We all know what B.S. stands for, and we all know what B.S. is.
But most importantly, we all know how to identify the most incredible example of B.S. when it’s starring us right in the face…
Remember the movie “Liar, Liar” with Jim Carrey?
It was a pretty good flick; at the time.
I distinctly recall the scene where his son is playing a round of “What does your Daddy do?” with his classmates and he announces that his father is a “liar.”
His teacher says, “Oh, you must mean he’s a lawyer, not a liar!”
The sheepish kid just stares at ground and concedes, “Yeah, I guess….”
Lawyers are liars, to some extent. It’s part of the job and it’s accepted.
So too are real estate agents.
You have to lie sometimes – it’s inherent in any negotiation.
But there are big lies and small lies; bad lies and good lies; and then sometimes there are those lies that are just so ridiculous that they insult your intelligence.
Those lies are just complete B.S.
A used car salesman will always tell a potential buyer, “Now I don’t want to pressure you in any way, but I do have a nice young couple from Peterborough coming back to look at this ’89 Le Baron convertible, and they’re not the first ones to fall in love with it either!”
We often do the same thing as real estate agents.
As a listing agent, you want to let people know that there has been interest in the property, even if there hasn’t been. Your job is to market the property but also to do everything you can to find a buyer willing to pay top dollar.
If you go to an open house and you ask the agent, “Have you been busy today?” What kind of agent is going to answer, “Nah, no way, I think I’ve had one person through this crappy old house.”
But there is a point when feigning interest can go too far.
For example, if you said that you’ve had ninety showings on the property, wouldn’t the savvy buyer think to him or herself, “Well, how come none of those ninety people have come forth with an offer? If ninety rational buyers aren’t interested in this property, then surely there must be a reason.”
I suppose an idealist might suggest that, “Problems can arise when stretching the truth, which is why you should always be honest!”
But a listing agent has to convey that there is interest in the property or else he loses any advantage or bargaining position.
On Thursday, I submitted an offer for a condo by the waterfront.
The unit was fairly priced at $325,000, and it was exactly what my client was looking for. It offered him the space he needed without breaking the bank, and this unit had no parking space, meaning the price reflected the larger unit size rather than an underground parking space that he’d never use.
The market is very busy at the moment, but only “the best” get multiple offers and sell for over the asking price.
This unit has been on the market for 12 days, which isn’t an eternity by any stretch. But in this entry-level price point, any of “the best” units will sell in 1-3 days if they are well priced and in the most popular buildings. We’re in that busy of a spring market already.
This unit didn’t fall into that category as the building is not the most popular and it wasn’t under-priced for multiple offers, but my client isn’t looking to be in competition and he is very aware of which buildings won’t afford him that luxury.
In this market, it’s very fair to assume that if an entry-level condo hasn’t been scooped up during the first week of the listing, then it’s not worth the asking price. I know it’s crazy to assume that something “should” sell in a matter of days, but there are scores of active, entry-level buyers out there, and buyers are savvy enough to sort through the CityPlace and Fleet Street garbage, eliminate the over-priced crap that’s going to sit on the market for 184 days, and then evaluate what’s left.
We submitted an offer of $310,000, which I think is fair. The property isn’t worth the $325,000 asking price, and we had a little flexibility on price.
But what I received from the listing agent was perhaps the biggest and worst load of B.S. that I have seen in quite a long time.
On the fax cover page, she wrote:
“Thanks for your offer. We have had three offers, all close to a deal. The owner is willing to try to work out a deal with your client before going back to the previous interested parties.”
What a load of B.S.!
Can you see it?
Can you read that once over and identify ten different ways in which that is thoroughly ridiculous?
I understand that you need to demonstrate some sort of bargaining position right off the bat, but this takes things too far.
I read her statement this way:
“Thanks for your offer. I am a terrible salesman! I keep receiving offers but I’m so incompetent that I can’t seem to turn any offers into sales! You’re the fourth person interested now, in twelve days, yet the condo remains unsold. I wish I was better at my job…”
Yeah, that’s about right.
She could have said, “Thanks for your offer – we’re still getting showings every day and the owner is in no hurry.”
But no, she took things way too far.
She tried to pretend like in twelve days for a condo that isn’t in high-demand, she has now received four separate offers, and they’ve been “really close” but she hasn’t been able to pull the trigger.
Now she’s even throwing in, “We’ll try to work with you on this and we promise that we’ll hold off on contacting the bazillion people who are lined up outside to buy it until you’ve had your fair chance.”
If this agent received an offer on the condo, she had a very good chance of turning it into a sale.
If she received two offers on this condo (keep in mind – these offers weren’t at the same time, ie. multiples, but four offers in 12 days can be strung together to leverage somebody to ante up), then I don’t see any way in which a half-decent agent can’t turn one of these two offers into a deal.
If she received three offers on this condo, how can she not play all three parties off one-another and find somebody to bat an eyelash?
And now if I’m the fourth person to offer, and they’ve all been “close to a deal,” then how is this property still available?
Well, because none of this ever happened.
I’m assuming we are the very first offer, and everything else was B.S.
I’m okay with a little B.S., but this just insulted my intelligence.
They signed back at $322,000, and we signed back at our max – $315,000. There is no reason to go any higher, and I never push my clients without a reason.
My client is already prepared to offer on a smaller unit – actually a ‘large bachelor’ – tomorrow morning for a Bay Street property. We’ve identified three properties, three prices that make sense, and we’ll see which one we can work with.
I told the listing agent all of this because sometimes you just have to be honest in order to get a deal done.
But she said, “Yeah, well, maybe in a few days your client will have changed his mind and we’ll get this ball rolling again.”
She just doesn’t get it.
You can’t want something to happen so bad that it just magically does.
If I were a betting man, I’d bet that tomorrow we offer on the Bay Street property and it’s accepted the first time around. The property is well priced and we’re going in slightly under the asking price.
I don’t have a 180 I.Q., but I’m also not a complete moron.
Sometimes I wish my industry colleagues would be a little more transparent and leave the complete B.S. at the door.
The load of B.S. that I was fed on Thursday made absolutely no sense. I talked to a few of my colleagues about it, and they laughed and agreed that the agent is either lying, or is telling the truth and she’s the worst agent in the world and can’t close a door, let alone a deal.
I’m sure that if the listing agent actually sat down and analyzed what she said, she would probably realize that.
I don’t mind being lied to in the course of a negotiation, but I hate being treated like a moron.
I’d almost call it “unprofessional,” but I’m really not sure how to define that term anymore…
Have a great weekend, everybody!Back To Top Back To Comments