Control Freaks Need Not Apply
As a licensed professional real estate agent, one of the first things you learn is that there are things outside of your realm of control. You can be the most hard-working, diligent, thorough, service-oriented agent on the planet, but there are still aspects to a real estate transaction that you have absolutely NO control over. These 11th Hour Closings from Hell serve to define our character, and our ability to respond to adversity. It is also during these seemingly “out-of-control” situations that help can come from the most unexpected places.
Case in point:
Just ‘Waitin’ on Loan Docs….yeah, right!
I recently represented a really nice family that had, unfortunately, amassed some sizable debt and were in danger of losing their home to foreclosure. We put their home on the market and priced it aggressively. Within a short period of time, we were under contract with some very qualified buyers who clearly loved the house. Everything went fairly smooth. There were a number of minor repairs that needed to be performed as a result of the inspection, but both parties agreed, and soon, we were onto “Pending” status. A week or so later, the appraisal came back at value (Whew!). All we’re waiting on now is loan docs. Or so we thought….
It’s Thursday. We’re supposed to close the following Monday. We HAVE to close on Monday. The foreclosure vultures are circling. I get a call from the Buyer’s Agent late Thursday afternoon. Evidently, there were some funding conditions that had been called out, but the good folks at the Underwriter neglected to share them with any of us. The hearth in front of the wood burning stove needs to be extended and framed, and the long stairway going up to the loft in the converted garage has to have some handrails.
Where’s Bob Villa when you need him?
Now fortunately, I have some familiarity with a hammer and circular saw, but the staircase to the loft has a number of challenging bends and twists, putting it a little out of my league and comfort zone. I make a few calls and all the contractors I trust are busy. Even the ones I don’t trust are busy! My life is passing before my eyes. I see my Sellers going to bankruptcy court, their kids sleeping in a cardboard box on the streets! You get the picture….
An Unexpected Ally
Just then, the phone rings. It is the Buyer’s Agent again. He asks if I am available to meet him and his broker at the home on Saturday. I am getting nervous. “What do you have in mind?” I ask. “Just show up around 9AM, and bring your cordless drill,” He replies.
I show up at the house on Saturday morning, and there is the Buyer’s Agent and his broker setting up saw horses and unloading lumber. I inquire, “So, what’s up?” The Broker looks me in the eye and says, “We’re removing conditions!”
For the next several hours, the three of us worked to extend the hearth, and install a very sturdy ‘code approved’ set of handrails. Bob Villa would be so proud!
Throw a Tantrum, or Swing a Hammer
Too many times, when transactions go sideways or blow up, we simply cast blame. On occasion, we even lose our calm and temper, yelling and screaming for justice. Fortunately, situations like this remind us about the true value of cooperation, and of all that can be accomplished when we work together.
On this day, we weren’t competitors. On this day, we were like-minded professionals, working together, doing whatever was necessary in order to help both our clients achieve their goals.
We closed on Monday. Life is good!