Let me explain. First of all, should your real estate agent be a “nice”guy? (or gal, I know!) Well, whether you are selling or buying, what you need most of all, in any market, but especially in tough markets like Phoenix, is an experienced and competent agent. Many tout their longevity as a plus, and it is to an extent, but their competence is much more relevant. Ask yourself, who would be better? A motivated, 4 years experienced, internet savvy, go getter with several closings to his credit? Or a jaded, 25+ years experienced, “inter-web/tube-hating” old crank-pot? Clearly, it is not a simple question. However, let me give you an example of why “nice” sometimes does you no good, at all.
Quite recently the relocation department of my previous company had me visit with a couple who were, of course, selling their home due to a business re-location. One of the problems with the home was that it had an addition, but it was not clear whether it had been permitted or not. Plus, when they initially bought the house, it was implied that the additional footage was not recorded by the assessor, and was therefore “bonus”. After due diligence, I was able to show them that it was permitted (the good news), but that there was not “bonus” extra square footage, the city had already included the footage in the assessment (the bad news). I was in competition with two other companies, but the couple chose me to represent them. We agreed to start at $259,000, but to reduce it to $249,000 within 2 weeks if showings, and interest were low.
There were a number of cosmetic items that needed to be addressed, for which we allowed 2 weeks before entering the property in the MLS. Well, the two weeks became 4, and in that interim period I had taken the decision to move to another company. I immediately returned the file to the re-lo department for them to assign it to another agent. Well, they assigned it to a “nice” guy, and this is what he did. He listened to the sellers who “wished” that the extra footage was bonus, even tough they knew it was not. In the MLS he actually wrote that the extra footage “probably” was bonus, despite the assessor’s assertion to the contrary. This last act, incidentally, leaving both the sellers and himself open to a lawsuit. At their prodding, and despite having a signed agreement at the lower price of $259,000, the “nice” guy decided that they would at least try $289,000.
So, 60 days later, the price is finally $259,000 but the property is as stale as week-old bread. See, what a “nice” guy gets you?
If the agent will not stand up to his client, how on earth do you think he is going to stand up FOR you in a negotiation.
In a slightly different vein, I sometimes have clients who say (of their neighborhood Realtor) “Oh, you must meet Jim. He’s the nicest guy you’ll ever meet!” They then proceed to recount all the neighborhood secrets that Jim has gleaned and has happily divulged to all in earshot. Little gems like, “I listed it at $750,000, but it’ll go for $650,000!” The fact that such gems are ethical violations do not bother Jim, or the people he tells. I normally respond by saying if he is telling you all your neighbor’s business, don’t you think he might be revealing yours” That normally gets them thinking.
Let’s be honest, nice is a very overused and meaningless word. Should your Realtor be nice? It would be nice, I suppose. Ideally, you really want smart, knowledgeable, honest and diligent. Believe it or not it is out there if you look hard enough.
Added: by Utopia Realty