A few weeks ago, I talked about how to mitigate the most stressful part about being a Realtor, like when you have to rely on an unskilled, inexperienced agent on the other side of a transaction.
I encourage you to re-read that post. It demonstrates how – by acting proactively and initiating a co-operative and respectful tone with your “opponent” – you can gain much more control over a negotiation than you previously thought.
Continuing with that train of thought, have you ever received an offer loaded with unusual or unnecessary terms and conditions? When this happens, does it throw up multiple red flags?
It sure does for me! It tells me that the other agent is likely to be difficult and unreasonable. My clients instinctively see red flags also, which makes them less willing to negotiate on the price. This is counter-productive from the buyer’s perspective, so why the heck do they do it?
It’s almost always because the agent is either trying to mitigate a past bad experience, or (adopt your snarkiest voice), “they’re simply following their clients’ instructions.”
Yes, I know you’re supposed to follow your client’s lawful instructions! But this doesn’t mean you shouldn’t speak up if you think your buyer clients are making a mistake.
What the heck are you talking about, Ted?
I’m talking about anything that draws attention away from the two most essential parts in every purchase contract.
1. The price
2. The closing date
If you’re able to co-operate with the sellers on the closing date, you can immediately concentrate on the No. 1 most important part of every contract – the price. The quicker you get to this, the better. Everything else is a distraction.
There are all kinds of whacky and weird terms that I’ve seen in contracts, usually initiated by the agent “because they had one bad experience back in 1995,” so they’ve been writing this extra term in every offer, ever since.
Okay, I get it that you had a bad experience. But maybe you should reconsider if you’re honestly acting in your clients’ best interest. Adding undue complexity to an offer to minimize a slight risk could cost your clients much more than it’s worth.
Sometimes even the simplest thing can throw people off. For example, let’s say your buyers want to add a term that the sellers will shampoo the carpets before closing. That sounds harmless, right?
It’s a softball example, and the truth is it probably is not a big deal. But you don’t know. The sellers might see it as a supreme pain in the butt; one more thing they need to worry about when they’re already overwhelmed co-ordinating their move.
Or they might even take offence.
“They think our house is dirty? We had everything thoroughly cleaned before we listed, including shampooing the carpets. How insulting!”
Hey, I still get surprised about how emotional my clients sometimes get over the tiniest of details. So is it worth it to take the chance over something so inconsequential? Wouldn’t it be better to concentrate on getting the best possible price, rather than complicating the offer with inconsequential minor details?
Sometimes getting that carpet cleaned could inadvertently cost your client an extra $5,000 and they won’t even know it.
The point is, no matter what minor details your buyer client wants you to add to an offer, I suggest you always counsel them to concentrate on the big picture:
“A simple, uncomplicated offer is always more appealing to the seller. The sooner we get to negotiating the price – with no distractions – the more successful we’re likely to be.”
Don’t kid yourself. Every tiny detail you include in an offer has value to both the buyer and seller, and they rarely see things the same way.