Scott Daniels, in a blog this morning, inspired me to relate some thoughts on the “wacky” requests of some potential clients. While at first we are inclined to respond with statements such as “what mental hospital” have you escaped from?”, share a minute of thought with me.
A prospect wanted to list a home at $550,000 when their house was only worth $220,000. I said no problem and promptly filled out a listing agreement. His next question was "what's your commission amount." I said 15%. He looked shocked. He then said, "How long is your listing agreement?” I responded, “10 years. It will take that long for prices to appreciate to that amount (It really only took 5 years because of our boom!).” He laughed and politely walked me to the door. As luck or fate would have it, he didn’t list his home with anyone then. I got the call a year later and sold it at market value.
Another example happens all too often when we are told they want the house sold in under 30 days. This could be because they are facing foreclosure, federal tax liens, divorce, imminent death or dementia or placement in state assisted care where the state gets your assets, prison time or legal bill to prevent prison time, unaffordable repairs, significant medical expenses or other debt. The first thing I would ask is “How much did you expect to net for your home to sell in 30 days?” as I pull out a purchase agreement rather than a listing agreement. Some of my best investment purchases come as a result of just asking!