I have often talked about the battle between buyers and sellers in today’s real estate market and I don’t want to badger the point any further, but I think that the problem has now spread to the realtors. I think today’s realtor gets up every morning and puts on their proverbial fatigues and helmet then heads out the door to what to do what he or she perceives to be “going to war.”
Today’s realtors are stressed out more than ever. The pressure to sell homes, sell them quickly, and sell them in a “not so hot market” has never been greater. Talking with agent after agent each day, I have concluded that they are getting sucked in the toxic dance that has been happening with buyers and sellers. I have a short story that illustrates this point well.
I called an agent inquiring about putting an offer in on behalf of my buyers on his listing. On the phone he was charming, helpful, eager, and it sounded like it would be pleasant to do a transaction with him. We put the home under contract with his sellers and my buyers and the agent went from Dr. Jekyll to Mr. Hyde. During the subsequent weeks while we were going through inspection, appraisal, and amendments he was defensive, uncooperative, and combative to say the least. I got to thinking why? Why are more and more agents finding it so hard to get along? Don’t get me wrong, it’s ok for an agent to be a hard negotiating advocate for his or her clients, but this isn’t war. The only explanation I could come up with is, “it comes from the top down.” We clearly have a trickledown effect from the sellers to agents, buyers to agents, and brokerage firms to agents. The mood of the country is essentially setting the mood of all parties involved.
Back to the story: We ended up closing deal and the buyers got the home they wanted, but it wasn’t remotely smooth. It caused a lot of unnecessary trouble and stress for my buyers and all because the listing agent had a mindset of “who wins, who loses, and who gets their way.” It could have all been avoided.
What’s the moral to the story? It’s three-fold: 1) The economy has put a lot of people in a bad mood, but as agents, buyers, and sellers we need to find a way to rise above that. 2) Buyers and sellers need to understand that in most cases agents want to do a great job for them. Beating them up (figuratively) is not going to help. 3) The story above just underscores how valuable a truly good agent can be. It can make all the difference between a smooth and pleasant transaction and one that is a Nightmare on Elm Street.