One of the most important aspects of my duties is to be able to negotiate the best price, terms and set of conditions for my client. Over the last 10 years I’ve learned a lot about myself and about people in general. It’s almost always a give and take, as they say. It’s important to look at the bigger picture rather than argue over a microwave. Dont’ be greedy, but get what you can.
Here are 10 things you should never do when negotiating a deal for your client:
1. Never try to use intimidation when representing a buyer or seller. Nothing screams that you’re shorter than 5 feet than being a sarcastic and snippy real estate agent.
2. Try to help the other Realtor if they need it. You can do this while still representing your own client’s best interest. Don’t be a jerk and try to take advantage of someone’s misunderstanding of the details. Being cute could cost you, your client and the transaction. There are many buyers and sellers who rely heavily on what their agent is telling them. If the agent is wrong, confused or lost, it could torpedo the deal.
3. Don’t let your alligator mouth override your Tweety Bird ass. Don’t lie, stretch the truth or say things on behalf of your clients that aren’t representative of the truth! It could cost you your career!
4. Don’t make ridiculous threats. For example, don’t say things like “If the seller doesn’t leave that deep freezer, you can bet your bottom dollar we’ll kill this contract.” It’s entirely possible the other agent representing the seller may go back and say word for word what you just said. Hopefully, the seller doesn’t shoot the middle finger and say, “Then the hell with him!” Your overzealous and trigger-happy attitude could cost your client a home. Don’t be an idiot.
5. Never try to sound like a Harvard graduate when you attended only 3 1/2 semesters at your local junior college. Too often agents snap their fingers and use Latin phrases they can’t spell or remotely articulate. Be humble, be smart and be firm if necessary. But leave the legal theatrics for lawyers and Hollywood. It’s OK to say, “The contract says …,” but don’t make it sound like you’ve spent decades in courtrooms. Odds are that traffic court and being a big fan of Judge Joe Brown is the extent of your legal expertise and exposure.
6. Never be a robotic fool for your client. When negotiating a deal it’s important to understand that sometimes you have to push back … on your own client. Buyers will often respect and listen when educated and guided. Don’t be an order taker or drive-thru-window expert. Submitting a ridiculous counteroffer or offer because “you were told to by your buyer” exposes both your incompetence and foolishness.
7. Don’t be lazy and forward emails from the other agent to your own client. It’s disrespectful, lazy, unprofessional and just plain dumb.
8. One of the many benefits of using a Realtor is to have a professional who doesn’t get emotionally involved during the transaction. Now is the time for you to showcase your poise and professionalism. Leave the hot flashes, bulging forehead veins and tears for something else.
9. If you aren’t a loan officer, home inspector or botanist, don’t try to sound like one. I was lectured by an agent once who tried to down-talk me about aging diseased trees and how they can be adversely affected because of the oils from the lot next to the house that got struck by lighting during a hurricane when there was a gas spill back in the late ’80s.
Leave the precise details on how a loan works to the lender. Don’t quote interest rates, exact closing costs and how much an inspector charges. You SHOULD sound educated, informed and knowledgeable, but don’t overdo it.
10. Last and most important … follow the rules of the road. Never try to talk to the other Realtor’s client. Unless it’s a hello and goodbye, you should keep the communication professional and extremely brief.