photo courtesy of Truth Went Trendy
Ever done something that made you say "Oops"?
Lucky for me, although I have, this story isn't about me. I'm involved, but I didn't hit send too quick. I've been involved in negotiations for my buyer this week and today, I received an email from the listing agent about our last counter offer. It was yet another counter. Reading the email, I noticed it continued on past the agent's signature. What did I find? Communications between the sellers and their agent. Private, confidential conversations. I admit, not much was revealed that would be considered dangerous, but the fact is, the sellers' confidentiality was violated just enough to make me wonder - does the agent realize what they did? There is just enough in there for me to feel confident with our counter to their counter offer. The question is, did the agent reveal their hand?
In negotiating a contract, I have been told all sorts of things by agents. Little pieces that allowed me to take advantage of the situation and get my clients what they want and need. And it's not just email, I've been told things over the phone (some were monumental) that allowed me and my clients the same.
What do you reveal in negotiations?
Everyone thinks they're a master negotiator. Not many are. I do my best, but I know I have a lot to learn. What I don't do is reveal much about my clients. I've had people fish, I've had people ask, and I've had people drop hints. I keep my mouth shut whenever I can. I don't offer that which isn't asked for and once it's asked for, I make sure it falls within the realm of information that needs to be known. I most certainly don't reveal any information that is over-the-top confidential (although there are no rules about levels of confidentiality, I think we can all agree that there are levels of revealing information that could have different impacts on the situation - although they are all violations of our responsibilities to our clients, the consequences can make them much more worse).
I decided to drop the question on Twitter to see how some of my fellow real estate agents would respond to the hint of what I had just seen happen. My question? "RE agents: would you ever reply to an offering agent's email with a new counter and all of your conversation with your seller still intact including your advice "I think we should counter one more time"? (I know my answer, what's yours?)" In moments, I had some responses:
Next time you reply to a counter offer and you're sending email, stop and think!
In this case, nothing terrible was said, but enough was said in order to make me think a little harder about our counter offer. Don't be the agent who blows your clients' position in a negotiation. My first deal ever? I got a parcel of land for my buyer for half of what it was listed at. Why? The agent told me more information than I had asked for. I knew their client was looking to dump the property and didn't care much about what they got for it. Don't tell me what your client paid for the property, don't tell me how much money they have or need, don't tell me anything. Keep it between you and your client. If you tell me, I'm going to use it and my client will know everything you tell me. That's my responsibility to them. Remember, I owe you (as an agent) nothing other than an offer. I want us to be friends and happy together, but I will throw all of that away to get my client what they want and need. I'm not here to make friends with other agents (but I'm not about to be confrontational), I'm here to please my clients and continue a business relationship with them.
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Matt Stigliano, Realtor® Becker Properties | (210) 646-HOME | www.RErockstar.com
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