The Art of the Deal

Westport WPA Art Committee on Flickr By CT State Library

Recently, I was discussing a buyer who selected a Realtor based on her assertion that she “aggressively pursued the best possible price” on a home. I wondered whatever happened to the art of the deal?

Sure, we all want the best price, and no one wants to feel they overpaid for their home, especially these days when it’s a buyer’s market out there. Every Realtor who is working as a Buyer Agent has a fiduciary responsibility to represent your best interests…including getting a good price on the house. Sounds like an aggressive approach might be proactive, right?

Not so fast.

That Realtor also has an obligation to do their best to balance price with getting you into the home you want. An insultingly lowball offer can not only turn off a seller, but it can convince them to accept another offer without giving you a chance to counteroffer or negotiate. There’s a balance to be struck, and finding a mutually satisfactory agreement on price takes respect and care on both sides.

An aggressive or ill-informed offer can sink the process very quickly. I’ll give you an example: A 2 bedroom condo is listed for $325,000. A comparative market analysis (CMA) shows that another condo in the same development sold for $250,000 last month, and the aggressive Realtor suggests offering $245,000 and planning to negotiate from there. That looks reasonable, right?

Not really.

The condo that sold for $245,000 had been a middle unit college apartment for the owner’s 6 sons, and was sold “as is” and needed plenty of TLC to bring it up to cleanliness standards, much less happy livability! The owner of the condo priced at $325,000 has an end unit in pristine condition, and is offering to leave their state-of-the art appliances, too. Needless to say, the seller is insulted by the offer, and comes back with a counteroffer that’s only $1000 less than asking. That leaves the buyer no room to negotiate, and leaves the seller looking for a more respectful, better informed buyer!

Another possibility is that there are two offers coming in within days of each other. One buyer aggressively lowballs his offer, counting on a buyer’s market. The other, after doing research and discussing his Realtor’s advice, makes an offer that’s on the low end of reasonable, but not outrageous. Which buyer would YOU negotiate with for YOUR home?

Exactly.

The aggressive approach can work against sellers as well. If you price your home aggressively high and negotiate with tiny fractions of the price, a buyer can decide that negotiating your home is more work than it’s worth, and will happily go elsewhere to a similar home.

How do you know if your Realtor understands the art of the deal and is aggressive enough without alienating others in the process? Find a Realtor who does a comprehensive CMA, and can back their estimate of a home’s fair market value with examples and real numbers. A Realtor should be able to present the home’s pros and cons, and show you in the CMA where that house should fit, and should be willing to negotiate and be flexible according to your needs, not their ego. And don’t assume a low ball offer will fly on a short sale scenario either, the banks want the most money they can get too.

With the right Realtor standing by you, and good communication between you and your Realtor, you have every chance of selling your home at a good price for the market, and/or buying your next dream home at a cost you can afford.

That’s the true art of the deal!

Not sure where to start when looking for a Realtor? Contact me and I’ll help you find the right one for you.

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