Home buyers - think before calling the listing agentIf you’ve ever had the experience of selling your car, perhaps you’ve also had someone phone you who’s never even looked at your vehicle and ask you “what’s the lowest price you’ll take?”  Most of the time, auto sellers aren’t too happy with that question: the caller is low balling without even looking at what’s for sale. That may be the first impression provided if a buyer who already has an agent phones the listing agent directly.

Today I got a phone call from a Silicon Valley condo buyer who asked me, without having seen my listing, “will the seller take less?

Not a great question, for a whole lot of reasons.

First of all, part of a real estate agent’s duty is to protect the seller – and that means not telling consumers the lowest amount that a seller would take, or even if a seller would take less at all (unless, of course, the seller gave express directions to do so, which is very rare indeed).

Secondly, it is a little insulting to call on a property you’ve never viewed and start to verbally bargain down the price, or fish for the lowest possible price. What that does is make the listing agent feel “on guard” from the very beginning. Guess how that impacts your position if there are multiple offers?  You will have made an impression – but not a good one!

Most of the time, a home buyer is better served to not call the listing agent directly at all, but instead to have his or her buyer’s agent place the call to get some information.  There are better ways to figure out if the seller is motivated,  how the pricing looks, whether there will be multiple offers etc. – and Realtors and other real estate licensees are usually pretty practiced at getting the information without damaging the buyer’s position for offers or even potential multiple offers later.

Most of us wouldn’t try to represent ourselves in court, but sometimes don’t appreciate that these same principles apply with real estate; that is, the value of having a fiduciary, an agent, helping us not just when the offer is presented but every step of the way.   Let your agent represent you from earlier stages, and you will likely find that you are presented in a better light than you could do yourself.  Think before you pick up that phone and call the listing agent directly!