Four Reasons Your Silicon Valley Realtor Should Negotiate Face to Face With Buyers’ Agents

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When I started my real estate career in Los Altos over 24 years ago, the offer presentation was the most important step in the home selling process. Represent the seller’s interests correctly and it was a job well done. Negotiate poorly and it could cost your seller dearly. The idea was to get as much information about the buyer, the buyer’s offer and the buyer’s agent. Provide that information to the seller and help him/her come to the optimal solution. The process went something like this.

The seller, his/her agent and the buyer’s agent would meet in the listing agent’s office and the buyer’s agent would present the offer, his/her client’s qualifications and provide any supporting documentation.  It was a frank discussion that allowed the seller to get a better understanding of the offer, the buyer and the buyer’s agent with the goal of accepting a strong offer that would close on time.

As the years passed, sellers were removed from the formal offer presentation process and offers where presented to the listing agent. Today, technology coupled with agent’s busy schedules have given way to offers being presented/negotiated via e-mail and over the phone.

In order to help buyer’s agents, listing agents provide offer instructions  on our local Multiple Listing Service (MLS). They may ask that the offer be written on a certain purchase contract or that a completed disclosure package accompany the offer. They typically ask for proof of funds, a pre-approval letter and that the initial deposit be wired into escrow by a certain date.

Unfortunately, many listing agents don’t understand the value in meeting face to face with the buyer’s agent. They see it as a waste of time…time that they could be use to  procure more listings.

I prefer that buyer’s agents present their offer to me in person. There is a lot to be learned about the strength of an offer and the qualifications of those involved by sitting down and having a conversation.  It is too important to my seller for me to not to do everything possible to make sure the offer they select is the absolute best and the one that will close on time.  What information can I obtain from a face to face meeting that can’t be obtained over the phone?

Eye contact and body language give subtle clues about the agent and their relationship with their client that can’t be obtained over the phone.   Is the agent fidgety?  Are their arms or legs crossed when speaking? Do they appear generally comfortable with the discussion?  Do they respond quickly and comfortably? Do they look me straight in the eyes when speaking or do they look away?  In poker, these are called “tells.”  By observing these “tells,” I have a better idea about the likelihood of an offer closing.  Many of these physical clues tell an important part of the story and that story is missed when one doesn’t meet face to face.

When people meet face to face it is easier to draw out the conversation resulting in a better understanding of the issues.  The result is a stronger offer that is more likely to close.  Just think about your phone conversations today.  How often were you distracted by other things while talking on the phone?  Have you ever watch T.V., changed a diaper or driven a car while on the phone?  Do you remember the details of the conversation?  When one is in a conference room meeting face to face, both parties tend to be more focused on the negotiation and getting the transaction put together.

Allowing an agent to present to me in person creates goodwill with the agent and within the real estate community. It shows that I’m not trying to double end the deal and that I operate my business in a very transparent way.  I’m able to win the hearts and minds of my counterparts which leads to further trust.  Realtors prefer to bring in offers to Realtors who are trustworthy.  More offers leads to a higher probability for sellers to achieve their real estate goals.

Lastly, if a buyer’s agent is not willing to present an offer face to face with the listing agent it likely indicates that the offer, the buyer or the Realtor is weak or unprepared.

Sellers need to be provided with the best possible information in order to make the best possible decision. If meeting with a buyer’s agent will provide me with pertinent information that will help my seller, then I’m all in. Most of the time, that information can’t be derived by reading a purchase offer, its supporting documentation and making a phone call.

Unfortunately, in the era of high volume real estate, the benefits of meeting face to face with a buyer’s agent are sometimes sacrificed in order to get a deal done quickly.  Sometimes a quick deal isn’t the best deal!

If you wish to have a discussion regarding the sale of your home please feel free to contact me directly at 650 465-0755.

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