Posted by Killer Joe on September 18, 2005 at 23:35:16:
I usually speak with the agent first and try to determine ‘how’ motivated the seller is and ‘what’ is the sellers motivation. This applies to every property I look at. I don’t intend to buy at a retail price, so there has to be some motivation on the part of the seller or I’m wasting everyones’ time.
From the standpoint of solving the sellers problem you must first find out why the seller wants out. The reasons are varied so you can’t just assume that your needs fit theirs. Often times the seller can be in denial about their situation and won’t come right out and tell you what you need to know. Sometimes the opposite is true and they are looking for the first person that will raise their hand to take the property off theirs.
A key ingriedient is your comfort level in dealing directly with the seller. If you know the WHAT, WHEN, and HOW of the deal, you can build up a level of trust with the seller. If you don’t know WHAT the seller needs, or WHEN you can close, or HOW the deal will be structured, you may just be adding to the sellers frustration.
In the case of a REA that I have not established at least some repore with I would not want that agent in on the meeting. You don’t want somebody playing ‘third base’ in your negotiations if you are not sure they are on your team.
If you and the seller can come to a mutual understanding of what it is you both want, and can structure a deal that works well for both of you, present the offer through the agent. If the REA balks at your price or terms, and they will sometimes do this, remind them that they are legally required to present all offers to their client, and the seller has already agreed to the particulars.
Try to keep a good relationship with the listing agent so as not to give them any motivation to try and sabotage the deal. From a human nature standpoint they will not like having any percieved power taken away from them, so try to avoid situations that may be construed as confrontational. You will need them on your team as the deal progresses.
That being said, try to keep in mind that some sellers will not want to talk to you directly. It’s a personal choice based on THEIR comfort level. It goes without saying that if you are going to make an offer on a property you will at least have driven by the property, so if you are comfortable with your ability to conduct a negotiation, knock on the door. If you can establish credibilty with the seller, try to get the them to a place where they will want to talk to you about their situation. Pay very close attention to their body language, and don’t take the conversation any farther than they feel comfortable with during the first meeting. It is better to leave yourself in a position where you have the sellers permission to get back with them than to build a wall that can’t or won’t come down at a later date. HTH