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Offer Strategies Part One

About 10 years ago, our company started a training program for new agents affectionately called Bosley U. For a boutique company, this five week course was quiet revolutionary, but confirmed management’s commitment to making sure that new agents had the skill in place to succeed in a competitive work environment. After graduating, participants are armed with as much knowledge and experience as someone who has been in the field for over two years.

All of the senior management team, including myself, teach the curriculum. Yesterday I had the pleasure to instruct with Keith Tarswell, one of our more senior managers. The topic was on negotiating for your buyer. We discussed the different types of personalities one may come up against, and more importantly, how you negotiate with each one. As is usually the case, the instructors usually pepper the discussions with real life stories. Keith and I have been in the business for many years, over 50 years combined, so without a doubt, we have seen it all. The day concluded with a few hours of role playing, in which the agents presented mock offers to a seller and a seller’s agent. This is an excellent opportunity to review their individual styles and offer pointers to tighten up their presentations.

As with any group learning experience, you always hope to walk away with one or two real nuggets of information, and in chatting after class with a few of the participants, I asked what they specifically took away with them after this session. Without a doubt, the most valuable lesson was to never be the one to let the offer die. Keith told a story about a guy who was one of the original Vietnamese Boat People who came to Canada in the 70’s. He was a very hard worker and after a few years he got his real estate licence. Despite a heavy accent he was a tremendous success. He was also the king of the sign back. These days, we sign back offers two or three times. This guy would sign back offers 10-15 times. One legendary offer was signed back 23 times. Keith asked him why he didn’t walk away from such complicated deals. His response was simple; once he had someone on paper, he knew he had a deal. Our job as agents is to negotiate a successful transaction between a buyer and a seller. It can be a complicated process and the best at it are the ones armed with the ability to overcome objections. It’s a skill that comes with experience. End of story.

It got me thinking….I wonder if a discount brokerage, hired for mere postings, is including a brochure on successful negotiating to their customers. Somehow I don’t think so. A survey by the NAR (National Association of Realtors) showed that, on average, a ‘for sale by owner’ sold their home for 18% less than a similar house using a realtor. Hm. Makes you think.

The views expressed here may or may not be the views of Bosley Real Estate, Ltd. Brokerage.


Keep Connected

This week we held one of our quarterly joint office meetings to unveil some important company initiatives that are taking place over the next few months. While I won’t go into the details here, I was sitting in the auditorium listening to the questions and suggestions from the group and the common thread was a desire to stay informed and connected to each other. It is amazing the things we learn when the lines of communication are open. When there is transparency and understanding there is connectivity.

It reminded me of a recent event within my office. An agent showed a property that had been on the market for over a year. His client was looking for a fixer upper and this property had some foundation problems. Issues aside, his client was prepared to make an offer that was within 5% of list price. Sounds like a slam dunk to me. He phoned one of the two agents who had the listing and said he had an offer. Listing agent One said he would let our agent know when the owner would look at it. Over the next few days, our agent called the listing agents to get an update. First there was the “Oh we haven’t been able to reach the client” then the “yes we are meeting the daughter at 11” then “oh the daughter didn’t show up so we are going to try again at 2” then “something came up, we will try again later”.  Here is the unbelievable part; each of these comments came as a result of our agent calling the listing agents. Not once did they call him with an update. Over the course of the next 5 days, our agent called and left messages on both the listing agents’ cell phones. The calls were never returned. Out of frustration, our agent asked me to intervene. I called listing agent One and left two messages to call me. No return call. I called listing agent Two. Her voicemail box was FULL. Go figure. Finally I called their broker. I left him a message to call me. Eventually we spoke. Instead of apologizing about his agent’s behaviour, he accused my agent of harassing them and interfering with the listing. He said that the owners didn’t want to look at any offers until the foundation work was assessed and repaired and that they didn’t return my agent’s calls because they had nothing to report.

So really, what are the issues here? Is the seller being adequately represented when the listing agents can’t even handle the task of returning phone calls? As I explained to the broker, had the two listing agents kept my agent informed, the whole situation could have been avoided. A simple courtesy call could have gone along way. And by the way Mr. Broker, with 30 years of experience, if a property is listed on MLS it HAS to be available to be shown. That is a TREB rule.

The comments here do not necessarily reflect the views of Bosley Real Estate Ltd.

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