Having worked with many different Estate Agents over the years I note that most negotiators & managers use statements such as “the vendor is looking for upwards of £300k on this one” or “they’ve got a price in their head and they don’t want to go below it”
When I was 18 I started work for a very difficult manageress and after a few weeks of doing everything I could to impress her, she asked me to “go home early and write an essay entitled ‘what I think an estate agent’s job actually is’”. So I went home and set about putting pen to paper. After a few paragraphs I came to the realisation that estate agents are paid by the vendor, not only to give the sale property ‘cost effective media coverage and marketing’ but also ‘to represent our clients best interests and to achieve the highest possible price from the best available buyer’.
Over the following 10 years I have worked for a number of different agencies and ONLY 2 managers I know of (one being at Sewell & Gardner, obviously!) actively ensure that their negotiating staff fully investigate the applicant about the maximum amount they have to spend on a property at the time of taking their offer details.
Many applicants ask the negotiator “what is the lowest offer that the vendor will accept?” but this is a difficult question to answer, being as we are ultimately working for the vendor! I have always found that honesty prevails, so my reply is “if I was selling a property for you I would never disclose what your bottom line is” so I ask the applicant to think of a figure that they feel the property is worth, and also a figure that they would not be prepared to increase UNDER ANY circumstances. Then I can put forward that offer to the vendor client, safe in the knowledge that if it is rejected I have tried my best and that it is now time to move on.
In closing I would like to point out most estate agents aren’t doing this simple thing and not because they aren’t any good; its because of a lack of training and trying to think on their feet and also trying to strike a balance between serving the ‘wage payer’ and keeping the ‘spender’ happy. However remember if you want to gather honey don’t kick over the beehive buyers become sellers so play your integrity card early in the game….