Am I For Sale?

Every time I submit an offer these days it seems that the listing agent wants to give me a 600 word, double-spaced, sales-pitch on why the property is worth what they’re asking.

Since when does every salesperson need a sales pitch?

I’m 0-3 in my football pool.

No matter how bright the sun shines, or how lovely the day is, all I can think about is the fact that I’m 0-3 in the football pool.  Goddam replacement referees

Last week, a friend of mine sent me an email about making a trade in our pool, and it was as condescending as it was laughable.

We are in our 11th year of the football pool with the same ten guys.  Our pool is (almost) like no other, and the one thing that differentiates our pool from all the rest, is that all ten of our participants are knowledgable, experienced, and on a pretty even level with the rest of the coaches.

So my friend emailed me to say, “I think I’ve found a way that we can improve your team.”

Yeah, thanks.

How condescending!

We’ve been doing this for eleven years, so please don’t assume YOU can tell ME how to improve MY team.  It doesn’t matter if I’m in first place or last place – I know what’s best for my team.

My friend went on to offer me some stupid trade in which I would basically give up my best player for two so-so players off his team.  But it wasn’t the trade itself that bothered me; it was the attempted justification!

His email consisted of about three large paragraphs in which he attempted to convince me that this deal made sense for me (then why would he be making it?), and that it would improve my team.

When I said, “No, thanks” he wrote back again!  Another attempt to get me to see things his way.

This happens all the time in real estate, and it will never stop.

That’s what we do, right?  We negotiate!

But sometimes, what agents say to each other goes beyond “negotiating.”

Sometimes, it’s just a battle of two people trying to convince the other that the sky is not blue, and the world is not flat.

I try to be a “straight shooter” when it comes to dealing with offers, although I put that term in quotations because every slime-bucket says he’s a straight-shooter.  It’s tough to be straight about anything in this business though.  You can’t make an offer for $450,000 and say “This is our first, best, and last offer – please accept or reject, we just don’t want to sign back ten times,” because nobody will believe you!  Nine times out of ten, with that methodology, you’ll get a sign-back.  It’s a matter of finding that one agent you can identify with, in order to hash out a deal without all the BS.

So last week, I was working on two deals – one as the buyer’s agent, and one as the seller’s agent.

In each case, the other agent wrote me a few choice paragraphs trying to justify his point, and in each case, I felt it was somewhat silly.

But the amazing part – and the whole point of this story, is that the two points contradicted!

Let’s call these two properties “CONDO A” and “CONDO B” just to simplify things and keep it all private.

I was the listing agent for Condo-A, and I received three offers of around $280,000 for a $299,900 listing.  Each of the three offers came with the same attempt to get inside my mind, and change my thought process.  Each one had an awful sales attempt.

One of the buyer’s agents wrote me the following:

“As you know, the market is different then back in March & April when it was extremely hot. Now the market and particularly condo market has cooled noticeably. We can agree without much debate. Regardless, we are submitting this offer which is based strictly on the comparables. Attached are the units that are similar.”

Agree?

Disagree?

To each, their own.

But on the very same day that I received this email from a buyer’s agent on my listing at Condo-A, I received the following email from a seller’s agent on Condo-B:

“…we have seen growth at different rates throughout the core in 2011 and 2012, and some pockets are up and some are down, I think to say 5% growth is fairly conservative and reasonable for this type of property in this area.”

The email went on to include about four different mathematical calculations, based on assumptions, and numbers/statistics with no merit.

So do you see what I see?  These two emails completely contradict each other!

The first agent is trying to say that the market has cooled since the spring.

The second agent is trying to say that prices are up 5%, and that this is a “conservative” estimate.

Am I for sale?

Is my mind for sale?  My knowledge?  My experience?

Why is everybody trying to sell me?

I know, I know – it’s what we do for a living.  I get it.

But three days after my buddy offered me a miserable, terrible, insulting, and condescending offer in the football pool, I was able to work out a deal with another coach – somebody who I’ve dealt with before, who truly is a straight-shooter, in a deal that helped both our teams.  There was no sales attempts there – just the straight goods, between two people who knew exactly what the products (in this case: imaginary football players) were worth.

Isn’t this the way to do things?  Or is that just wishful thinking?

In the case of Condo-A, I told all three buyer agents “The first one to bring me the full asking price gets the condo.”  About an hour later, I received an offer for full-asking, while the other two agents improved their offers slightly, and gave me more emails with attempted justifications.

In the case of Condo-B, I told my buyer to walk away, and he did.  The condo is still on the market, and we’ll wait it out.  I don’t think it will sell, but if it does, then both my buyer and I are okay with it.

I know that our job as Realtors is to work as hard as we can to get every last penny for our clients, be it buyer or seller.  But that doesn’t mean you can turn an apple into an orange, no matter how hard you try.

In some cases, it’s like trying to paint a silver-brick, gold, and pass it off as such.

As Realtors, we all have access to the same information, and while it’s tough to pinpoint the exact value of real estate, you can come pretty close.

But there’s nothing worse than the agent (you Realtors know what I’m talking about) who insists on presenting his or her offer in person, and proceeds to offer 89% of list price and then provide “comparables” that sold in different areas, in different time frames, and have nothing to do with the subject property.  It’s even worse when that agent refuses to leave your kitchen table…

I’m not saying that we should all be cut from the same cloth, and act the same way.

But I can’t STAND when somebody tries to sell me, or get inside my mind and change it.

Tell me once, twice, and a third time that my $400,000 listing is only worth $350,000, but it doesn’t mean I’m going to listen.  Give me a third and fourth paragraph full of statistics that you made up only to serve yourself; but that doesn’t mean I’ll change my mind.

Don’t sell me.

Marshawn Lynch is NOT worth the same as Darren Sproles, and the wide receiver you just picked up as a free agent.  I don’t care how hard you try and convince me; I’m not listening…

10 Comments

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  1. Mstar says:

    David, you didn’t say which one you agreed with (ie condo mkt down or up?). I personally don’t see anything wrong with agents justifying their /clients’ offer price provided its based on facts (ie comparable units or building recent sales to determine a trend, sales volume, etc). Of course the offer shouldn’t being insulting either but I don’t think offer of 280k for 299k is.

  2. lui says:

    Talking about pools I lost three considerable bets on teams that covered the last few minutes of the game and one of them was the Green Bay Seattle game…I know its only money but its my money!…Im tending to lean that the markets are slowing down in sales but prices relatively are holding up well but of course time will tell if the lack of sales equal to price reductions.In Vancouver good locations like Yaletown,Gastown,etc sales are slow for condo and lofts but pricing only showing a slight weakness but the ultra expensive homes are definitely feeling the impact of slow sales.

  3. moonbeam! says:

    Late to the party here … JS objects to what he perceives is a too-young know-it-all arrogant prick…. George perceives condescension, finds it annoying. Derek finds it all tongue & cheek… JVR says it’s truthful…McBloggert says reasonably smart… I think the message is a fair opinion.

  4. JVR says:

    PS what does ‘someone like you’ refer to? I see a successful dude who has the most-read blog in the city. I think when the market changes, this guy will do even more business because people respect his honesty. Anyways I sound like I work for him so i’ll end this now!!!

  5. Derek says:

    I think JS is missing the point here. If this blog wasn’t arrogant/brash/outspoken/opinionated/whatever you wanna call it, then it would be like all the others and boring as hell. I take everything David says as tongue and cheek but that’s just me.

  6. George says:

    The only time you get straight shooters and respectful offers is when both parties assume the other person is smart. Once there is a perceived inequity of intelligence, you get condescension. There is nothing more annoying than a person who thinks they are the smartest person in the room because they simply cannot understand when someone does not agree with their point of view.

  7. JS says:

    Don’t get me wrong, I like reading your blog but sometimes you are just way too arrogant… you should lose that…

  8. JS says:

    You know it all, don’t you? You are too young not to listen what people say or do… and this is not a good time in RE for someone like you to be an arrogant prick…

    1. McBloggert says:

      @JS

      Yikes, and here I thought I woke up on the wrong side of the bed! I am going to make a judgement call about you, you are snarky and mean – that is not a nice character trait. You should really lose it.

      I think what David is saying here is “don’t play me like a fool, I take offense at that”.

      We assume that David does his due diligence and prices his product or offers on a product carefully. What is being described here is something I do in my mind when I see something that is a little unattainable. I think of a way I could justify it…however, being reasonably smart or just reasonable, I recognize that you can’t wish something into being true, no matter how hard to try to justify it. E.g. these lame business cases David is talking about.

      I would posit that the agents writing these justifications for their offers are the young unseasoned ones. It sounds like a tactic my parents would give me if I were offering on a house. “just tell them that the market it down, and they should take less, maybe include an article from the globe, that will scare them!”.

      1. JVR says:

        I don’t think arrogant is the right word, but prick definitely isn’t. I didn’t see anything in there that was arrogant, just trughful. I’m in a football pool though so I can definitely relate! And FYI Lynch is miles and miles above Sproles especially now that the Saints are 0-3 but I’m sure you knew that!!!!

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