Dear Zuess,
The buyer’s agents is really making things difficult. He doesn’t return my calls, his emails are difficult to understand and don’t deal with the pertinent issues, the offer he sent is messy and careless and he’s unpleasant. I really want to tell him to go away but my sellers haven’t had any other offers and they need to get their home sold. I feel like even if we get a deal together, it might not close. How should I advise my clients?

House Key

Dear Mila,
Don’t you wish you could send all the bad agents back to school for more training? They make our life so much more difficult than it needs to be.
In real estate negotiations, we have no control over who our negotiation counterpart is. While we can chose our clients, we cannot choose who brings an offer on our client’s home or who has the listing of the property our client wants to buy. I believe that it is our responsibility to have advanced negotiation skills so that we have the very best chance of a successful negotiation with whoever shows up.
This doesn’t mean that we have some magic bullet that we can shoot off at the offer and win. This means that we have developed the nuanced skills of communication, rapport building, empathy and understanding. It means that we are able to connect with people from different cultural and generational backgrounds. It means that we can turn off our own internal dialogue, observe our counterpart objectively and respond intelligently.
In this situation, I would try to build enough rapport with the buyer’s agent to establish if he has a qualified buyer who is able and willing to purchase your clients home. If he does, look for a way to help him make the deal. By modelling collaborative behaviour we can usually influence the other side to also be somewhat collaborative. You may want to make a sellers offer to the buyer. That gives you control over the contract and the promise of a commission may motivate the buyer’s agent to be more cooperative.
Be patient, be observant and don’t let your own emotions get in the way.