Buyers expect that their agent will have all the skills they need to get the best price and the best terms, but it does not always happen.
There are three absolutely essential skills your Realtor must have if you expect to negotiate a good price and terms on your next home or land. I guarantee that if your agent is missing one of these skills, your transaction might never make it to the closing table, or you mayget stuck with a price or terms you did not intend. What are these three skills?
First, your real estate agent must have good oral skills. You cannot buy a home without a lot of oral conversations between you and your agent, and between your agent and the other agent as well as the other agent and her client. If your agent cannot articulate the reasons behind some tough negotiating terms on your behalf, the other agent and his client may misinterpret motivations, and personal animosity has killed many transactions. A lack of good communications is the reason many relationships end, and negotiating to buy your home is most definitely a relationship. I have seen many transactions terminated or turn into a battle of wills with a great deal of frustration and anger simply because one of the agents did not practice good oral skills. But having good oral skills is not enough.
Second, your real estate agent must have good written skills. Writing skills are required to draft a good contract and good addendums, but the real negotiating skills go way beyond the written terms of your contract. During the the whole process there are many written communications between agents, mostly via email. An agent with good oral skills who lacks the ability to articulate in an email the reasons for difficult or complex terms in an offer or counteroffer, or in the response to an inspection or the response to a response, will either fail to get agreement, or as in so many cases, cause the other side to think you are being arrogant, demanding, or unreasonable. You might be surprised to learn that pride (and “honor”) kill many transactions. Perceptions (not reality) are everything in negotiating. If an agent cannot explain and sell your position, you are negotiating upstream without a paddle.
Third, your Realtor must be able to communicate with his/her own client as well as the Realtor on the other end of the transaction. A simple breakdown in communications between an agent and his client and between the agents can mean disaster for you. By disaster I mean a transaction that never ultimately closes, or it closes but not at the price or terms you intended. You do not want to buy a home and end up angry and bitter after it closes, and that does happen. Why do you think Realtors have such a horrendous reputation?
I communicate a lot with my clients and on every detail with my clients, and I communicate a lot with the agent on the other end of a transaction. But when we have an agent who does not communicate well with his own client (and I usually know based on the communications I get from that agent), and that agent does not do a good job to communicate orally and in writing with me, we have a problem Houston.
After 30 years in the real estate business, I can guarantee that what I am writing here is true. Unfortunately, most clients cannot tell when they hire their agent if they have all three of these skills. But now you know what to look for.
[Of course, apart from these skills you definitely want a Sequim Realtor who is competent in the core subjects of real estate, in contract language, in negotiating, marketing and sales, customer service management, and in running their own business. Be sure you hire a true professional with experience. After all, it’s your life savings and the home you may live in the rest of your life.]
Last Updated on July 27, 2012 by Chuck Marunde
Chuck, this is an excellent article.
Transactions are made between people, and nuance, tone and style matter immensely. Buyers and sellers can ensure their own success by choosing the agent to work with to get the job done.
Don’t be sloppy about this decision.
I almost wish I could add another point: Beware of agents who possess hidden personal motives or agendas, or who believe they are “helping” you. But then, that would require another article.
This one is great on its own. Too bad I didn’t have the information seven, ten, and twenty years ago!
I really enjoyed reading this blog, it is well thought out. But I do have to agree with Barbara on the issue of agents with hidden agendas. This seems to be happening more and more. Make sure the agent is out for your best interest instead of his/her own!