In today’s ultra-competitive real estate market where there is only 1.7 months supply of inventory compared to 6 months in a balanced market, and the average home is getting 4.8 offers per sale, it is more important than ever to have the right person “champion” your cause. In the Middle Ages, it became customary for a person of nobility to appoint a “champion” to fight for them in their stead. Trial by combat ended in the 15th to 16th centuries but the practice of “fighting” or speaking in one’s behalf continues even to this day. Lawyers will take up the cause of their client to win justice for them. Professional athletes are recruited for their abilities to help their team become victorious. Craftsmen of every type imaginable are in high demand because of their finished product. Sellers’ and buyers’ objectives are different and, in many cases opposing in nature. Sellers, rightfully so, believe they should get the most for their home while minimizing expenses and avoiding any issues that could cause delays. Buyers want to be treated fairly; have an opportunity to buy the home of their choice and enjoy the protections of normal contingencies for things like mortgage approval and inspections. In most situations, there are two real estate agents involved in a single sale. While there could be legal agency distinctions, it is commonly felt that the agent on their side of the transaction is “championing” their cause. It is natural to want your champion to be the most capable person available. There are skills that agents need in today’s market not the least of which is negotiations. Regardless of which side of the fence you’re on, your agent needs to be skilled in negotiating on your behalf. Every part of the contract is a negotiation starting with the price, then, whether it is cash or subject to a mortgage. What’s a reasonable amount of earnest money? Can it be “as is” and still allow the buyer inspections so they’ll be fully aware of what they’re buying? The buyer wants to negotiate the best terms possible with the seller and they are depending on their agent to work for them to get them. The home inspector has been hired by the buyer to determine the condition of the home and will most likely, ask the seller to make any necessary repairs. The lender hires an appraiser to determine the value of the home so that the loan will be secured by the property. Recent sales are used as comparables, but they trail the market which becomes a challenge in rapidly appreciating markets, especially, when there are multiple offers. And since multiple offers are the norm currently, how is the best way to handle them based on the seller’s or buyer’s perspective. There could be legal and ethical procedures that must be followed but an agent’s experience may also contribute to the favorable outcome. The skilled and experienced negotiator understands that every transaction is different because of dealing with individuals, their families, their needs, and their emotions. The role of the third-party negotiator can be invaluable to the success of the transaction based on not only their experience but the juxtaposition to the principals and their objectivity of trying to reach a compromise.