Real Estate Agents Playing Nice: A Sign of the Times

Not long ago there was a time when agents for buyers had great difficulty scheduling appointments with seller’s agents as property lasted only days on the market.  In fact, as an agent who has represented predominantly sellers for my entire career, I long for the days when I dictated when people could view a property and would often be able to demand that people see property only on specific days at certain hours.  It was the most optimal way to create a buzz about a property by having multiple people in an apartment at the same time discussing where they would put their furniture. 

On the flip side, I remember the many appointment requests on behalf of buyers whom I represented that were answered with replies such as "I can only show at 10:30AM on Thursdays darling…I’m not taking the train down from Greenwich any other time" or  "if your buyers want to see it, I’m showing from 4-5PM on Tuesday and 12-1:30PM on Sunday and then we will go to highest, best and final offers over the asking price." 

Such confidence that everyone (me included) had that the properties that they represented would not only sell but would do so quickly and at prices beyond the ask.  Today the market is different.  If someone calls my team for an appointment to view one of my exclusive properties, we do everything in our power to accommodate them at their convenience.  In a market with more inventory and fewer buyers, it is imperative that when someone wants to see your home, they are accommodated because there is NO GUARANTEE that they will come back around if they don’t get to see it the first time.  Fewer buyers have more choices and you want all of those buyers to view your home.  They won’t buy it if they don’t see it.

The current Manhattan real estate market has brought about a shift in broker/agent psychology and behavior and many agents are playing nice again.   Now when someone calls to view one of my properties they get in when they want.   Conversely, when I or a member of my team calls another seller’s agent for an appointment the replies now sound more like this:  "We would love to show it to you at your convenience, you just let us know what works for you."  And even when a request is made for a last minute appointment we often hear "I can have someone meet you there in an hour with no problem…let me get right back to you to confirm."

As someone who has been entrenched in the Manhattan real estate market for 16 years, I much prefer the current serene interaction with my colleagues than the fervent and tumultuous one of the housing boom (don’t get me wrong…I’m not suggesting for one moment that I didn’t LOVE the housing boom and this isn’t a piece on market conditions).  I do think however that we should all try to remember how much healthier it is to be kind to one another the next time the we have such a frenzied housing market.  I know…there will likely be plenty of time to prepare for that.

3 Responses to Real Estate Agents Playing Nice: A Sign of the Times

  1. avatar Pete says:

    Doug , can you clarify a bit – Although buyers have more leverage , isn’t it still a sellers market, high demand but low supply (inventory) , if it were a buyer’s market prices would drop but instead as is pointed out Manhattan prices are rising although more slowly because of the wall street economy.
    Are you referring to the last 5-7 years ago, ie 2000-2006?
    Also one should be courteous prompt and polite regardless of the market. Even with large inventory a buyer can be turned off with some brokers and may opt for one listing over another

  2. Demand has decreased a bit and inventory is up 40% since the beginning of the year. It is a more “balanced market” with properties selling after more negotiating than in the recent past.

  3. avatar 10036 says:

    Seems like more of a “stalemate” market. Relatively little under $2.5m is selling, and inventory is building. There seems to be a significant bid/ask spread as buyers refuse to pay more than last year in the current environment, and sellers refuse to accept less than a premium to last year’s comps.

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