Vail Daily column: Don’t settle for a subpar real-estate broker |

Vail Daily column: Don’t settle for a subpar real-estate broker

Joan Harned

Dear Joan,

We are looking for property in the Vail area and have a real estate broker helping that is very nice, but what I would consider very pushy. My husband says that every real estate agent is pushy because it is their job to sell you a property as quickly as possible and for as much money as possible. I don’t appreciate being shown properties that are continually “just a little” higher than the price we said was our top, and then being asked to decide if I want to make an offer or not after one viewing. Maybe I am the one that is difficult, but it seems like you should be able to find an agent that is not in a hurry and will show you what you have asked for. I am now asking you your opinion of my desire. Is it possible to find someone like that?

Dear Methodical,

I hope that you are misinterpreting your broker’s style and motives and you should tell him how you are feeling. If no change occurs, I am sorry you have encountered one of only a few brokers that will not give you the service you want, and deserve! I think most of us that have done well in this valley have not only shown property patiently for days or weeks, but for years! It is not uncommon for clients to look at property when they are in town, but with no sense of urgency until either something in their life changes or they find “just what they have been looking for,” which may be several years into the process.

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Your concern about price may be that we always look a little above the top price specified so as not to miss a good property that might accept a lower offer. Also, we have a wide range of prices in this valley, but not necessarily in one specific location.

If you don’t feel comfortable with the pricing in one area, then your broker can show you other areas, and you should ask for that, if it is not suggested. If you have insisted on just one area, then your price range may not exist there.


As far as it being natural for a real estate agent (i.e. salesman) to be pushy, I would like to strongly disagree. I would, however, like to point out that, as Daniel Pink points out in his book by the same title, “To Sell is Human.” Almost everyone is selling their ideas, their desires, their rules, etc., to their spouses, friends and children, every single day. You may not feel that you make your living selling, but many more people do than you would guess. Attorneys, doctors, mechanics, service people, etc., are selling you on what they think you need. Mothers, fathers, politicians, preachers, teachers … they are all selling you their ideas and beliefs. There is nothing inherently wrong with selling, it is just the approach used.

Pink speaks of many ways of selling, but I believe the one he calls “servant selling” is the right approach. Pink says that servant selling “begins with the idea that those who move others aren’t manipulators but servants. They serve first and sell later and the test … is this: If the person you’re selling to agrees to buy, will his or her life improve?” I think that most of our fine real estate brokers in the valley espouse to this theory. If you found one that does not, then you need to have a frank discussion to see if you can get on the same page … or you may choose to make a change. Looking for real estate in our beautiful communities should be fun and exciting. Don’t settle for less. Good luck to you!

Joan Harned is an owner-broker for Keller Williams Mountain Properties and heads up Team Black Bear, her own real estate team. Harned has been selling real estate in Eagle County for 27 years, is a past chairman of the Vail Board of Realtors, past Realtor of the Year, past director on the Great Outdoors Colorado Board and a member of the Luxury and Land Institutes. Contact Harned with your real estate questions at, 970-337-7777 or

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