Help! Motivated Seller, Unmotivated R.E. Agent - Posted by Peter

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


Help! Motivated Seller, Unmotivated R.E. Agent - Posted by Peter

Posted by Peter on September 18, 2005 at 20:06:39:

Hello all,

I need some advice. I’ve come across some houses for sale with motivated sellers that are being advertised through a real estate agent. I have nothing against R.E. agents but they are sometimes not very motivated, its another commission for them.

I would rather speak to the owner directly without the agent’s unmotivated and sometimes negative behavior influencing owner’s decision. The conversation/negotiation is a lot more personal and positive with the owner as oppose to the dealing with the agent. What should I do? Do I go around the agent? I think that might be against the law, right?
Has anyone come across that situtation?
How would you handle it? Can I contact the owner, set up an appointment, figure out what we can do and then present the offer to the owner through the agent?

Thanks for all your input.

Stay positive and good luck with your investing,

Re: Help! Motivated Seller, - Posted by ken

Posted by ken on September 19, 2005 at 17:36:34:

Put in a contract that buyer is to be at the presentation of the offer.Give the contract to the agent by law they have to present the offer and according to the contract you are to be there. I have done it and it does help.

Motivated Sellers? - Posted by Tim

Posted by Tim on September 19, 2005 at 12:28:47:

I’m not going to rehash what has been said, I just have a question. How do you know the sellers are motivated if you have not talked to them? Not trying to be a smarta**, but I could always use another method of identifying motivated sellers.

Correction - Posted by DP (ON)

Posted by DP (ON) on September 19, 2005 at 10:02:51:

It is neither illegal nor unethical for you to contact, negotiate with, or close directly with the seller. YOU have no obligation to the agent whatsoever. The SELLER signed the listing agreement and they are obligated to pay the commission, that has nothing to do with you or your offer. If your offer happens to include enough cash for the seller to pay the commission, that’s fine. If it doesn’t that’s also fine, the seller and agent simply need to make other arrangements (which again, have nothing to do with you.)

Re: Help! Motivated Seller, Unmotivated REA - Posted by Killer Joe

Posted by Killer Joe on September 18, 2005 at 20:31:00:

Hi Peter,

Keeping in mind that the seller has a binding legal contract with the REA (actually the broker), to pay a commission I see no reason why you should not talk to the owner directly. That being said, do not entertain ANY ideas about cutting out the agent. Your deal with the owner will need to include the monies payed for RE commissions.

I talk to owners all the time, and many times with the blessing of the REA in advance. Remember this, if you are going to be a principle in the deal you have every right to negotiate your position. The trouble arises when people think they can get around the listing contract if they just simply go around the REA.

The power is held by the owner/seller in every transaction where the owner still has control of the property. The agent is, afterall, an agent representing the owner for the purpose of the transaction. They hold no mystical powers, and have no legal power to keep you from contacting the seller. A good agent knows that when the property sells they will get paid and will not get in your way. Sometimes problems arise when the ego of the agent is wounded. Forget the agents ego, if they have a problem don’t make it yours. Some do, and that’s just life. Go ahead and talk to the owner and structure the deal so both you and the seller realize that no hanky-panky will be played with the commission. HTH


Re: Help! Motivated Seller, - Posted by Peter

Posted by Peter on September 19, 2005 at 18:05:10:

Obviously you put this contingency in the addendum, correct? Since you already have an offer put together on paper, what kind of presence/influence are you able to provide by being there? If the seller declines the offer, do you renegotiate right there on the spot? Also, do you bring clean Purchase Agreements" to sign a new offer/counteroffer right on a spot?

In short, how does it help?

Thank you.

Re: Motivated Sellers? - Posted by Peter

Posted by Peter on September 19, 2005 at 13:36:15:

All in all, it was a general question. I have come across seller that have been motivated and I know this for a fact but like a said, the REA sort of got them unmotivated. I was just trying to see if I have other options. Thanks for all your help.

stay positive and good luck on your investing

Re: Correction - Posted by Killer Joe

Posted by Killer Joe on September 19, 2005 at 10:22:01:


What you are advocating is certainly doable. However, it is a fools game to set up a situation that is gauranteed to create problems for the seller down the road and give you a bad reputation in the town where you do business. If the seller can renegotiate with the listing agent and everybody walks away happy than the advice you are giving has merit.

Just because you CAN do something is no reason to believe that it is OK to do it. Just ask Bill Clinton.


Re: Motivated Seller, Attn: KJ… - Posted by Peter

Posted by Peter on September 18, 2005 at 21:18:14:

Thanks for your reply KJ. That is a very good advice. Just to be clear, it was never my intention to exclude the agent’s commission. The owner signed a contract with him and it would be both illegal and unethical for me to exclude him.
I just have couple more questions. If you come across a motivated seller listing through an agent, do you contact the agent, and ask if you can set up a meeting with the owner? If so, is the agent at the meeting as well or is it just you and the owner?
Or, do you find out the owner’s number and contact him directly, set up a meeting with him, negotiate, and then make an offer through an agent? Thanks.

Stay positive and good luck on your investing,


Re: Correction - Posted by DP (ON)

Posted by DP (ON) on September 19, 2005 at 11:45:59:

Unless you live in a tiny village where everyone knows everyone else, your “reputation” has no bearing on future deals (to the positive or negative).

  • Chances are you will never see anyone you do business with ever again.
  • I find that it’s impossible to make sellers happy. You can give them everything they want and more and they’ll still try to screw you. So you’re wasting your time trying to build a good reputation with them.
  • Unless you have other dealings with agents, a good or bad reputation with them has no bearing on anything either. Whether every agent in town thinks your a saint or satan, they will still try to talk their sellers out of doing a deal with you. So again “reputation” has no effect either way.

At any rate, I’m not advocating that you specifically set up deals that leave nothing for the agent. I’m just saying that I wasted many years trying to accommodate sellers and their agents and it got me absolutely nowhere. So now I don’t work from that angle at all anymore. My only interest is to get paid, whether the other parties make poor decisions isn’t up to me to correct.