Hawaii Randy's Real Estate Opinions: Buying or Just Fishing?

Buying or Just Fishing?

In the last week, I have been received the following comments on a home I have listed for sale.

  1. How motivated is your seller?
  2. Is that price firm?
  3. Is there room on the price?
  4. Isn't that price kind of high?
  5. Is your seller flexible on the price?
  6. Am I wasting my time if I offer ______?

This listing has attracted a lot interest.  We had a great turnout at the first open house on Sunday and had several agent showings during the week. 

Here is the rub.  The comments above came from real estate agents who had not seen or shown the home to their clients.  They wanted to start a negotiation sight unseen.  Are you kidding me?  You really want to negotiate price, before you see it?  Is the price of gas gotten so high that you don't want to burn a gallon for a ½ million dollar transaction?

How about this?

  1. Get in your car and show it to your client.
  2. Check the comps.
  3. Submit a clean written offer.

Whatever happened to professionalism?  They don't know if it's overpriced or underpriced?  They don't even know if their client even wants it?

So here is my response.  I present all written offers to my clients.  Please show your clients the home and check the comps before you try and tell us we are priced wrong.  The fact that a long line of people showed up at the first open house tells me, we can't be too overpriced.



Randy L. Prothero, REALTOR®

Broker-in-Charge, ABR, AHWD, CRB, CRS, e-PRO, GRI, MRP, SFR

eXp Realty

Team Leader - "The Prothero Group"

Randy Prothero is well established as an expert in working with military / VA clients and first time home buyers.  His home seller's (listing) campaign is one of the most aggressive marketing programs in the area.  His luxury home listings sell faster and for more money.

Based out of Mililani, Hawaii. Randy services the island of Oahu (Honolulu County) Performs mediations and ombudsman services for the Board of Realtors.  To improve overall professionalism in his area Randy also offers classes for real estate agents. 

www.HawaiiRandy.comOahu (Honolulu County) Property Search  Hawaii Military Relocations

Comment balloon 30 commentsRandy Prothero • May 04 2011 02:25PM


I agree.... As a Buyer's Agent, my first thing to do is show the house, then contact the listing agent with questions. This should only be if there is serious interest.

Posted by David Burrows, No Pressure, Just Seriously Devoted to Real Estate (Classic Realty) over 7 years ago

Don't you just love those questions...I just love when I get a call and the agent says will they take __________ for it...are they really that stupid?

Posted by Jeffrey DiMuria 321.223.6253 Waves Realty, Florida Space Coast Homes (Waves Realty) over 7 years ago

Randy, that annoys me to no extent too. At least your post is re-assuring that it is not just in my part of the world, ignorance has no boundaries, sadly.....

Posted by Endre Barath, Jr., Realtor - Los Angeles Home Sales 310.486.1002 (Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices) over 7 years ago

If the buyers can justify their statements with comps... great. If they are just posturing, then thats obnoxious!

Posted by Donald Reich (Prudential Centennial) over 7 years ago

In the REO business primarily you would not believe how many calls like that I get a day.  At lst once or twice I am asked, "How much does the bank really want?"  The fact is we don't know how low the bank will go.  They don't share this information openly.  It seems like professionals in more and more industries are getting lazier and lazier.  Show up, work hard, and have some pride please.

Posted by Michael Morley, SFR (Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage) over 7 years ago

Those are all valid questions . . . if you have a real buyer, you've seen the house with them, you have discussed the comps, and are getting prepared to write an offer.  Otherwise, they are wasting everyone's time.

Posted by Margaret Goss, Chicago's North Shore & Winnetka Real Estate (Baird & Warner Real Estate) over 7 years ago

Randy - We're with you on this... At least see the house unless the buyers are doing this site unseen and buy often without even previewing the home... They are out there.. We've had sales like that believe it or not.... Always put it on paper is our general rule of thumb.. Without that it's not a serious offer.. Just our two cents...

Posted by Robert and Lisa Hammerstein -201-315-8618, Bergen County NJ Real Estate (Keller Williams Valley Realty) over 7 years ago


It's just part of being in the real estate business.

Posted by Lorraine or Loretta Kratz, Certified Negotiation Consultants (Crescent Moon Realty, Inc. & Land N Sea Auctions.) over 7 years ago


After I show the house, can we just negotiate the terms beforehand so I only need to print the offer to purchase just once???  It saves TREES.

Posted by Eugene Adan, Carlsbad Real Estate (Adan Properties, Carlsbad, CA (760) 720-9710) over 7 years ago

How about -- show it and then IF the buyer likes it MAKE AN OFFER.

Then we'll see what the bottom line is. 

Posted by Erica Ramus, MRE, Schuylkill County PA Real Estate (Erica Ramus - Ramus Realty Group - Pottsville, PA ) over 7 years ago


I'm with you on this one. I'd just say, "please call me back after you've shown the home"...end of discussion.

Posted by Lynda Eisenmann, Broker-Owner,CRS,CDPE,GRI,SRES, Brea,CA, Orange Co (Preferred Home Brokers) over 7 years ago


We hear these questions far too often, from buyers and their agents. I think your response was spot on for those who haven't shown it - go see the darn thing.

And if they have and the client is interested, do your due diligence, look at the market, and submit a written offer so it can be considered.


Posted by Jeff Dowler, CRS, The Southern California Relocation Dude (Solutions Real Estate ) over 7 years ago
  1. How motivated is your seller?
    Motivated enough to Sell.  Is your Buyer motivated to Buy?
  2. Is that price firm?
    Firm enough.  I slept on it last night, and my back feels GREAT!  Your Buyer should try it.
  3. Is there room on the price?
    Always room for another zero! 
  4. Isn't that price kind of high?
    Not for a legitimate Buyer.  Do you know any?
  5. Is your seller flexible on the price?
    I don't know about "flexible," but he can crack his knuckles in time to "Disco Inferno."
  6. Am I wasting my time if I offer ______?
    Well, not YOUR time.  But for anyone else whose time has value.........
Posted by Mike Jaquish, 919-880-2769 Cary, NC, Real Estate (Realty Arts) over 7 years ago
I think the word lazy comes to mind. Agents are trying to take the easy way out. They know what the clients top offer will be and they probably see a house like yours that would be great but the price is a little high. So they call and feel you out before even talking to the buyer.
Posted by Robert Schmalz, Cal. Lic Broker (West Los Angeles Real Estate Group) over 7 years ago

I wish I could answer you that. . but the homeowner is the only person that can . .

write an offer and lets see. .

Posted by Fernando Herboso - Broker for Maxus Realty Group, 301-246-0001 Serving Maryland, DC and Northern VA (Maxus Realty Group - Broker 301-246-0001) over 7 years ago

Randy, I get those questions all the time. It's mostly annoying when they have even seen the house, and you know it's priced fairly and been on market less than 30 days, then the first question they ask is are sellers willing to come down. If I know the agent, and I know the seller has authorized me to tell a serious interested buyer that they will come down 10-20,000., I'll tell them seller has some flexibility in price. But most agents are just fishing looking for a deal, and after they figure they can offer 10-20,000. less, they neglect to tell you that thay also plan on asking for a 3% subsidy and their buyer is still working on getting their financing approved. If I don't know anything about the agent and don't even know if agent really has a buyer, no sense in discussing too much with them until after they show the house.

Posted by Jeff Pearl over 7 years ago

I'm getting a lot of this activity also Randy.   Both from agents and buyers.  If you want to really know, do what needs to be done and write your offer.

Posted by Gabe Sanders, Stuart Florida Real Estate (Real Estate of Florida specializing in Martin County Residential Homes, Condos and Land Sales) over 7 years ago


I see this as a great compliment to your marketing.  Those agents are getting pestered from buyers who can't quite afford this particular home but love it thanks to your description and photos.  The agent knows the purchasing power of the buyers and is actually "feeling out" how much interest you're getting.

Posted by Irene Kennedy Realtor® in Northwestern NJ (Weichert) over 7 years ago

I agree with you 100%. (Or maybe 98%, at least!)

But let me play devil's advocate here. I suspect some of those agents have buyers (or potential buyers, or clients who say they're interested in buying . . . anywhere along that spectrum) and the first question out of the buyer's mouth will be "How motivated is the seller?" or "Is the price firm?" That's a knee-jerk reaction from some buyers. And they won't proceed further unless they get an answer that satisfies them. The buyer's agent knows that's the first question the client will ask. So rather than the following conversation:

Buyer's Agent: There's a house on 123 Main Street that just came on the market. It's in your price range, it has the right number of bedrooms and bathrooms, and has the other amenities you're looking for. It's priced at $xxx. I've run the comps and it looks like a good value.

Client: Do you know if the price is firm?

Buyer's Agent: Well, we can always make an offer. Most sellers are willing to negotiate. When can we schedule an appointment to look at it?

Client: As soon as I find out if there's room for negotiation. I'm not going to waste my time if the price is firm.

The agent instead picks up the phone and calls the listing agent to ask, "Is the price firm?" It just may be that, rather than the agent acting unprofessionally, he/she is acting at the direction (explicit or implicit) of the client.

Posted by Donald Tepper, DC area investor helping heirs of inherited homes (Long and Foster) over 7 years ago

David B. - I wish more agents would practice that.

Jeffrey D. - Apparently

Endre B. - Ignorance has no boundaries.  LOL

Donald R. - Comps are extremely important, but not the only test.

Michael M. - When I am asked how much my client wants, I tell them the list price.

Margaret G. - Not only wasted everyone's time, but they are trying to get the seller's agent to violate their fiduciary responsibility.  If the seller's agent plays ball, shame on them.

Posted by Randy Prothero, Hawaii REALTOR, (808) 384-5645 (eXp Realty) over 7 years ago

Lisa and Robert - If the buyer's are not available (out of state etc.) and making an offer subject to inspection, the agent should preview the property before making recommendations or writing an offer.

Lorraine or Loretta - The unfortunate truth.

Adan Properties - The problem with that is our contracts have 12 pages plus addendums.  Until the seller sees your entire contract, it is hard to tell what they will accept.  How strong is the rest of the offer?  That may have an impact on what price they will accept.

Erica R. - I have found that to be so much more effective when representing buyers.  I guess we aren't lazy.

Lynda E. - Good practice.

Jeff D. - It seems pretty straight forward to us.  Why is that so hard for so many others?

Posted by Randy Prothero, Hawaii REALTOR, (808) 384-5645 (eXp Realty) over 7 years ago

Mike J. - All answers we are thinking.  But to best represent my sellers, I have to bite my lip at times.

Robert S. - In this case it was the lowest priced home in the area.  It seems like that is an automatic tactic for some agents.

Fernando H. - Best policy!

Jeff P. - You make a great point.  That is exactly why I never engage in that conversation.  When the actual offer comes in the other 12 pages and addendums have other items besides just the price that devalue their offer.

Gabe S. - I tell them I present all written offers immediately.

Irene K. - That is true in a few cases.  I have agents tell me, my client is qualified for X.  Are we wasting our time?

Posted by Randy Prothero, Hawaii REALTOR, (808) 384-5645 (eXp Realty) over 7 years ago

Don T. - In my years in the business, I have never had a buyer tell me that.  It seems funny that so many other agents would have this happen so often.  I can name a few agents who have this happen with every client.  LOL

Posted by Randy Prothero, Hawaii REALTOR, (808) 384-5645 (eXp Realty) over 7 years ago

Randy - if you have a long line of people viewing the house, you know you did something right. Some agents just wants to share their opinion without gathering facts.

Posted by Mike Yeo (3:16 team REALTY) over 7 years ago

And I can add one to your list that I literally got minutes ago on a condo listing I released this week that is currently vacation rented and cannot be shown until next week:

How much do they want for the furniture?  Will they take X?

Honestly, this a short sale listing, over half a million dollars, and your buyer is going to decide whether or not to offer based upon the price of furnishings he hasn't even seen?

Posted by Beth Thoma Robinson, R(B) SFR - Hawaii Island Luxury Resort Real Estate (Hawaii Life Real Estate Brokers Big Island) over 7 years ago

Mike - I agree, and some are trying to impress their clients.

Beth - Sounds pretty silly.

Posted by Randy Prothero, Hawaii REALTOR, (808) 384-5645 (eXp Realty) over 7 years ago

lol...get in your car and show it!  Good one!  Let's just low ball and negotiate without even making the effort to show the property!  BTW...that is a HUGE lot!

Posted by Celeste "SALLY" Cheeseman, (RA) AHWD CRS ePRO OAHU HAWAII REAL ESTATE (Liberty Homes) over 7 years ago

Sally - Some of them send just a price page and the page with their names on it. I have even seen the names missing.  I guess they do not want to waste the ink.

Posted by Randy Prothero, Hawaii REALTOR, (808) 384-5645 (eXp Realty) over 7 years ago

Randy, I will occasionally ask a question prior to showing but it is not a negotiation question it is a question about the actual property.  That is amazing!

Posted by Marchel Peterson, Spring TX Real Estate E-Pro (Results Realty) over 7 years ago

Marcel - I too may ask the agent "Is there anything about the property we should be aware of or point out when I show the property?"

Posted by Randy Prothero, Hawaii REALTOR, (808) 384-5645 (eXp Realty) over 7 years ago

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