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    Real Estate Negotiating 201: Personal Relationships vs Professionalism and Handling Multiple Offers

    Negotiating is part of being a Realtor, and it’s part of why you hire a Realtor — you want someone who will fight for your best interest and get the terms and price you want. We are trained to know best practices and techniques to ensure both buyers and sellers have a win-win experience; I would call that “Negotiating 101”. Recently, I “leveled up” and learned how to fight a personal feeling when working for my clients.

    In this scenario, I am working for the seller of a home in a rural county outside Louisville, KY — the market is slower paced and property doesn’t turn over quite as quickly. Showings are sparse, so when one happens, we are all very anxious to know the outcome. A buyer viewed the home, expressed interest, and I had been regularly “pestering” the agent on when they planned to submit an offer, and about 1 week after a showing, an offer was made. This offer was made the night before another showing was taking place.

    This particular offer had a few terms my sellers definitely wanted to counter, however, as most sellers are, they were hopeful and wanted to see if the showing the next morning would also yield an offer. Out of courtesy, I notified the agent showing the next day, stated an offer had been made, and let her know that our intention was to counter it, so if there was any interest from her clients, we would absolutely love to see what they would put together.

    Our plan was to draw up our counter offer and send it the following day once we knew for sure if the morning showing had no interest in the property.

    The following day, the showing is running behind, and I most likely won’t have an answer to what their intentions were before my time expired on my existing offer. On the one hand, we had an offer in hand that we were prepared to counter, and on the other, we wanted to see if the new buyers could give us something that may be better. What to do….


    My plan was this: 

    1. Send our counter offer shortly before it expired, which allowed the other buyers time to view the home, and kept us compliant for our first offer

    2. Write a very long response time in our counter offer, thus giving the impression that there was no sense of urgency in responding, so should buyer #2 be interested, we could get some time to see what they put together

    3. If buyer #2 is interested, I can rescind our counter offer

    And that’s exactly what happened. My plan worked flawlessly. Buyer #2 wrote an acceptable offer for my clients and we rescinded offer #1.

    So what’s the problem?

    My “problem” was an internal personal conflict. You see, offer #1 wasn’t just from any agent, it was from Steve: a teammate, a trusted partner, and a friend. I felt amazing for what I was able to accomplish for my clients — 2 offers when there was nothing for 60 days — and I felt crushed because the person I had to deliver the bad news to was someone I care about, and I felt “icky” for having to employ such a strategy on him.

    Being who I am, I “confessed” my strategy to him, and I was so scared that he was going to be angry for, essentially, not giving his buyer a chance; that I would screw over the opportunity to sell our own listing.

    I was wrong!

    He expressed how proud he was that I put my professional relationship and my fiduciary duty to my clients in front of my personal relationship and my “icky” feeling. He said he was grateful we played for the same team [because of how much I’ve learned over the years]. I did what my clients hired me to do — negotiate for their interests, and net them the most amount of money, and that is exactly what I did.


    Deep loyalty to those I care about is part of who I am, and part of why I have very fulfilling relationships with many of my clients. For a moment, after the dust settled, I was worried that I disrupted a very important personal relationship by doing what I was hired to do. What I found out instead, was I gained more trust and respect from Steve because of my actions, and as a result, we have incredibly happy seller clients… clients with whom I hope to work with again in the future because of what I was able to negotiate for them now.

    Katie Messenger is a top producing agent with Bello Dimora Network of Keller Williams Louisville East, serving Louisville and surrounding counties including Shelby, Bullitt, Spencer, Henry, Trimble, and Meade Counties as well as others. Follow Katie on Facebook. Start your new home search today.

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