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When a house goes up for sale, the troops line up. There’s checklists to follow. Everything is done in order. As it’s done, it gets checked off. Do it once, and you realize immediately you’ve got to have a list, otherwise something falls through, gets forgotten.

I’ve got a list for the listing presentation. A list for after the listing is taken. A list of the disclosures needed. A list of who to call for what service, inspection, test and repair. A list of who shows the house, when they show it and what their remarks are. A list of the advertising to be utilized, how much it costs, when it’s done, who it’s done with. A contract comes in, there’s a list of what the client’s needs are. Who the mortgage person is. What the buyer’s qualifications are. A list of contact information for every participant; email, cell phone, home phone, fax, home address, work address. A list of all of the contingency removal dates. A list of what the client is responsible for; obtaining insurance, transferring funds, signing documents. A list of inspection dates.

Everybody knows their job. That’s how they got on the list. It’s got to be efficient. Inefficiency wastes everybody’s time.

In every transaction, I can only hope that the agent on the other side has their list. In this case, I learn right away she doesn’t.

I’m representing a buyer in an unusual transaction; a mobile home. Unusual for my market. The agents’ responsibilities are the same. Contract. Disclosures. Inspections.

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I write the contract. It gets accepted.

That’s when I know that she doesn’t have a list.

Disclosures. We wait.

In order to locate inspectors, I call my list who refers me to someone on their list.

We receive a couple of pages. We wait. We receive a couple of more pages.

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I call the title/escrow company on my list. They don’t handle mobile homes. I call someone on their list.

The contingency deadline for the delivery of disclosures from the seller passes. Representing the buyer, I provide the seller’s agent with 24 hours to perform their end of the contract, or the buyer walks. Easier said than done. The buyer has invested $900 in inspection costs.

24 hours pass. We get all but one page of one disclosure. I write another document reminding the agent that the buyer, who once had 12 days for inspections, now has an additional 5 because of their delay.

The title company calls: I want to send closing documents to the buyer. Sorry, no can do. Just got the disclosures. Inspections were stopped because unless the seller provides them, we have no deal.

I get a call from the buyer. I got all this paperwork from the title company. What is this? I call the title company: I told you not to send those documents. How did you prepare the HUD if you don’t have matching closing instructions? DUH!

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The 21 days from start to finish has now turned into 30 plus. I get an email today from the agent wondering why we’re not closing escrow today. DUH! Where has she been all this time?

The title company emails her: I don’t know when we’re closing. We haven’t gotten the buyer’s closing documents or their final deposit. DUH! Where has she been all this time?

One more inspection tomorrow. Then the buyer is going back to the seller for a price reduction. The seller’s agent didn’t get pre-inspections. $20,000 worth of work needs to be done before it starts raining.

Hey Lady! Get a list!

There’s nothing that NAR can do now. She’s been the owner of her own office since I was sucking my thumb. Maybe if they had actual educational prerequisites to the test or real continuing educational requirements – not taking a test while riding the drunk bus to the wine country – she wouldn’t have gotten this far. Maybe, maybe not.

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Written By

As a lifelong resident and local Realtor, Vicki has established herself as a respected member of the San Mateo County real estate community. She’s known for her wit, sarcasm, and her personality that shows through in her posts. You can find her spouting off at Twitter, here at ag, and her personal blog, San Mateo Real Estate



  1. Josh Brown

    November 8, 2007 at 10:52 pm


    A list. It’s that easy. Not that any list is full proof. But if you start with list and move on from there, the surprises in any given escrow diminish considerably.

    Nice post…

  2. Vicki Moore

    November 8, 2007 at 10:58 pm

    I like surprises like flowers and diamonds, not that the roof needs to be replaced before it starts raining.

    Thanks Josh.

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