Horses and Beggars and Tinkers – Oh My!

KrisBerg05 a.jpgProps to Ardell at the Rain City Guide for another thought-provoking post, this one on the often contentious nature of the real estate transaction.  In her comments, she speculates that all would be better served if agents and their clients would sit down to dinner and a drink. While I find the concept utopian and impractical, the message is a good one.

I took a lot of heat for a previous post on Property Inspections, for which I subsequesntly appologized and ate crow. Although my comments were intended as generic (unfortunately some thought otherwise), I now admit that my bedside manner was “stinky”. Ardell said more delicately what I was trying to say; the process has become unnecessarily combative between both principals and agents. In the words of Rodney King, “Why can’t we all just get along”? One reason, I suppose, is society. We and our children are programmed to be uber-competitive. For principals in the transaction, each side feels compelled to beat up on the other, to get the better “deal”… to win. Agents, for their part, tend to forget that their role is to bring the parties together to a mutually satisfying conclusion. Agents entrusted with delivering their client’s message and “defending” their best interests often confuse elevated emotions and harsh rhetoric with “tough negotiating skills”, and a swift closure to negotiations with “weakness”.

I unfortunately see more agents responsible for transactions going sideways than buyers and sellers, inciting riots along the way in the name of strong representation. True, as fiduciaries, we must sometimes go forth with a message or postiion which is not our own and that we do not necessarily agree with, but as professionals it is our job to keep a cool head and help the parites not lose sight of the goal by getting blinded by minutia and ill will. “If wishes were horses, then beggars would ride… and there would be no room for tinkers” indeed. But, then, if the home buying and selling process was without emotion, we would be dealing in commercial real estate.

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