Re: ‘Rookie Realtor’s first deal collapses‘ (June 8)

Dear Rookie:

Instead of asking everyone around you what has changed, why not ask your buyers? Most likely they are really nervous about the commitment and not unhappy about the home. I cannot believe that your BIC (broker in charge) has not covered this with you. Sounds like you have already kissed the deal goodbye and don’t even know if your buyer really wants to pass on this house or not.

Sit down with the buyer and explain to them that they will NOT get their deposit back and in addition that it will cost them at least $300 in cancellation fees to end this deal (this should be the second time you have covered this with them because you should have explained this to them BEFORE they signed the first offer.)

Do not sugar coat these points: you are not trying to make their breach of contract any easier or nicer than what it is when you are explaining it to them. Stick to the hard, cold facts. Right now it is in your client’s best interest to have exposure to the reality of the situation and how serious it is. Don’t forget to mention that the seller can decide to sue them–very unlikely but it could happen.

VERY IMPORTANT: Advise them to seek the advise of an attorney before they make a final decision. If they decide to break the contract, then come back to them and show them how you stood up for them and saved them from having to pay certain fees.

Ask them how they have gone from feeling “we got a great deal” to “we are paying too much.” Review all of the comps you used the first time when they made their offer and prove that they are not paying too much. Go back over all the houses that they hated to remind them how much they liked this home. Ask them probing questions until they tell you why they did not think of these objections during the two weeks of negotiating or on their second visit to the home before you made the offer. Don’t take wishy-washy answers or it will happen again on the next house.

By the way, if your attitude is that you really need this sale and the money from it, then most of your deals will fall apart or will be nightmares because you are not focusing on your client and what works for them. You will go along with whatever they tell you rather than having the nerve to point out the flaws with the home they are considering. You have to be willing to tell a buyer who thinks they love a house that it is not a good investment for them when it isn’t or that it does not meet their needs even if you really need that check to pay your own bills that month. I see it all the time: the agent who is desperate for a check can’t put anything together. The agent who is not worried about when or how much they get paid has minimal problems. Welcome to the world of real estate.

Christine Plaisted

Dear Rookie:

In California, the buyer can back out of the contract within the first 17 days. He/she does not have to even explain why, but the buyer usually says it is the TDS or termite report. They get all their money back. I never had anything fall out of escrow until some lame-brain came up with this new rule. Where was your deal consummated?



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