Every real estate transaction is inherently adversarial in nature. That very reason may be why you need an agent, but not an agent who makes that process harder! Their job should be to make any conflict seem easy instead of difficult. Membership in a Multiple Listing Service means that brokers agree to cooperate, at least in sharing commissions and listings. Maybe a portion of that cooperating spirit should be used to temper the environment of the negotiation process toward a pleasing end, but instead some brokers get in the way by inflaming conflict and creating barriers along the way,…maybe because they perceive their agency duties as fiduciary in nature (instead of the statutory duties directed by Washington Agency Law) and perceive negotiation as conflict instead of compromise.
This scenario often takes the form of slowed negotiations, where disagreements go back and forth between stubborn agents instead of cutting to the chase. Most of the time it is good to be insulated from direct contact with the opposing party, especially when negotiations become tense, but you may at these times be tempted to peel back that layer of insulation and take assertive action. This happens especially when the agent seems to impose their will, instead of furthering the wishes of their client.
This dilemma may manifest itself when brokers try to interject additional forms or addendums into a contract just because their company or managing broker says that is their policy. Oftentimes this happens after you already have a binding contract. Not only is this bad practice, but is usually unnecessary. Good business practice and professionalism greases the slide and smoothes the ride. It should not create more friction.
In one failed transaction, a selling broker wrote a lowball offer at the request of the buyer. The listing agent acted highly offended by the offer and instead of presenting the offer as written and allowing the seller to make a decision, the broker went out of their way to poison the dialogue by projecting that offended feeling into their presentation of the offer (The broker must have felt the need to defend the listing price they promoted to justify their value). The brow-beat seller grudgingly signed the counter offer the listing agent promoted even though they really liked that buyer and would have been satisfied with a lesser purchase price because it solved the dilemma of their need to move quickly. Find an agent who will stay out of the way, yet guide you skillfully past the pitfalls!