Likeability and real estateLikeability is a subjective term.  Who’s likeable? How important is it? Most of all, how relevant is your Realtor or agent’s likeability to your home buying or selling success in Silicon Valley?

At times I’ve been shocked at what I’ve heard from consumers and industry insiders alike:

“You don’t need your clients to like you.  You need them to respect you.” (As if these were diametrically opposed.) – a real estate trainer & coach

“I didn’t want to hire someone I’d like or who’d be my best friend. I wanted to hire a tough negotiator.” (Again, seeing these as juxtaposed.) – a real estate home seller

Why do some people think that being a good negotiator means that you have to be rough around the edges, a difficult person with whom to get along?  Strong negotiating doesn’t mean being a jerk, or even being aloof.

In many cases, it’s the exact opposite.

Many of the top agents in the San Jose, Los Gatos and Saratoga markets are indeed quite gracious and pleasant.  They are smart and they are driven.  Most are genuinely nice people, while a few have learned that good manners is part of good business.  Yes, there are a few successful ones who don’t match this description – but they are the exception, not the rule.   And in truth, their lack of likeability is inhibiting at least some of their success. If you hire one of them, it may impact yours, too.

An arrogant, rude and nasty agent may find that his or her colleagues are less excited to show his/her listings.  Or that they will be less enthusiastic if he/she brings an offer in on one of theirs.  Conversely, if that agent is well liked (and, of course, well respected) by the real estate community, it’s far more likely that agents will want to have him or her on the other side of a transaction.

Realtors do not like to speak badly of one another. In fact, part of the Realtor code of ethics involves not disparaging the competition.  So you may be challenged to try to figure out, from a distance, whom to avoid. What’s easier might be finding who is liked and respected.  If you are on Facebook or Twitter, you may be able to see positive interactions up close there.  You may also see it while touring open houses should another agent come through with clients.  Agents who are active in the industry, either paid or as volunteers in assisting other agents or the broader real estate community, may be a good pool to draw from also.  Of course, always consider references too.  Real estate transactions can be stressful even under the best of circumstances, so it’s good to hear how your prospective agent does when things get tough.

My advice:  because buying and selling homes is both a business transaction and a big event physically and emotionally, find someone who is knowledgeable, hardworking, ethical and – yes – pleasant. Your real estate sales person represents you.  Be a good negotiator, be tough – but don’t treat people badly in the process.  That part is never necessary and is counter productive in the long run.