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No matter whether it’s a last-minute financing snafu or a deal-breaking item on the home inspection report, we’ve all had transactions suddenly go south — and had to step in to get things back on track. From warring buyers and sellers to agents who just can’t get along to the always unexpected glitches that occur during the escrow process, you may sometimes feel like you’re juggling knives all the way to the closing table.
Whether you’ve contributed funds, negotiated a truce, or put on your grubbies and stepped in to clean up, paint or landscape yourself, we asked what you’ve had to do to keep a deal together. Do you make it a practice to live and let live or do you get your hands dirty to keep things moving forward? What’s the wackiest thing you’ve had to do to get a deal done?
Here are your stories:
- Land listing for sale by owner. New agent who worked with me 20 years ago, first summer and first deal. The agent was trying to prove to the buyer that the lot had a water view; so he climbed a tree with a disposable camera to obtain photographic evidence. While he got the shot, he injured himself in the process and wound up needing emergency surgery. But, with proof of the view, he struck a deal on the way to the hospital.
The seller was impatient because he could not reach my coworker. He called my coworker’s office number. I picked up. He threatened to sell the land to a higher bidder because my coworker was incommunicado. I told the seller the truth. The agent was in the hospital getting an operation for the hernia that he had suffered while climbing a tree on this gentleman’s property, to make the sale. The guy was mortified. He apologized and backed down.
Hot market. The buyer did not realize what a great deal he was getting. He was demanding tests for radon gas and for percolation. We practice on Long Island, New York, which was formed by glaciers 20,000 years ago. The whole island is made of sand and gravel. We have no bedrock, hence no radon; and everything percolates. The buyer’s demands were pointless.
I told the buyer, truthfully, that the only thing keeping the seller from pulling the deal right out from under him was the sense of guilt and obligation to my coworker that the seller felt. I also told the buyer that, if he did not sign that day, I would find somebody who would take the lot for more money. (I would not have thrown my coworker under the bus.) He signed.
So the craziest way that I have held a deal together was by using a coworker’s unfortunate medical situation to good effect by making the parties to the transaction feel selfish and guilty, although rightfully so. This agent, who was on the verge of leaving the business, now has one of the most successful teams in our market, in the top 5 percent.
- I had an owner-occupied listing with two dogs, one friendly and one not. We weren’t getting many showings, and when a buyer’s agent put in a request for a second showing, we were thrilled. The only problem was that the seller couldn’t break away from work in time to get the dogs outside, and the nasty one didn’t trust anyone else.
I love dogs, so said I would give it a try. When I went inside, he hid under the bed barking and growled at me (as expected). I laid down a trail of treats all the way to the front door and sat there silently, with the friendly dog, for about 30 minutes while he sized me up. Finally, he came out and let me put the leash on him. We took a long walk while the buyers did their thing, and got a great offer that night!
- The buyer financed a six-wheel “Gator” to tool around his new dream property. The lender was still confident he could make it work but we had to close on Saturday instead of Friday via a mobile notary (assuming numbers got out on time). The buyer needed inside the house Friday afternoon, but the seller wouldn’t budge. I told the seller’s agent that if we didn’t close via mobile notary on Saturday he could keep my $18,000 commission. The agent told me I was out of my f***ing mind, but the seller agreed. Docs came in with two minutes to spare on Friday afternoon.
- About six years ago, I had a client closing on a large home in the country. I’d already sold their home, so they were temporarily homeless. It was the day before closing, and my buyers went hiking in a rural area one state over. Mr. Buyer stepped on an eight-foot rattlesnake (I’ve seen the photos) and got bit on the leg. He was admitted to a hospital in a rural county, where he almost died. He called from his hospital bed and insisted the deal go through.
I got a mobile notary to go to the hospital to notarize documents giving his wife Power of Attorney to sign for him, and the deal went through. He was in the hospital for a long time. Thank God he had fantastic insurance through his job — anti-venom costs $10,000 an hour. I sold the property for them several years later and have helped them buy and sell numerous properties since then.
To this day, if he sees a snake in a driveway or on the road, he throws that truck in reverse and puts skidmarks on it!
- Although I was the buyers’ agent, I volunteered to take the seller’s daughter to her orthodontist appointment, so they could stay with the movers to move out on time.
- Our client was expecting her first child and magically I arranged that the lender and title company meet at our client’s patient room. It was a very calm and relaxing setting, and we got our closing completed and left the delivery room. The baby was delivered within the next hour, and no delays were required.
Add your own wild tales in the comments below.
Editor’s note: These responses were given anonymously and, therefore, are not attributed to anyone specifically. Responses were also edited for grammar and clarity. Inman doesn’t endorse any specific method and regulations may vary from state to state.