Home Buying in Natick>Question Details

Mun, Home Buyer in Cambridge, MA

Is it OK to negotiate bypassing the Buyer's Agent ?

Asked by Mun, Cambridge, MA Sat May 25, 2013

I have a Buyer's Agent but she does not seem to be a good negotiator. She is otherwise nice , always ready to arrange showing and so I would definitely like her to get her due commission. Having said that, is it OK if I negotiate directly with the listing agent . Once we reach a price agreement, my Agent can draw the formal offer and take it forward .

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HelpUBuy America’s answer
I can't imagine either agent being comfortable with that. Personally, I'd release you as a client before I let you do my job, but I'm a very strong negotiator. She might not be. Or, she might have a softer style.

Your agent works for you and has to follow your instructions. In essence, you are negotiating with the listing agent; your agent is the mouth piece. I suggest you put your offers and counter-offers in writing and instruct your agent to present it to the seller's agent.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Sat May 25, 2013
So your agent is not a good negotiator because they are verbally submitting your low offer and the selling agent is responding that it is not acceptable.

Yes your agent is suppose to have you write your offer, provide a pre-approval letter, have you sign the mandatory agency disclosure, hopefully have a singed buyer agency agreement with you and get a check from you and submit it to the sellers.

However it is not uncommon with GOOD agents that have a good relationship with other agents to bounce off offers knowing that in this sellers market it would not fly. Hopefully getting a better sense of what it will take to have your offer considered seriously and or get a counter.





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1 vote Thank Flag Link Sun May 26, 2013
I guess it would depend on your definition of a good negotiator:
If you think we sit down, in a smoke filled room, putting our guns on the table and don't walk out until the other guy is crying; you got another think coming.

The appropraite definition of a good sale is where the Buyer would have been will to pay more, and the Seller would have been willing to accept less.

Anyone who doesn't buy into this, would not make a good Client, much less, a good negotiator.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Sun May 26, 2013
Mun,

How is it that you know your agent isn't a top notch negotiator? Could this be more of a "control" issue for you, feeling that no one will be able to do the job you could?

The fact of the matter is that most agents know the importance of keeping customers removed from the process. We have all see what can happen when the two parties get together unsupervised and it usually just complicates things.

Consider this approach. You and you agent collaborate to arrive at a defendable purchase price to begin your negotiations and then create a cover letter to be presented with your offer that explains in detail the justifications for this amount.

The reality here is that both you and your agent do the negotiations together. Yes, this means coming up the rationale that supports your case. Don't be misled by someone being a nice person....there's no connection between this and the true ability to negotiate. Remember the expression, "You can't judge a book by its cover?" Well, here it is........

If you are my customer, you are involved as you should be, BUT in the back seat! Regardless of what anyone thinks, real estate professionals can negotiate!
1 vote Thank Flag Link Sun May 26, 2013
I would talk to your agent about the situation. You may not realize exactly what the agent is doing, the experience the agent has had with the sellers agent, or what the strategy actually is.
All this is very important as you want to get the best price and have a good negotiator.
So, Talk it over with the agent, ask them questions like... What's the plan? How are you with negotiations? You may even communicate your thoughts and wishes.... If you don't have confidence in your agent, You have a very serious issue and should consider all your options.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Sun May 26, 2013
One, how would you know if she is good or not if you haven't let her try. also, at least with me here in Texas, the negotiation is not really verbal. Me and my client come up with an offer, I send it, the other sides sends back what they want, my clients decides what changes they can live with and we send that back.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Sun May 26, 2013
All good answers below. Remember, its not where you start, but where you finish negotiations that count.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Sun May 26, 2013
Your agent is oblgated to negotiate on your behalf as long as your requests are lawful! However that being said some agents have a different stlye when negotiating. I am a strong negotiator and aways keep my clients best interest in the forefront. The negotiating process should always be a team approach (Buyers & Agent). If I have a cleint that feels they can do a better job and is not willing to leisten to reason.. They I think it best to part company and let the chips fall where they may!
The negotiating is part of the agents job.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Sun May 26, 2013
I suspect you're overestimating your own skill set and underestimating your buyer brokers. Trust me the listing agent doesn't really want to hear directly from you and despite what you may think you'll probably do more harm than good.

There's not a Realtor alive who can make their client do anything they don't want to. If you've been told that the Sellers bottom line is "X" and you aren't willing to pay it; that's your prerogative, but it has nothing to do with your agent. If you've offered yor best and final price and the seller isn't interested, that's their prerogative. They may be foolish, (I have no way of knowing) but again that has nothing to do with your agent

My advice is let your agent handle the negotiations and stop trying to second guess them. Also understand the market, which is definitely favoring sellers in most areas of the country and certainly in your area.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Sun May 26, 2013
Mun,

Each agent has there own way of getting the best situation available for their client. In this market there is little room for negotiations if any.

Price is dictated by two issues, how the market perceives it and how motivated the seller is.

If it is price that is important to you then the home you are looking at may not be right for you or the seller has not had enough time to see the reaction of the market.

But if it is right then a few thousand dollars( 5,10, 20k) won't make a difference especially with these low interest rates.

Louis
1 vote Thank Flag Link Sun May 26, 2013
The listing agent should NOT communicate with you directly if he/she knows you have a buyer's agent.

The only way the listing agent can TRULY negotiate a price with you is to have you submit an offer and then he/she has to present said offer to seller for seller to decide if they will accept it.
A verbal agreement to sale you the home at a set price means nothing

Sounds like you have ahead working agent already. The market right now favors sellers. Do not think your agent is not up to speed just because an offer has not been accepted yet.


Best of luck to you!

Kawain Payne, Realtor
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Jun 20, 2013
There is more to negotiation than just offering a price. Most of negotiation is understanding people, situations and the market. Experience certainly helps a great deal. If I were a sellers agent and a buyer contacted me directly , bypassing their agent, I would have questions. That does not put a buyer in a better position. Discussing everything with your agent and having them place the offer you choose, high or low, actually serves you best. A verbal offer is usually a waste of time. You may be able to get a little feedback. But expect the selling agent to ask for something in writing. Experience tells that when a customer doesn't take the time to write an offer up, they are not very serious about negotiating a reasonable price.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Jun 20, 2013
- I think you got part of the problem. My agent did not submit a written offer. However it is not a lowball offer. The offered price is 95% of listed price

Why didn't you submit a written offer?
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue May 28, 2013
Try to put yourself in your buyer's agent's shoes and then check with all honesty what would you feel if the person you are representing bypassed you.

What does representation means? Both parties are being represented in your case. The agents are the channels in the transaction. There are many, varied and good reasons why agents act as the clients' liaison and advocate in the transaction

Have you had a discussion with your agent and instructed him/her to present your offer in writing?

There may be a lack of communication between you and your agent. Lack of communication or no communication could have been the biggest problem.

Open up to your agent. He/she works for your interest. Trust goes both ways. It is a key factor to a successful relationship and eventually, a successful transaction.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue May 28, 2013
Is this offer written? I hope so, because you'd have to be a lousy negotiator to go in with a verbal lowball offer and expect to get anywhere . . .
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun May 26, 2013
I think you got part of the problem. My agent did not submit a written offer. However it is not a lowball offer. The offered price is 95% of listed price
Flag Mon May 27, 2013
It is not unethical it is just not binding, unless there is earnest money given and received

There is a saying in real estate, with a verbal offer you have nothing but hot air, with a written offer you have a prayer.

People go without buyers agents because they feel they may get a better deal, in reality it is the opposite, that you will get a better deal with a buyers agent, at least you will have representation.

Now that you know your offer was unacceptable, give your buyer agent a higher offer or wait for the seller to lower the price.

If not move on and either find a home you love and are willing to pay a premium for, or find one that meets your price but may not be ideal, or hopefully you can find one that meets both your price and you love.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun May 26, 2013
The problem here is I DO NOT know if my offer was unacceptable to the Seller. I know that my offer was unacceptable to my Agent and probably Listing Agent none of whom is actually selling the house. I am not going to argue if people get a better deal without Buyer Agent (and nor can you argue the other way) since there is no statistical data validating for or against it. When you say "in reality it is the opposite" you are saying just your opinion with no data to back it. I just know that it would have been much better had I interacted directly with the seller or his agent.
Flag Sun May 26, 2013
Mun,
You obviously should have become a Real Estate Agent;
I'm sure you would have embarassed all of us.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun May 26, 2013
I would have at least have presented the offer of my client to seller in a proper, formal way and not sit tight on it based on some verbal exchange. Thank You.
Flag Sun May 26, 2013
Louis, whether or not my offer is low is evident from the house sitting even in this market for months. I suppose it is unethical for agents to discuss offers verbally. I have seen people going without buyers agent, I guess I now know why.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun May 26, 2013
Thanks for all the answers. Let me clarify a few things -- As I understand, the ethics of realtors (probably law as well) says that Buyer's Agent should place all offers from buyer to listing agent no matter how ridiculous it appears to be and similarly listing agent should place all offer to seller. What is happening here is, the agent is communicating verbally to the listing agent and coming back saying offer is not acceptable. How do I know ? because I have not signed any offer letter (neither physically nor electronically).
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun May 26, 2013
Is it OK?

Hmmm. I never really thought about that before, but I suppose that since there are no rules against it, it probably is OK. I know that Larry Tollen speaks for me - I absolutely don't want to hear from a buyer directly when I'm the listing agent. I wouldn't take your call!

But, you ask, is it OK? I suppose it is.

All the best,
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun May 26, 2013
You cannot negotiate with the list agent yourself but you can help your agent with what to say. The first deal that I ever did the list agent was a very experienced agent and I was a novice. My client was an attorney and he coached me. I learned a lot and was very grateful.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun May 26, 2013
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