3 Critical Mistakes Agents Make When Receiving an Offer
By David Hill
Avoid the missteps and get your home to the closing table.
Real estate agents are incredible assets to their clients, providing invaluable advice and partnership. But, just like anyone else, they can also make mistakes. So finding an agent that knows what not to do is important. A wise and experienced agent is well aware of these possible blunders and avoids them.
1. Taking an offer personally, unconsciously sabotaging the deal.
An immature agent may take an offer as a personal insult, putting his or her ego above the deal. Perhaps the offer seems too low, or tension exists between your agent and the seller’s – the reason for the offense is unimportant. An agent should never take an offer as an insult to himself. He or she should only ever view an offer as part of a professional real estate transaction.
In this scenario, an agent takes the offer to the seller, characterizing it with tinges of the agent’s personal opinion and inaccurate or exaggerated language (i.e. “How dare they submit such a low offer!”) This characterization causes the seller to feel frustrated and equally offended.
Consider this story:
A buyer was looking at a home for sale in Rutland, Mass. He liked it, so he asked his agent to make an offer. The buyer’s agent reached out to the seller’s agent with a perfectly decent offer at the time, only about 7% below the asking price. The selling agent responded with a sharp refusal to even present the offer to the seller, claiming that her client would “never take that offer.” After unnecessary back and forth and requests that she present the offer, she begrudgingly conceded.
Whether or not she actually revealed this offer to her client, she came back again with a refusal, reasserting that her client rejected the offer. The buyer moved on, the deal went nowhere, and the listing expired. 2 months later, the home in Rutland was back on the MLS under a different listing agent, at a price even lower than the previously rejected offer. Had the original agent kept a professional mindset instead of letting personal feelings interfere, the first deal could have gone through and the seller could have made more money from the sale. She also would have earned a commission.
These situations can occur when an agent becomes fixated on a certain price. Perhaps he promised this number to his client and will accept nothing less than the asking price to prove that he’s right.
When hiring a real estate agent, look for someone with the right mindset. Some agents need to learn to keep their emotions in check, but those with patience, tact, and thick skin will always navigate their way to a great deal for their clients.
2. Failure to follow up on details or tasks associated with the transaction.
We call this process “bulletproofing.” It means crossing every “t” and dotting every “i” to prepare for several possible contingencies. And failure to bulletproof can add stress to a real estate sale, or even prevent the transaction from taking place. An agent who understands bulletproofing will go into a transaction expecting everything to go wrong. While it seems like negativity, in reality, it’s good practice. Because when something does go wrong, that agent is prepared.
This process requires, once again, the proper mindset. An agent without a proactive mindset will take responsibility only for what directly relates to him or her. But a good agent goes above and beyond, paying attention to details outside his job description.
For instance, checking to make sure the appraisal is ordered, the purchase and sale is signed on time, and smoke detectors are properly installed helps to ensure a quality experience for both the seller and the buyer. A lazy or entitled agent may approach those details with the wrong mindset (i.e. “that’s not my job.”) Bulletproofing smaller details like these can also safeguard the selling client’s interests against potential errors of a lazy buyer’s agent. Willingness to handle both sides of the transaction is a sign of a proactive agent.
A real estate transaction consists of many moving parts, and a good agent is attentive to each one. Your agent represents you. You should feel secure that the specifics of the process are taken care of and the sale is progressing according to plan.
Not only is bulletproofing good business, but it also ensures the deal makes it to the closing table.
3. Working with others in a confrontational way.
Real estate is a team effort. Different people, filling different roles, work together to facilitate every transaction. Therefore, good people skills are vitally important in an agent.
An argumentative agent is prone to look at buyers and their agents in an adversarial way, igniting conflict. A confrontational attitude can then spill over to the client, creating a poisonous “us against them” scenario. This approach is bad business, causing many deals to fall apart. Agents who have been in real estate for a long period of time either learn not to get easily frustrated or become hardened due to years and years of deals not working out.
After experiencing a few unsuccessful transactions and working with a few untrustworthy peers, agents have a choice – to become wise or bitter. A frustrated agent will only frustrate the efforts of fellow brokers to make a deal. Cooperation and communication make for an efficient and enjoyable selling process, from listing to closing for everyone involved in the transaction.
Keep in mind, your agent should have a great emotional thermostat and be able to keep the buyers and sellers in the game. But he should not be emotional.