As is all too common anymore in home sales, I found myself in the middle of a heated inspection negotiation. I was representing the buyers, and the sellers were represented by a real estate agent as well. When we did the inspection, there were issues that came up that we couldn’t have seen during our first time through the property. For example, you really have no idea what shape the septic system is in before you get an inspection.
At issue was the amount of a credit for repairs. The seller side predictably wanted to give less of a credit than what the actual repairs would cost. As I was representing the buyers, I suggested that they get estimates for the actual work to be done. Some of the estimates came back but they were missing two key estimates. Because the inspection notice must be resolved within a certain amount of time, there wouldn’t be enough time to get the other estimates. I was a bit stumped with a way forward. I sent the paperwork to my seller and I explained everything I knew about the situation and the positives and negatives of each decision.
Then, my buyer emailed me a simple question. “What about this?” I thanked her immediately, as this was going to be the way forward. I was a little surprised by what had just happened. The buyer came up with a better solution than I had at the time, but why? I think it has to do with how we all look at things differently. I was operating in a certain mindset, and there are biases within that mindset that didn’t allow me to see the solution right in front of me! Meanwhile, my buyer, looking only to the deal she was in, didn’t have the same biases in her thoughts.
We’ve talked about getting to know your clients in a real estate transaction before. When you are able to freely communicate with your buyers and sellers, these “breakthroughs” in thoughts can be of a huge benefit when looking to buy or sell your home.
A criticism could be that I “should have known” the solution given my expertise. I think that misses the point. As real estate agents, we should all be looking to collaborate with our home buyers and home sellers to get them through the sale process as efficiently as possible. You can only do that if you are willing to accept that you aren’t perfect, you have inherent biases, and that the best way to overcome these limitations is to take in all of the available information around you.
Sometimes, clients want a nudge in their decision. Sometimes clients believe they know far more than real estate agents and they end up killing their own deals with ridiculous demands. It’s definitely a careful balance and that is why I wanted to write about it today. You can, without a doubt, be listening to your clients and still get a great deal for them. Keep this in mind the next time you get stumped like I was!