One of my great challenges as I build my RE broker practice is learning how to develop positive working relationships with other brokers. I’ll admit, a broker is a different animal than a lawyer. I think the difference flows from the fact that brokers to a certain extent are on the “same team” while lawyers are not. Brokers need each other to keep their clients on track towards closing, or neither broker gets paid. Lawyers, in contrast, get paid whether the deal closes or not. Transactional attorneys are not adversarial per se — at least not the good ones — but they retain their own self interest independent of opposing counsel. I think an absence of this “mutual interest” can foster a degree of conflict between brokers.
Since I don’t have that mutual interest with the opposing broker, I’ve tried to come up with a “work around,” some style that is consistent with what is expected of a broker. In that vein, it has been my understanding and experience to date that everybody expects the parties to negotiate in “good faith.” That term is of course extremely slippery and not susceptible to an easy definition. Its sorta like porn — hard to describe, but you know it when you see it. As a general rule, I think “good faith” requires the parties to negotiate realistically with the understanding that each side is genuinely interested in consumating the transaction on terms that are fair to all. If one side fails to live up to this standard, then the other side will perceive that they are not negotiating in good faith.
To date I’ve operated under the assumption that if I can faciliate good faith negotiations, then I’ll keep to a minimum any conflict between me and the other broker. What does that require in the context of the inspection contingency? Once the inspection has been performed and the defects noted, is that an opportunity to essentially renegotiate the price? Or should the negotiations focus strictly on the specific defects, their respective importance (e.g. safety issue vs. cosmetic), and the costs to repair? Or is even that too aggressive?
Any insight would be greatly appreciated. I just love “RCG University”…