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Closing shenanigans cost sellers $500,000 (screaming and lawyers were involved)

Everyone in the business knows that a closing can go badly, but in this case, it went very badly, and if pies were present, they would have met faces.

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Most people in the real estate business have heard, or even been a party to a horror story regarding a closing. Thankfully, these horror stories are the exception and not the rule, but one of these is enough to make you question why adults behave so poorly at times. Case and point: KGM Custom Home Builders v. Prosky.

According to Attorney Richard Vetstein who blogged about the case, the Prosky family of Mansfield, Massachusetts agreed to sell 45 acres of developable land to KGM Custom Builders. The sale price hinged on the number of lots KGM could acquire permits for which required them to spend over $300,000 and five years to finally obtain permits to develop 60 residential units.

Well, we change our mind, we don’t want to sell to you

During this time, the Prosky family received a better offer which brought in to question KGM’s calculations of the purchase price. Since the builders had invested so much time and money, they were unwilling to negotiate on the already agreed upon terms, and scheduled a closing. Enter the attorneys.

The Prosky’s attorney told KGM to calculate damages because they no longer wanted to sell, but a closing was still scheduled. On the closing date, the Prosky’s attorney showed up, along with a professional videographer. The attorneys began yelling at each other, and in an extremely childish gesture, KGM’s attorney turned off the electricity to the building, presumably so the videographer would not be able to work, but he was able to capture everything with a battery backup. The Prosky’s attorney refused to release their closing documents and after more shouting, the attorney for KGM left.

After the screaming came the lawsuits

Then the lawsuits began. KGM sued the sellers, and a trial judge ruled in favor of the sellers, calculating the sale price of the land at over $1 million. However, the judge also ruled the sellers had engaged in anticipatory repudiation and gave the buyer the option of continuing with he deal or accepting the liquidated damages.

Damages of nearly $500,000 (in permit costs and attorney fees) were awarded. The sellers decided to appeal. Long story short, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court agreed, but reduced the fee by $120,000 (however, interested accrued will likely cost this much anyway).

The lesson here: be careful what you do and say, no matter what circumstances may appear at a closing, because it could come back and cost you not only a sale, but also, punitive damages and your reputation.

Jennifer Walpole is a Senior Staff Writer at The American Genius and holds a Master's degree in English from the University of Oklahoma. She is a science fiction fanatic and enjoys writing way more than she should. She dreams of being a screenwriter and seeing her work on the big screen in Hollywood one day.

Professionalism

Recognize and use free time at work like the gift it is

(PRODUCTIVITY) Free time during your workday can lead to furthering your mind and productivity.

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Clocked in but clocked out

We’ve all had those slow days at work where we’re looking for ways to kill the time until the clock strikes five.

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While it can be tempting to use this time to text or mess around on the Internet, there are much better ways to use that free time that will make your future so much easier.

Cleanliness is next to godliness

First off, tidy up your workspace. Papers and items have a way of accumulating and may be distracting you even if you don’t realize it. By organizing your stuff and throwing away what you don’t need, you’re able to breathe and focus within your workspace.

It also does wonders for your work brain to clear up your email inbox.

Once that’s all done, plan out the rest of your work week. Make a list of the major goals you’d like to accomplish and then a sub-list of how you’ll knock those goals out. Update your calendar and make sure everything is on track.

Social media, networking, and research

It’s also beneficial to use this downtime to further yourself and your organization. Three ways you can do this is through: social media, networking, and research.

If you have access, take some time to look through your company’s social media and see what can be done to enhance it. Either throw up some posts yourself or pitch ideas to the social media manager.

Networking can be done in this small amount of time by sending out “catch up” emails to old colleagues, “welcome emails” to new clients or introduction emails to LinkedIn contacts.

Send them a “how’s it going?,” tell them what’s new with you, and see what they have going on. You never know where networking can lead so it’s always good to stay in touch.

With research, see what the latest trends are in your field and study up on them. This may give you new ways to look at projects and tasks at hand. And, it’s always beneficial to have continued learning.

Get Smart(er)

While on the subject of continued learning, take this time to mess around with something you may not feel completely knowledgeable of. Maybe dig around RPR data, perhaps practice using different computer programs it is never a bad a idea to nourish your brain.

Having free time during the workday is something of a gift. If you can help it, try not to waste it.

#FreeTimeNotWasteTime

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Professionalism

Bill Gates’ big regret of a simple command haunts him, what haunts you?

(EDITORIAL) If BIll Gates is still living with a big regret, it’s time to ponder your own, your own humanity, and consider moving past it in a healthy way.

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It has come to light that Microsoft founder Bill Gates regrets some of the original design decisions of the PC. Namely, the CTRL+ALT+DEL command that allows you to log in to the computer, due to its lack of simplicity when trying to access a key part of a computer’s operating system.

I know Mr. Gates probably has other regrets when looking at the span of his more than thirty years involvement with being associated with one of the most profitable companies in the world. I am assuming that you also have some regrets you have also in regard to your own business and/or career.

We all do.

According to psychologists, regret occurs when an something perceived as an error is made that has some personal accountability tied to it. If you’ve ever been a part of a business team, supervising employees, or been the boss, you’ve had a wealth of personal accountability. And, since you’re human, you’ve definitely made some mistakes.

One of my former bosses told me after a long day, in which I made some mistakes: You did the best you could have with the information you had. More than likely, if you’re agonizing about that mistaken car reservation or wrong decimal point, you made a normal human error. Even if it isn’t a small day to day thing, but perhaps a big issue with some big consequences, you can move on from that. It will be okay.

A great way to move on from a failure or mistake in business is to use the situation as a lesson for the future. Chances are, if you’re a team leader who messed up a relationship with an agent, you will have more agents in the future to avoid that error with.

Learning from your mistakes, and using your errors as fuel to increase your motivation for the next project, is a great way to deal with regrets healthily. If you don’t process your regrets, you can deal with a wealth of mental and physical health problems like chronic stress, depression, and damage to the systems that regulate your hormones.

You will have mistakes, but those mistakes have gotten you to this point in your life. It’s impossible to guess how your life would change if you were able to go back and fix that one thing that feels like a turning point in your business life. Living in spite of regrets is one of the hardest challenges in life to face, but just like Gates, you will accept the past and move on.

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Professionalism

Working Woman’s Wife: on-demand assistants for busy female brokers and agents

Austin startup, Working Woman’s Wife, offers on-demand help for ambitious female executives juggling work and home life.

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Over the past half century, women have made enormous strides into the workplace, including previously male-dominated professions. More than ever, women are serving as executives for major organizations, starting their own businesses, and finding success in the world of real estate.

Unfortunately, women’s success in the working world has not been counterbalanced by a reduction in their responsibilities at home. Statistics released by the U.S. Department of Labor last year reveal that women are still doing the vast majority of housework, including childcare, cooking, cleaning, laundry, and shopping for household amenities.

On an average day, half of all women are completing chores and errands, while only 19 percent of men are contributing to running the household.

Even when men do pitch in, they tend to spend less hours on housework, while women often cut into their work time or overbook and overstress themselves to manage both their careers and their households.

Helping ambitious women every day

An Austin-based startup wants to help ambitious women who “have long been without the advantages wives have provided to men.” The Working Woman’s Wife is an all-around personal assistance and concierge service fulfilling many of the housewifely functions that have long given men a leg-up in the business world.

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According to the Working Woman’s Wife, women complete an average of 18 hours per week of unpleasant and unpaid work, which means they have less time to advance their careers or spend quality time with their families.

When you hire a “wife,” she will complete many of these tasks for you, including office task such as emails and data entry, organization of your personal spaces or office, pet care, party planning and cleanup, cooking, laundry, running errands, personal shopping, and chauffeuring. They can even hang out at your place until the repairman shows up, so you don’t have to waste half a day of work taking care of a household problem.

How pricing for a “wife” works

Wives are available by purchasing packages of hours in increments of 30, 60, 80, or 100 hours per month, starting at $900 per month. Currently the Working Woman’s Wife serves the Austin, Texas area, but they are hoping to open chapters in Seattle, San Francisco, Dallas, Boulder, and the Silicon Valley.

Busy women brokers, real estate agents, and executives could obviously benefit from having someone take care of all of the “little things” that so often burden women who could be making more money, advancing their careers, and relaxing, if they had the time.

However, I can’t help but wonder who will be helping your “wife” run her own household while she is busily tending to yours. It’s great to see women wanting to help out other women, but maybe it would be better if men would step up to the plate. In lieu of $900 per month, perhaps you can convince your hubbie to pick up some of the slack instead.

#WorkingWomansWife

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