Last week, while trying to negotiate a full-price offer, I was struggling with a listing Agent who kept insisting that my Buyers bring back a higher purchase offer before she would be willing to present it.
"We don't want to offend the Seller," she warned.
Frustrated by this tactic, I calmly explained, "This is a full-price offer in a 'challenging marketplace' by very qualified and motivated Buyers - they are not bidding against themselves. Take the offer to the Seller and let them counter if they are so inclined. That's the appropriate process."
As professionals, it is not our job to get "offended" by an offer or a counter offer. It is our job to present any and all offers without opinion.
Do we often have insight as to how the Seller might respond to an offer? Yes, we do.
Are Sellers often offended when the purchase offer doesn't match their expectations? Yes, they are.
Are Buyers often insulted when their well-intentioned offer is abruptly rejected? Yes, they are.
Do real estate transactions often become too emotional? Absolutely.
Do personal feelings belong in the negotiation process? No, they do not.
While emotions can run very high between Seller and the Buyer, emotions should never overshadow the Agent's negotiation process. To the contrary, our job is to "depersonalize" the sale of a home; to remind the Sellers (and the Buyers) that any disagreement is merely a disagreement about the value of a property between two competing parties. The Seller wants as much money as possible for the home and the Buyer wants to pay less.
That's all. No offense or insult is meant.
The good news is that the goal for both parties is identical - to transfer ownership of the property. To the extent that each party can find the middle ground, this mutual goal can often be accomplished.
Objectively defining that middle ground is where good Agents often earn their keep. Employing an experienced REALTOR to handle third-party negotiations to separate fact from fiction is a smart decision when the stakes (and the emotions) run as high as they often do in real estate.
While it feels VERY personal to you, it shouldn't feel personal to us. As seasoned professionals, we recognize that it is the rare transaction that takes place without some back and forth and the less emotional we make this process, the better the results.
As empathetic professionals, are we aware that your feelings are important? Yes, we are.
Are we often entering into emotionally delicate, highly charged situations? Yes we are.
Are we attuned to your hopes, yours needs, your desires and your concerns? Yes, we are.
Are we working for the best possible outcome in spite of them and because of them? Absolutely.
Should OUR personal feelings come into play? No, they should not!
That isn't to say that as people, we don't understand your frustration from time to time. The Seller did counter back my Buyers' full-price offer - he asked for $80,000 above asking! (Now maybe that's just a wee bit offensive . . .)
Julie Gardner, has been writing The Perspective for 12 years and has published more than 500 essays. She is also a frequent contributor to the Sound Off column in the Real Estate section of The San Francisco Chronicle.