Unlike other jurisdictions, rare is the occasion in New York City when a buyer’s representative presents an offer in person to the seller.
When I asked other brokers whether they were aware of such a practice here, their eyebrows shot up and their contorted mouths betrayed their distaste for the notion. All right, I’m being sort of hyperbolic, but in-person offers almost never occur.
One possible reason is that brokers possess a mentality that they are the walls of a fortress between buyer and seller. They feel it is their job to protect the seller from any direct contact with the other side, setting up an adversarial relationship.
It’s my belief that brokers and agents here have so little power in the Big Apple, having ceded most to lawyers, that they zealously guard what they view as any encroachment on their territory. And what if the seller thought highly of the buyer’s broker!
We all know that New Yorkers have a reputation (not universally justified) for being confrontational, so the adversarial approach is theoretically ingrained even if it is not helpful.
How can it be helpful to set up a relationship in which two sides are opposed to each other? Yes, of course, each side wants the best deal for itself, but that situation doesn’t necessarily mandate a defensive posture. (Or, for that matter, an aggressive one.)
Negotiations ought to be thought of as a team effort, with both sides working toward the same goal: Agreement. It’s the opposite of how the two political parties have clashed in Washington.
Selling a property — that is, getting someone to make an offer — isn’t all that hard, though it can take time and persistence. All of us do essentially the same things to market an apartment or townhouse — pricing, staging, advertising, creating marketing materials and holding open houses. Yep, it’s true, but I don’t deny that some do it better than others.
Also true is that getting from an unacceptable offer to one that results in a meeting of the minds is the challenge.
If buyer brokers had the chance to appeal directly to sellers in the presence of their listing brokers, especially when there are multiple bids, the successful presentation of an offer would quickly separate the exceptional salespersons from the mediocre ones.
Such presentations give the listing broker the opportunity to charm, persuade and highlight the best reasons for a seller to accept a particular offer. They also allow for the best communication, unhampered by a less capable broker or one with a conflict of interest.
We all want to make a deal. Why don’t we work together to make one happen?
Let’s leave the door open for direct contact, not slam it shut.
Tomorrow: Meet the seller from hell
To take a bite out of the Big Apple, start your search for a new home here.
Licensed Associate Real Estate Broker
Senior Vice President
Charles Rutenberg Realty
127 E. 56th Street
New York, NY 10022