Since I was a small pup in real estate, I was taught that we agents should keep the buyer and seller apart at all costs. God forbid, they might find they don’t need us or something. We agents were supposed to control everyone else to the nth degree.
But over the years, I’ve discovered something interesting. For the most part, buyers and sellers are adults. Sometimes more so than the agents involved.
I understand the concern – one of the parties might blurt out in a moment of weakness “sure we’ll take $50,000 less than our asking price!” or “if we don’t sign a contract by tomorrow night, we’ll be living on the street!” As an agent, I would be a little upset by those comments – they go to the core of my job, which is negotiating.
However, I had a recent settlement – I represented the buyer – where the seller’s agent was responding to the buyer’s home inspection requests. She got very blustery and said, “There’s no way my sellers (note the “my” before sellers, dear readers – it’s often a bad sign!) are going to do those repairs! You think my sellers are going to rebuild the house???” Meanwhile, unbeknownst to us agents, the buyer drove by the house and there was the seller, doing yard work. One thing led to another, and while the other agent was still blustering, the actual parties to the contract (note: we agents are not parties to the contract) worked it out.
It’s not something I recommend – I would never suggest to a client that he go talk directly to the other side of the deal. Some people handle it better than others, some really want that intermediary (us) in there. I’ve had curmudgeonly clients who would have only made things worse. Even had a mean drunk for a client – I would never have wanted him talking directly to the buyer – what a disaster that would have been!
But I find that most buyers and sellers really are adults and after all, it’s their contract, not mine.
© 2011 Susan Pruden. All rights reserved.