I just had the bittersweet experience of receiving a phone call from an on-site sales agent and colleague informing me that one of my prospective buyers just reached out to her to try to "strike a better deal without me." The experience is sweet because the on-site had the courtesy to inform me of this client’s attempt at circumventing me. And if you don’t understand the bitter part, well then, I will explain.
My client, a grandmother of 7 and the mother/ mother-in law of a couple whom I have assisted with both a sale and a purchase in the past several years called me the week after Christmas to discuss her and her husband’s desire to purchase a one bedroom Manhattan condo as a pied a terre. She spends a considerable amount of time visiting 5 of her grandchildren who are both in New York and New Jersey and thought it was time to stop throwing money away in hotels all of the time. So after she informed me the dates that she would be able to view properties, I did a comprehensive search of all one bedroom condos between $750,000 and $1.5M and emailed them to her. She quickly responded with a list of those she would like to see and all were below $1M (this is significant for later part of the story). We scheduled a full day of viewing (of course I hired a car and driver) this past Friday and visited only the properties that she wanted to see in the areas that she specified. One of the new developments resonated with her so she called her husband to discuss an offer with me. After nailing down the details of the offer, I dropped her off to meet her daughter. As she exited the car she stated what a successful day she felt that we had and that she was very excited about making the offer.
That happened this past Friday. On Saturday morning, I received a call from her suggesting that she thought she may have "miscommunicated" with me and she was concerned that she wasn’t seeing more properties on Saturday and Sunday. When i explained to her that we saw everything available in her specified areas and at her price point, she indicated that she could spend up to $1.5M and that she would open up her areas to most of Manhattan. No problem. I and my team members did another exhaustive search and successfully gained access to another dozen or so properties for her to view over the weekend and this morning. Nothing that she saw over the weekend tickled her fancy as much as the new development project that she bid on Friday and I received a message this morning that she wanted to cancel our appointments for today and "thank you very much." Nothing was asked or mentioned about her bid…hmmmmm???
So back to the bittersweet phone call. The on-site agent for the new development that we bid on just called me to inform me that this buyer just contacted her and said that she "may buy a larger apartment from the developer if he will reduce the price by my commission." Now I couldn’t be more serious or honest when I say that this behavior doesn’t shock me at all but what shocks me is that it came from this particular buyer (she even hugged and kissed the on-site agent before we left on Friday…she is a sweet grandmother!)
I share stories like this with my readers not only to vent but to shed additional light on the incredible distrust that continues to exist between real estate agents and their buyers (it goes both ways). I operate my business with the highest level of integrity and I’m hopeful that my buyers will do the same. Perhaps it’s naive but incidents like this will not change the way that I do business. They will however keep me mindful of the fact that seller representation in the real estate industry is more trusting and profitable. If you have the fortune of working with a seller who trusts you and will follow your professional guidance, you are much more likely to close that transaction than those with buyers who distrust and therefore run around like loose cannons.
Property remains king! As some anecdotal proof of that…at least 3 properties that I’m aware of that had open houses this weekend are seeing multiple bidders going to a highest, best and final offer.