Have you experienced the ever-dreaded, Chicken Little, “The sky is falling,” phone call from a buyer’s agent days before closing on your listing? Yeah. Me too.

  • Not every transaction will be perfect. If you can remain in control of the situation, you can effectively navigate and achieve client satisfaction.

Have you experienced the ever-dreaded, Chicken Little, “The sky is falling,” phone call from a buyer’s agent days before closing on your listing?

Yeah. Me too.

That gut wrenching feeling when you know that you have to be the bearer of the inevitable bad news slowly creeps through your veins.

Here are six tips to manage the sellers, lessen the burden and retain control of a situation that could turn ugly when the deal falls through.

1. Set expectations of real estate reality early on

The best thing you can do before a transaction begins is address potential hurdles early on. Appraisal concerns? Selling as-is? Worried about inspections? All that should be addressed to minimize unexpected headaches in the future.

I don’t mean to say to prepare your seller for failure, however, let them know about potential risks. That way you can “under promise and over deliver.”

Appropriate communication goes a long way. I promise.

2. Wait, stop, breathe

You get the bad news. Yes, you’ve worked so hard to get this far. The fall sucks, but it might not be as bad as you think.

Take a few moments to actually digest and understand the situation. Control your panic before you spread it to your seller. Find your inner calm before you contact anyone.

3. Get expert opinions

Lender issue? Contact the buyer’s lender or a trusted ally in the industry for guidance.

Schedule a quick call to your broker or mentor to assess the situation and see if it can be remedied. Obtain all the facts and possible solutions to the problem before divulging the details to the seller.

4. Be nice until it’s time not to be

Once you’ve found your inner zen and you’ve gathered all the facts, communicate with the other party (agent or lender). An ounce of courtesy goes a long way.

Know that the other party is also in distress in regard to the situation, and they probable feel like they have failed, too — usually rightfully so.

I represented Elmer, a seller, in December of 2016, when the buyer’s chosen lender dropped the ball — and tried to lie about it.

It was an insanely tricky file with a foreign national. We were told days before Christmas that there was no way the file could be completed and our closing date was 11 days away.

Before the panic set in, I searched through my iPhone and found a highly qualified lender who was willing to review the file.

However, because the boundaries of trust were broken between the initial lender and myself, I required that the extension be based on using a local, trustworthy lender.

The buyer’s agent fought me, and I was nice … until it was time not to be. With some firm reminders about our common goal, we saved the deal and got the file to the closing table.

5. Have a face-to-face with your seller

Once you have all the facts, potential solutions or remedies (and your blood pressure has cooled to a level lower than stroke-inducing), then you calmly prepare your seller for the delay, added cost or — worse — the bust out.

Whatever you do, don’t do this via text or email. The seller will need to hear the empathy in your voice and your sincerity when you say that things will be OK.

Explain clearly what steps are next and how you will be by their side to help. Remember, they hired you as their trusted adviser.

In Elmer’s case, we worked through the obstacles after an in-person meeting. He understood how hard we were going to work to get this home closed before their newly built home’s construction was completed.

6. Stay in constant communication through the process 

Be proactive, communicate effectively with all parties and deliver. When it comes to your sellers, they are under the mentality that “no news is bad news.” Everyone’s nerves are on edge and the best thing you can be is present.

Maintaining your calm during the storm is the best thing you can do to ensure a smooth transition from the unknown waters back into charted territory.

Clients who feel comforted by your control and confidence are always the best source of referrals in the future because they know you will be the one to save the day.

Nicole Lopez is the creator and Leader of The PR Group at Intero Real Estate Services in Houston. Connect with Nicole on Facebook.

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