Should you hire a pit bull or golden retriever agent when buying or selling a home? I know what your’re thinking!
Gut instinct seems to drive buyers and sellers toward hiring a pit bull agent, assuming they will be super aggressive in negotiating the best price.
I’ve often wondered what it really means when people say they want an aggressive agent. So I recently spoke with two friends on this subject who relayed their experience with pit bulls. Surprisingly, their stories were similar. Both were completely caught up in the pit bull myth when they were buying and selling homes. They thought an aggressive agent would negotiate from a position of strength and out-bully the opposition. The agent’s long successful track record, along with a confident and assertive listing sales pitch, sold them.
Here were the two take-aways. Neither client was satisfied with the price of their respective sale. One couple felt highly pressured by the agent into accepting less for their home, essentially feeling like the agent’s motivation was all about closing the deal. The other couple felt the agent didn’t negotiate on their behalf with skill or finesse and was quite rude to them whenever they called her. Yet, they took this to mean that she was a tough cookie and would fight for them, so they tolerated the nasty behavior.
The end result – neither would work with their agents again. They were both quite swayed by the willful, aggressive posturing during the listing presentations and were sure that these agents would get them a great deal. And this is very telling in that real estate agents always want repeat business and referrals. This is not to say that assertive agents don’t represent clients effectively, especially if they are strategic in their approach. Assertiveness works in certain negotiations, but it’s important to know when to apply pressure and when to throttle back.
I don’t mean to suggest that there are only two extremes in selling style, clearly too simplistic a model. But stylistically, there are drastic differences in approach. Take the golden retriever agent – perceived as confident but more laid back and pleasant. These agents have highly desirable qualities that make them likable, effective and strong without being pushy and overbearing.
When interviewing an agent or considering recommendations from friends or co-workers, what makes the golden retriever agent valued over the pit bull? The golden retriever agent is smart, attentive, adaptable and caring. They are great communicators and modify negotiating style to fit the situation without antagonizing or offending. They negotiate from strength, knowing when to be tough and when to compromise to insure a smooth, successful transaction.
Select the agent whose style allows for effective communication. You don’t need a best friend, but because you’re working together over an extended period of time, you surely want an agent that you connect with, who understands your particular needs. It goes without saying that they should be knowledgable, confident and a skilled negotiator. But most importantly, work with someone you can trust with one of your most valuable assets. A great real estate agent taps into a persons style of negotiation, reads them well, and knows how to close a deal in your favor. So choose wisely.
And for the record, pit bulls, as a breed, get a bad rap. They are strong and determined but very sweet dogs provided they’re not trained to be unreasonably “aggressive.”