As an agent, part of my job is to be an intermediary. My client communicates through me, I then relay a message to the other agent involved and they then communicate that information to their client.
Buyers and sellers typically don’t talk to each other directly and, honestly, I prefer it that way.
But how would a buyer and seller communicate directly if there are agents involved? And what can go wrong if they do talk to each other directly?
The most common way for a buyer and seller to see each other and interact is if a seller does not leave their home for showings. The seller thinks they’re being helpful by following the potential buyer and their agent around, offering information on what they’ve done to the house over the years. And at times that commentary is useful. But often it leads to one or both parties sharing more information than I’d like to see.
A buyer may gush about how much they like the place and how their lease is ending soon and they need to get settled. A seller may say that they have another house that they’re moving too and they just need to sell this one to get away from the cold winters.
I’ve seen both of these situations, and others similar. And what exactly is wrong with this banter back and forth between a buyer and seller? Well, one of them usually gives too much information and hurts their negotiating position if the buyer decides to put in an offer.
Additionally, you have situations where one party is open about information and the other is an adversarial personality, so they’ll use the information to their advantage when negotiating.
Real estate attorneys often advise their seller clients to sign all closing paperwork in advance so they don’t have to attend the closing. I’ve seen many instances where there are issues with a walk through or one of the parties just says the wrong thing at closing, leading to more difficulty just as ownership is about to transfer.
In certain instances it may help for a buyer and seller to talk. But this is only usually the case if both are happy, warm and fuzzy personalities and neither is viewing the purchase or sale as a business transaction. Emotions run high in real estate and it is often very difficult for a buyer or seller to mask their true feelings.
Your real estate agent acts as a buffer and confidant. Let your agent filter the message you’re trying to deliver so you aren’t putting yourself at a disadvantage. And try not to meet the other party directly. You never know how what you say will be perceived or used against you during the transaction.