Hiring A High Tech Agent? A Discount Broker? Be Careful What You Wish For ~ You Just Might Get It. (And "lose the house" to another buyer)
Often an Agent who is Clearly Apprehensive at the Thought of Presenting Your Offer "Live, in Real Time and in Person" is certainly not at the top of his/her game
Last year, I watched an interview with comedic writer/director/actor Harold Ramis. What resonated for me was his description of veteran actress Jane Lynch as "scary good." A great term, except, it's only used in Hollywood. Weeks later, I caught an interview with comedic actor Steve Carell, in which, he admitted to nervously counting down the the days until he would have to improv a scene with Jane Lynch. He was very clear why he was so nervous, he simply felt he was not at her level of expertise.
It's no surprise that top people in any field can instantly identify their industry's best-of-the-best. Although, that is not always the case with lay people. However, most consumers and mediocre professionals know when they are dealing with a serious professional. That alone gets a buyer's offer accepted ~ provided the offer is presented in person.
The Nail in The Coffin of Agent Presentation (Negotiating) Skills
In real estate, being hired because of one's impressive high tech know-how, and/or discounted fees, and getting a client's offer accepted through negotiating and presentation skills, are at polar opposites. Which skill-set wins out? Not the scanned offer, followed by Blackberry messages and hours later, because the agent was not present, the clarifying Blue Tooth Q & A. It is the in-person presentation.
The discount agents and brokers mentioned in Greg Swan's, Kevin Boer's and/or Kris Berg's articles, are even less likely to present offers in-person ~ that would require more time and quite frankly, a skill that was not passed onto them. However, I did recently persuade a discount agent to present his buyer's offer in person, which was unprofessional and..well..ludicrous. I politely responded to his offer: We missed dinner for this? He explained he "writes lots of offers and sometimes they get accepted," and added, "even I'm surprised." The seller and I thanked him and his waiting buyer for their time, and politely showed them the door.
A trueism: There are a third entering the industry, a third staying and a third leaving
No wonder presenting an offer is a lost art. While some veteran agents are convinced, (since Mike Ferry's "just fax the offer" hey day of the late 80's), or rationalize that an in-person presentation is not only poor time management, in fact, feel that it's a complete waste of time. Nothing can be further from the truth! A skilled negotiator face-to-face with all the players can get the offer accepted outright, or an acceptable counter-offer, in less than an hour from the time of "presentation of the offer." Conversely, lacking that combination, all the time and effort a buyer puts into an offer~is subjected to an electronic presentation. Which might "cost the buyer that house," resulting in the circle of lost weekends, and the trouble of writing offers that don't get accepted. However, if an electronic offer is accepted, strangers doing business with strangers, can experience a series of misunderstandings and miscommunication or worse, litigation.
Why would you not want to meet someone with whom you or your client might be entering into a contract? In Herb Cohen's classic book You Can Negotiate Anything, he sites emphasis on three important activities: Building Trust, Gaining Commitment and Managing Opposition in an collaborative process. Hard to do electronically and/or by the ill-prepared. As the seller's agent I have politely encourage a buyer's agent "don't worry, I'll make you look good," to personally present his/her buyer's offer, and their opening statement is "we've written 8 offers and none of them have been accepted." Understandable if you are writing offers in Palo Alto in a seller's market. Otherwise, a "train wreck." Unbeknown to the buyer, their agent can't negotiate their way out of a paper bag, and/or the buyer has not gotten the message. Either way, they are not working as a team.
What is the difference between Commercial and Residential Real Estate? Emotions. (Ask any Commercial Broker)
Last year, when an email announced Daniel Goleman would be speaking at the Commonwealth Club of San Jose, I bought a ticket immediately. Goleman, who authored the groundbreaking book Emotional Intelligence, writes, "people who are emotionally adept~know how to manage their own feelings well, and read and deal effectively with other people's feelings." NOTE: Think Negotiating Price, Terms & Conditions.
Scientists say one's "Social IQ" is Wired Into Our Brain (An Agent with a High Social IQ equals "Scary Good")
Goleman writes in his book Social Intelligence, to include empathy and social skills and, "being able to read a situation to know how to make a good impression and being able to sense another's feelings and intentions." Note: Read a Room. When as a buyer's broker I get a contingent-offer, (contingent upon the sale of my buyer's home), accepted in a seller's market in a multiple-offer situation, you know it was an in-person presentation. In the white-hot market of 2000, I got my buyer's full price offer, (not over the list price as was customary), accepted, verbally. The negotiating was all done over the phone while I was out-of-town. The Sunday Open House was canceled and the listing MLS status changed to "Pending Sale." The Contract was subsequently written and ratified the following week. NOTE: When it comes to getting an offer accepted, choose your agent carefully.
Pat Kapowich, "Negotiating Smooth Transactions Throughout The South Bay"