Thanks for Your Service. Mind if I Discriminate Against You?
On this Veteran’s holiday, I think that most of us take a moment to give thanks to all the men and women who serve or have served in our nation’s armed forces. We owe them a huge debt of gratitude and I’m happy that for at least one day a year we take the time to acknowledge their sacrifices. Or so I thought…..
Last week I received two offers on one of my short sale listings. Unlike my other short sales, this particular transaction has been plagued by offers that have fallen apart. We had been ready to close on November 2nd, when the buyers supposedly decided the driveway was too steep. Are you kidding me? They were our 5th set of buyers so the prospect of getting a new buyer approved and foreclosure again postponed made me want to scream.
But we quickly received two solid offers that would net the bank almost exactly the same amount. The first offer received was a VA offer from a young family. The husband is active duty military and has been deployed five times to carry out his job of training soldiers how to detect road-side bombs. The second offer was from another young family whose husband is a school teacher. This was a conventional loan offer that was presented by his Realtor, who happens to be his mom. The agent on the VA offer was very professional and thorough. She discussed all aspects of the deal with her client’s loan officer before writing the offer and made sure that all requested items were included. The second agent grilled me about my experience with short sales, and neglected to include all requested items.
I presented both offers to my sellers, and they quickly selected the VA offer, touched by his service to our country. I was also very upfront about the fact that based on my experience thus far with the two agents, the Realtor with the VA offer seemed to be the easier to work with, and most likely to keep her clients on track through close of escrow. I had the feeling that the other agent would keep on looking for her son and if something better came on the market, they’d be gone.
Well, mom the agent was furious when she learned her son’s offer was not accepted! She called me on Friday accusing me of selecting the other offer because it was our buyer and we were double-ending the deal. I patiently explained that it was not our buyer and that the sellers had selected the first offer largely because the buyer was in the military and they appreciated his service. I thanked her for her offer and told her that we would be happy to retain it as a back-up.
Well I guess she wasn’t through. Yesterday she called and started yelling at me, accusing me of doing a disservice to my sellers by advising them to accept the VA deal. “I’ve been an agent for 25 years,” she ranted, “and everyone knows that a buyer with a conventional loan is always better than a VA buyer!” I was speechless. According to that statement, I would assume that for 25 years she has been advising her sellers to discriminate against VA buyers! There may be cases where a VA or even an FHA loan won’t work because of the property condition, but that was not the case in this situation. Couldn’t she see that her statement was blatant discrimination, and just as reprehensible as advising a homeowner against selling to someone based on their race, sex, or religion?
I somehow don’t think I’ve heard the end of this, but I couldn’t be happier that my sellers selected with their hearts. I will do everything I can to make this a smooth transaction for this brave, young family. Happy Veteran’s Day!