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A Word On Professionalism, Courtesy and Emotional Sellers

Sometimes, even the best in business can lose their composure.

I’ve been told I have thick skin in business. In my previous job in the travel/tourism industry, I handled abuse and complaints by customers on a daily basis, and it never got to me. This is a skill that’s become invaluable to me in the real estate world. I am able to remain calm and collected and can still speak slowly and clearly when the other party is getting defensive or emotional.

Which brings me to an offer I wrote yesterday. The buyer is a good friend of mine from back in high school who recently came back into town and wants to buy a condo. We went looking at a few units, and found one that would work. Now, this friend is very inexperienced with real estate and how it all works, so I spent a lot of time with him, explaining every clause in great detail – something I love to do with first-timers.

So, we wrote an offer. Now, the unit in particular had just been re-listed at a somewhat lower price, after having been on the market for 4 months. In our market lately, any condo priced right should be gone within 2 weeks of hitting the market. We offered what my client and I felt was a decent price. It was within 12 percent of the asking price of the property. Other terms included very quick possession (the owner has already taken possession of her next home), a large deposit, and easy financing.

Within minutes of faxing it to the listing agent, I received a phone call. This particular agent, in an untactful and rude voice informed me that the offer was too low and would not be presented, and that “in a market like this, it’s ridiculous!” Now, as we all know, we’re obligated to present all offers. I was told the client had instructed that offers lower than a certain amount would not be considered. Fair enough. I asked for a fax about this from the client, and reminded the agent that all offers must be presented. I had honestly thought that while our offer was too low to be accepted outright, that we would be able to negotiate something.

After all, isn’t that the reason we’re here? To take the emotion out of strictly business dealings. To provide advice. By getting defensive and rude with me, this other agent put emotion back into the equation. The seller was insulted, I was told. I find that even with lower offers, it all depends on how you approach the seller. They can get emotional – we all know that. But if dealt with in a professional, business-like manner, you can take the emotion out of what should be a strictly business deal – that is your job.

I have never advised a seller to turn down an offer outright. What is the point? The seller wants to sell – the buyer wants to buy. Negotiate. You’d be surprised how many deals you can save that you thought had no chance of coming together.

In the end, the deal fell apart because of an issue unrelated to price. It would have been like any other deal that doesn’t work out. The contract would have been filed away, and we’d keep searching. But now I’ll always remember the other agent, and the unprofessional and rude demeanor in this transaction.

Be nice, agents!

-Tim Ayres – Royal LePage Coast Capital Realty