Where's the FIGHT??

Real Estate Broker/Owner with Classic Realty Associates



This morning, in our new agent training class, I had cause to relay a war story.

Side note here:  Am I the only person noticing that the "fight" is not as prevelant in our industry?  I'm not speaking about starting foolish arguments, or commission grabbers, or any thing like that.  What I'm concerned about is do some people just give up too easily?  As a broker, I spent a lot of 2007 helping agents, including my own, to realize that if they want "this transaction" to work, it will require effort!  In specific, effort from the agent.

Getting back to my war story as an example, two experienced agents, both them with 10 yrs experience, both fully capable of working the deal.  For a week I listend to complaints of how the "seller won't come down on their price" and how the "buyer is just not going to pay anymore".  We were only 3% a part on the deal... big transaction price for our area.  But, both agents just threw up their hands with a look of "Oh well....." and began to let the transaction die.  But, in the meantime, had grown very frustrated with each other... this is not good.. especially when both agents are in the same office!

Well, of course, my first reaction was extreme frustration with both parties, but my job is to bring willing buyers and willing sellers together.... not get them close and then lose it.... but, that takes a little "FIGHT", it takes a littel effort.  So, I sat down with  each agent individually and asked them about their side of the transaction.

 Here's what I found out: 

From the Seller:  They were very much in need of the funds from this sale, they had an overzealous emotional attachment to the property, they were in no hurry to get their stuff out.  All of these items, of course, should have been discussed in the listing presentation, but it's almost too late now.

 From the Buyer:  They were very price sensitive on a per unit basis (cost per foot, cost per acre, etc.), they had the cash, they needed real estate, they had a timeline for purchase.

Ideal situation correct?  A seller that needs to sell, a buyer that wants to buy, heck they had been in negotiations for four weeks... obviously, both parties wanted to come together.  Then why was the transaction dying?

Lack of effort? Lack of good advice? Yep, all those things... but most specifically..... lack of explaining and illustrating options along with a lack of flexibility... which was generated by each agent taking a hard stance, and also neither agent wanted to put the time and effort into fixing the problem... in other words.. they were focused on the problem and not the solution!  Most any idiot can see when there is a problem.. but it requires effort to achieve a solution!

So... now... how do we get through this.....???

Well first and foremost, I sat down with the sellers agent.. turned out they were holding out for an extra $15,000.

"Why?" I asked immdiately.... "Because that's what the seller thinks they need."

Ok Agent 1... listen to your own words here... "what the seller THINKS they need..." WHY do they THINK that?

 "Because that's what my CMA shows!!"  My immdeiate thought was well, you Mr. Agent are part of the problem, not the solution.  So I began talking.... "Well who says your CMA is 100% accurate as to what a willing buyer and a willing seller would agreee to? I might come up with a different number if I did the CMA, how many times have you had an independent third party appraisal come in at exactly the same price tag you came up with?... So, who told them this number is set in stone? Have you explained to them that in reality, it's just a best guess??"

"Well no..."

"So you haven't talked to them about that?"  (You'll love this one.....) "Why bother, the deal is dead?"

(This is the point where I should have offerred to salvage the transaction for a hefty referral fee.... He-he-he!!!)

"What!?  No, it's not.... what are they seller's going to do with their money when they receive it?"

"Well, I don't know..."

"Have you asked them?" (here it goes again...) "Why bother? They'll never agree, and the buyer's refuse to offer more...."

"Because I think we should at least TRY..... So, let's do this, get your people on the phone and find out these simple answers and start telling them that a CMA is not chiseled in stone like one of the Ten Commandments, then after you do that remind your Sellers that the end of the year will be here before they know it and property taxes will be due again, do they want to pay those, or sell the property?  How much interest could they earn on their money for the remainder of the year?  Ask them!  Work at it!  Then, begin explaining to them that even at 4% interest, and I know where they can get that, today..... they will earn half of their $15,000 back this year..... Show them how it works, then add the property taxes to it.  Would your Seller's split the price differrence?  How do you know if you haven't asked them?.. etc.etc.etc."

So, now I sit down with the buyer's agent... "Why is your buyer interested in this particular property?  Are they looking at others?  Why are they so stuck on their cost per unit?"  Well, fortunately, thee buyer's agent was able to offer up all of these answers immdeiately to me.  I found out that the property was conveniently located for them and yes they did have a plan "B" in mind, but it was 60 miles away.  "Well, Mr. Buyer's agent, have you looked at fuel costs lately? Have you explained to your buyer that there is no other propety that meets their critieria that is this close to where they need it to be?  How long have they been looking?  When do they need it?  Have you expresssed to them that the long term costs of driving 120 miles out of their way will become quite expensive over the long run?"

"Well, the price per unit is just too high..... and the seller will NEVER come down!"

"Ok, get on the phone and ask your seller 'The price is too high compared to WHAT?', Explain to them that there are no other properties like this within 60 miles!  Then after you calculate the cost per mile of driving 120 round trip, use the IRS method... 42 cents per mile.... and show them this cost over the next 10 years, ask them if they would be willing to split the price differrence.  Have you done this yet?"

Well guess what?  Literally 4 phone callls later, the contract was on the way to being escrowed.....  Just a little extra effort!!  A little bit of FIGHT!!  :)  I know that both agents had a pretty sheepish look on their face when they came in to tell me the contract was now in escrow, combined with a lot of HAPPINESS that the deal was going to work after all..... 

Now, both were experienced agents...the only thing seperating them from doing a good job for their clients was..... a little bit of FIGHT, a little bit of effort, especially mental effort.... My suggestion to them then was to put forth a bit of effort THINK about what it would take to make a deal work, and then get in there and FIGHT to make it happen..... don't just assume it never will.....  MAKE the deal work!! 

I don't concern myself with the crazy lawyer, the unreasonable seller/ buyer, the ridiculoous other agent, the goofy appraisor, the slow surveyor, the warped inspections, the endless list of excuses as to why a deal died... nope.. I'd rather spend my time and effort figuring out what it is that I can do to make the transaction work for the good of all involved... How about you?  If we didn't have problems in this job... there would be no job.... people wouldn't NEED us!!  How true is that?

I always think about great leaders of the past or present... the word most people use to descibe their accomplishments is... you guessed it.... "They fought for their cause."...Success didn't just "happen"!!  I've never heard anybody say "They happened for their cause." Nope. They "fought for it!!"  Patience and persistence and forethought and effort!!  Wasn't it Einstein who said "Success is 1% inspiration, and 99% perspiration!"? 

Thanks for reading..... :)  Now, go out and have a great day, but don't forget to "fight" intelligently a little bit along the way, it's good for you!!  ;)


knight happy

Comments (2)

Frances C. Rokicki
Fran Rokicki Realty, LLC - Bolton, CT

Excellent!  This is what we, as Realtors have forgotten about.  Thank you for the reminder.  Getting to close the transaction, with all parties pleased, is key.  Sometimes the clients get caught up in the numbers, and, sometimes the agents do.

It's a Good Life!


Feb 05, 2008 09:53 AM
Kay Perry
Kay Perry, Broker - College Station, TX
Hi Brent, So now you want us to start wearing a metal armor outfit so we can battle?  Let's see...I think that would be hard to find...ha.  But I sure don't mind negotiating to get an offer to work.  I did just that tonight.
Feb 06, 2008 02:42 PM