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Your Co-Worker Doesn't Sell Real Estate, Right? Then Please Listen!

Over the years, I have encountered a good number of clients who feel compelled to seek advice from a:

  • Co-worker

  • Friend

  • Cousin

  • Random Person on the Street

I'm not sure why it's okay to allow me (or any agent) to represent you professionally during your sale/purchase, but you want to double-check or seek new information from others about price.

When it comes to a real estate negotiation, I promise you that I know what I'm talking about.  I have successfully negotiated many hundreds of sales since 1997, when I was first licensed.  Can your co-worker at Dell truthfully make this claim?  If so, then I will listen.  If not, please take my word for it that I understand the market and what to expect.

Not long ago, I found a home that I think was probably perfect for a client of mine.  In point of fact, there weren't many options in the area they wanted.  

The home was priced correctly, and in pristine condition for its age.  The decision to make an offer was an easy one.

And that's where things went awry.

We met to write up the offer (in Texas, this is a minimum of 8 pages, usually 11 or 12).  Although it's fill-in-the-blank, it inevitably takes an hour or more to get things together and explain the paperwork.  Based on the limited options, and the comparable sales in the area, I expected the offer to be somewhere in the ballpark of the asking price.

"Actually, I was thinking of offering $______."  

Um....what?  Really?!?

"I also want to have them pay my closing costs."

Ugh.  This price was nowhere near reasonable for this home.  

I told my client that I would be happy to write it up for any amount, but I also warned that they might get no response at all.

The negotiating advice they received came from.........friends.  Friends who didn't buy a home in a desirable neighborhood, or one in immaculate condition, of course.  Friends who don't handle real estate sales every single day.  

Care to guess who was correct in this instance?

The response we got was friendly, professional, yet firm.  The seller had chosen not to respond, but instead invited us to re-submit an offer "if the buyer decides to get serious".  Unfortunately, I couldn't disagree.

I wasn't recommending a full-price offer, but I also knew from my experience that the suggested offer amount was just low enough to be insulting.  Sadly, the number we submitted was thousands higher than my client originally suggested, but still not in the "realistic" range.

So, if you are working with an agent, and you trust them, give them the benefit of the doubt when it comes to negotiating on your behalf.  You might actually end up buying a house and you'll still get a reasonably good deal.  

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