Recently, I was representing a buyer for a property in South County.  It was a very nice house, and there had been a lot of interest in the home when it was listed for sale.  While there weren’t multiple offers at the time our offer was accepted, there was a backup contract on the property should my buyers fail to close.

With the accepted offer comes the property inspection.  We met on a Saturday morning with the home inspector, and he showed us all of the issues that he saw with the property.  There was nothing in the inspection that would scare off my buyers, so we listed the repairs that we’d like taken care of and sent over the inspection notice.  With the notice, I also told the seller’s agent that we weren’t looking for anything out of the ordinary, and my buyer would be fine with repairs, credit, or even a selling price reduction to accommodate the seller.  I also indicated that I was available to discuss the inspection notice should any questions or clarifications be needed.

About two days later, I got a phone call from the seller’s agent.  She said that the sellers were in the process of a big move and that they would feel better offering a credit versus making the repairs themselves.  I told her that was totally acceptable.  The credit offered wasn’t going to work, I told her, because the repairs could cost far more than the credit.  That’s when the agent flipped.  She said, “I suggest you take this offer because we have a backup contract and my sellers are already looking for a way out of this contract.”  There was the strong arm.  The agent was suggesting that her side was in the position of strength and that we should just accept whatever they proposed and move on.  Now, I work for the buyer.  I am aware of what just took place, and I would offer that this wasn’t the best strategy in this particular situation because of my own negotiating stance.  Here’s why:  The seller agent position was that we were only interested in a cash or credit negotiation.  However, we weren’t.  We were just looking to get repairs made in good faith.  When you try to come at us with a strong arm tactic, it’s perceived as overdone and unnecessary.

I told the seller’s agent that we were just looking for repairs to be made, and I explained that two items were things that could really be much more expensive than what was being offered.  I also explained that we just needed the items fixed.  I suggested that she get estimates and send them to us, AND, we would take less in credit if the estimates suggested that they were in fact not as expensive as we think they are.  Within about 3 hours, the seller’s agent rescinded their offer and explained that they would be looking for estimates and would get back to us when they found out more information.

In my own experience, if you negotiate every offer as if it is your last offer on earth, you end up hurting your client on both the seller side and the buyer side.  The reason is that the other side is only able to negotiate within a window of opportunity.  When you step outside of that window, no deal can be made.  This is why I like to always negotiate with options.  In the case above, it made no sense for the sellers to try to get out of the contract due to reasonable repairs.  The seller agent knew it too, and that is why I was surprised that she tried to strong arm my buyers.

When you work with Deerwood Realty, you have options.  We work to get to know you, and we know what is available for sale in St. Louis and how to work within our market.  We believe that buying or selling your home is an art, and not absolute science.  If this sounds like the kind of agent you would want when buying or selling your home, please give us a call.  You’ll be in fantastic shape to buy the home of your dreams.