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There is a difference between bluffing and good negotiating - Don't gamble with your clients' money

I was thrilled this past month to have sold a listing of mine in 8 days, with three offers in hand.  With more economists predicting that we are at or near the end of the recession, this is very encouraging.  I have found that when enough people hear that things are good or getting better, they tend to start spending, which makes it happen.

During the negotiations on this property, I was reminded of something that has happened to me a few times over the years.  On occasion, when I receive multiple offers on my listings, I get the sense that at least one of the agents thinks I might be bluffing. 

Inevitably, these are the agents whose clients do not "win" the house.

It doesn't really seem to matter if I tell them something like this:

"Obviously, my client wants to get the best deal possible for their home, but I really do have ___ other offers."

I suppose most of us have been conditioned to be skeptical of multiple offers, or bidding wars, especially since the media has talked so much about how tough it is to sell houses.  However, when a property is priced correctly and in great shape, it WILL sell fast, at least here in Austin.

Many times, I have had buyer's agents simply stand their ground, as if that will help their clients.  Unfortunately, that just removes them from active negotiations, basically surrending the property to someone else.

On the flip side of things...

If you decide that you would prefer to bluff during negotiations, don't make it so darn obvious.  Here are a couple of examples from my own career:

I once had an agent tell me that she was expecting a full-price offer in the morning, but that her clients were willing to take my offer if we would increase it by $5,000 (still not full price).  I told my clients to wait, and the sellers accepted our offer with no changes.  This was such a blatant and obvious lie that it was easy to see through the "strategy".

One agent in Austin has a longtime reputation for manufacturing fake additional offers whenever he receives a legitimate offer on one of his listings.  I was warned about this from my previous broker, and I was able to pass this along to my clients when we did the paperwork.  The agent did not disappoint us - he was "expecting another offer, or maybe two others", even though it had been on the market for about 4 months.  How convenient!  My clients got the home at THEIR price.

I have always believed that it is my job to get the best possible price for my clients, both buyers and sellers.  Thankfully, I haven't had to lie bluff to do so.

Thanks for reading!


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