true.  And it seems that in the rush of hard work to do the very best job possible for our buyer or seller clients, we sometimes forget this fact.

And forgetting this basic fact can HARM your clients far more than you realize.  (hey-buyers and sellers-listen up, I'm talking to you as much as your agent out there)


I would be remiss in my writing if I did not share the fax cover that accompanied an offer on one of my listings.  Received this one today. 

1. CASH OFFER! 2. Closing at the end of the month. 3. Very good offer based on current market conditions and sold comps at xxx. 4. Investors own more units in xxx than Owner Occupants.  This makes it very difficult for a buyer to obtain conventional financing.With a all cash buyer you will not have to worry about  this huge problem in xxx. After speaking with the HOA about the issue you will find that this is a real problem for sellers in this complex. 5. Unit is vacant. 6. This unit has been on the market with multiple agents for a very long time. The market has spoken!!!! 6. The buyer is not emotional at all. If he cannot get the right deal on this unit he will walk away quickly.

Allow me to mention a few relevant facts. 

  • The real estate market in Charlotte NC is balanced.  We have not been hit nearly as hard as many areas of the country.  This is often hard to explain to buyers and sellers who read the newspapers daily!
  • This neighborhood only has 3 current active listings and one pending.  It's not in decline.  I sold the one across the street in May for much higher than this offer, and it was in worse condition than this one.
  • The seller is not emotional at all and isn't in a position where he needs to cut and run.  He just put in new carpet and painted the place. 

I mentioned to the buyer's agent that a negative fax cover doesn't do his client a lot of good in the presentation of the offer.  He mentioned that he was 'working hard for his client.'  And I don't doubt that he's a hard worker.  However, a comment like 'The market has spoken!!!' only makes me want to say 'The seller has spoken!!!' when we reject it!!  Not a good reaction.

BUT.  A lowball, bottom-feeder offer accompanied by a nasty cover letter is NOT going to generate a good counteroffer.  It's going to tick off the seller.  Meaning that the buyer will not get the seller's best price.  Why work with someone who starts off this way?

Now, had the offer been accompanied by some actual comps that support this price on a unit in this condition (they don't exist, btw) and a positive reaction to the condition of this unit, the seller may have responded with a counteroffer instead of an outright rejection.  We haven't been on the market that long, have had several second showings in the past couple of weeks, so we know we're not too far off on price.  Certainly not enough to encourage us to respond to an offer that's 20% below list.

Don't yell or threaten the other side in a transaction...be positive, point out the pluses in your offer, and sweettalk that seller.  You'll get a lot further and heck-you might just have happy buyers AND sellers in a transaction. 


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Robert and Lisa Hammerstein -201-315-8618
Keller Williams Valley Realty - Hillsdale, NJ
Bergen County NJ Real Estate


Yes, indeed Mom still says it all the time and I subscribe to it daily.  Unfortunately there are so many less fortunate that didn't have a caring Mother who taught them that saying.  All we can do is feel sorry for those less fortunate ones! :)  Being Nice may not get you to the top of the pile but it sure does make me feel better about myself!  Thanks for sharing this valuable point.

Warm Regards, 


Aug 14, 2007 02:58 AM #24
Toby Boyce
C.G. Boyce Real Estate Co. - Delaware, OH
MBA, Delaware Ohio

I honestly didn't read your post before I wrote mine - but I should have.  I love it!

Looking at it from the outside though... How many agents in your market are begging for business and not very confident in their abilities as an agent right now?

They get this "very authorative" note from another agent with all the problems with their property and cave. "Oh my Lord, I overpriced it" and now ... They then take that panic to the seller who -- jumps on the deal because ... well it a horrible market and they don't want to lose their shirt.

Not saying I condone it, but in a way, I can see his thinking. He needs to do more research on who he sends it to for his best response.

We were in negotions on one of my listings last month and a seasoned-agent tried a similar tatic - taking my kindness and personabilty as gullability -- and told me that the house needed a new roof and everyone knew it -- funny his own inspection report makes no notice of it. And when I said that, he dropped it -- and we never mentioned it again.

Great response!

Aug 14, 2007 03:21 AM #25
Leigh Brown
Leigh Brown & Associates, RE/MAX Executive - Charlotte, NC
CEO, Dream Maker - Charlotte, NC

I can see that happening, Toby.  There are certainly a lot of weak agents out there even though our market is far from horrible.  I hope the guy reads this post-I told him that I did appreciate the good fodder for my blog. =)

Aug 14, 2007 03:39 AM #26
Sarah Miller-Legg
Meridian Star Realty, LLC - Chandler, AZ
It's Real Estate; Done Right!
Ha! Too bad that there's no skill-level placement test for diplomacy and tact before some folks are turned loose on the rest of us...hmmm, what would it be called...Common Courtesy 100 Level? Bet he or she was no fun on the playground either. 
Aug 14, 2007 04:15 AM #27
Stephen Joos & Chris Brubaker- HouseFront
HouseFront - Denver, CO

Great post Leigh,

And Sarah, I totally agree, there should be a common courtesy course people just don't know how to be professional.  But the way the market is now it seems that it's bringing out the worst in agents.  I would say the best way to deal with a rude agent is to kill them with kindness.

Aug 14, 2007 05:19 AM #28
Donna Lueder
Integrity Group Inc. - Boise, ID
Meridian Idaho Real Estate
That one sounded like trouble from the get go. It was threatening and the buyers agent isn't really working hard for his client he is basically taking his buyer right out of the transaction from the start. WHAT A MORON!
Aug 14, 2007 06:35 AM #29
Kim Dean
www.RealFamilyRealEstate.com - McKinney, TX
d + b real estate, McKinney, TX REALTOR Broker/Own
It makes me wonder how some people make a living in this business. Ya know?
Aug 14, 2007 09:09 AM #30
Michael Eisenberg
eXp Realty - Bellingham, WA
Bellingham Real Estate Guy
It is hard to imagine how some people do business,  they are obviosly oblivios
Aug 14, 2007 10:02 AM #31
Linda Phillips
Exit Realty Mtns& Lakes - Dandridge, TN
Negativity breeds Negativity...... Sounds like this agent was more interested in a FAST commision than meeting the needs of his client.   I wonder who set the offering price?   Hmmmmmmmm   Regardless, you can explain why you are making a lower offer in  a professional, polite way with out being obnoxious!
Aug 14, 2007 10:59 AM #32
Kay Van Kampen
RE/MAX Broker, RE/MAX - Springfield, MO
Realtor®, Springfield Mo Real Estate
Looks like I'm at the end again. Good agents do their research before encouraging the client to make low offers.  I closed a home recently with an agent that thought her _ _ _ _  didn't stink.  She would bad mouth me and court the seller!  Outragious!  Little did she know her client was calling wanting to get out of their buyer's agency.
Aug 14, 2007 12:48 PM #33
Jeff Belonger
Social Media - Infinity Home Mortgage Company, Inc - Cherry Hill, NJ
The FHA Expert - FHA Loans - FHA mortgages - USDA loans - VA Loans

Leigh.... just sounds like someone trying to stronghold a seller... trying to scare them into accepting an offer. And as others have stated, good agents do their research.  Congrats on the gold star....

jeff belonger

Aug 14, 2007 03:19 PM #34

Im actually shocked to hear that he actually thanked you for being honest and for your constructive criticism. I guessed he has never ran across such a competent and knowledgeable real estate broker like yourself. Thanks for the post.

Aug 14, 2007 03:53 PM #35
Keller Williams Select Realtors-Buy a home in Washington DC. Sell a home in Washington DC - Bowie, MD
I don't make promises.I deliver results.SOLD HOMES
Im actually shocked to hear that he actually thanked you for being honest and for your constructive criticism. I guessed he has never ran across such a competent and knowledgeable real estate broker like yourself. Thanks for the post.
Aug 14, 2007 04:22 PM #36
Bob & Carolin Benjamin
Benjamin Realty LLC - Gold Canyon, AZ
East Phoenix Arizona Homes
Unfortunately there is a task of fending off the low-balls offers. It's just the nature of the market these days it seems.
Aug 14, 2007 04:37 PM #37
Geno Petro
GenoPetro.House - Chicago, IL

Hey Leigh...Thanks for the comment on my St. Joe post. I really enjoyed your above piece as well, especially...and I quote : 'A lowball, bottom-feeder offer accompanied by a nasty cover letter is NOT going to generate a good counteroffer.'

Here, here...



Aug 15, 2007 03:08 AM #38
David Green
RE/MAX at The Shore - Cape May, NJ

It's all in the delivery a great comedian once said. I think that holds true in any business. Any low offer I submit I speak with the listing agent first and start the negotiating there to feel them out and get any sense of the sellers position.

David Green


P.S this is not a logo for a company or website , I just am feeling out an idea.

Aug 15, 2007 03:16 AM #39
Ginger Sala
Wilkinson & Associates, Wilmington NC - Wilmington, NC
Wilmington NC Real Estate & Relocation~

Leigh,  I think the best tactic to use when presenting lowball is to say as little as possible.

I am currently representing a buyer client who lowballed big time. The negotiations were extremely pleasant and my buyer got the property for a very good price. The sellers were motivated, even so, the listing agent (a friend of the sellers) was surpised at the final negotiated price. This deal is a perfect example of two agents cooperating to the max, with no EGO's involved, and everyone's happy. We close Tuesday.


Aug 15, 2007 04:45 PM #40
Michele Connors
The Overton Group, LLC Pitt & Carteret County - Greenville, NC
Your Eastern North Carolina Realtor

Seems momma and grandma are wise women...It may have taken me a while to realize their wisdom but as I get older, all of their advise rolls off my tongue.

This is a FINE example of leaving a bad first impression. He (the agent ) blew it, and unfortunately my gut tells me  the buyers probably were playing along to his suggestions and approach unaware of the cover letter or the position the agent put them in!   Bet ya a nickel !

Aug 17, 2007 11:00 AM #41
Katie Evans
Keller Williams - Greenville, NC


 I try to write a letter to the seller.  I tell them about the buyer.  Sometimes if I think that inspections are going to be difficult, I address those issues.  it is amazing how far you can get with sugar!

Aug 17, 2007 11:16 AM #42
Robert Monk
100% Realty, Inc. - Santa Rosa Beach, FL
Florida Real Estate
Yep, mama said I'd catch more flies with honey, and she was right, as usual.  It is important to be polite, but honest with your buyer and your seller.  They're both just fishing for their best deal...
Oct 11, 2007 06:02 AM #43
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