You Scratch My Back, I'll Scratch Yours

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Monkey ScratchingThere are some agents who think that the real estate business is still run like "old school".

Oh come on, you know what I'm talking about! "You scratch my back, I'll scratch yours". If you brought a lot of business to a loan officer, they might go out of their way to get a loan funded earlier on your transaction. Same deal with the banks. If a loan officer brought in a lot of business, he/she might have carte blanc and get their files placed ahead of someone else's.

Agents loved being able to tell their clients "I have a great team and we guarantee you will be moving into your new home by a certain date." NEWS FLASH PEOPLE! It doesn't work that way anymore. There are NO MORE "favors" that can be asked, NO MORE "bending the rules," NO MORE "I bring you a lot of business so I should be first."

It's sad to see these old timers screaming at the team "But I'm a top producer, I deserve blah blah blah" The worst part is when they set unreasonable expectations of the team to close on time and it's nearly impossible to predict much less demand that it happen!

Until we get out of the loan crises, there's not much we can do as agents to push the timeframes. What we CAN do is prepare our clients UP FRONT for possible, unanticipated delays.

PLEASE let them know that due to the current lending market, NO ONE can guarantee an on-time closing. Tell your clients that the team will make every attempt to close on the contractual date, but delays could happen from one to several days.

Also, please don't do short closings on an FHA or even a conventional loan! With a 30 day or less close, you have at best only a 50/50 chance of closing on time.

By preparing your client for this possibility, you AND your client will have better control of the situation. If you happen to close on time-THEN you can be the hero! 

Comments (51)

Debbie Summers
Charles Rutenberg Realty - New Smyrna Beach, FL

The "New Economy" has brought change to our industry that includes longer wait periods for just about everything...  I tell my clients to be patient, that because of what was done, they will will have to get in line.

Dec 23, 2009 08:29 AM
Doreen Zelma
Sky Realty - Austin, TX
I always, always, always under promise and over deliver. There are so many things that are out of everyone's control now a days, that we can't and should not claim to be responsible for. I am never the bad guy, if something happens beyond my control. I always tell my clients, my goal is to not make them homeless, and they never are.
Dec 23, 2009 08:31 AM
Jackie Connelly-Fornuff
Douglas Elliman Real Estate in Babylon NY - Babylon, NY
"Moving at The Speed of YOU!"

Educating our clients and customers is what should come first. We can't predict everything but we can sure try! :) Great post!

Dec 23, 2009 08:45 AM
Patricia Aulson
Realtor - Portsmouth NH Homes-Hampton NH Homes

Thank you for the informative post today.  All we can do and should do is our best. 

Patricia/Seacoast NH

Dec 23, 2009 09:28 AM
Ron Parise - Cape Coral, FL

Because of the uncertainties that you describe; sellers and their agents have all but stopped looking at offers from buyers that need mortgages. I understand ...why even entertain an offer contingent on financing when there are buyers with cash ready to go? As a result my buyers agent business is shifting to a "cash only" position

Dec 23, 2009 09:29 AM
Aaron Vaughn, REALTORĀ© 830-358-0455
eXp Realty - Canyon Lake, TX
My knowledge is your power | eXp Realty

I just had a HUD closing today that was 2 months behind because of lender issues; I still got a hug from my client at the end, because she knew I had done everything possible to get it done. Her lender didn't even show up to the closing.

Dec 23, 2009 10:13 AM
Tim Maitski
Atlanta Communities Real Estate Brokerage - Atlanta, GA
Truth, Excellence and a Good Deal

You have to go with the small, local banks with the underwriters in house.  I just closed one in 19 days with Thanksgiving in between there.  Forget the big banks.

Dec 23, 2009 10:20 AM
Cheryl Ritchie
RE/MAX Leading Edge - Huntingtown, MD
Southern Maryland 301-980-7566

Prepare, prepare, prepare them for the unexpected. Always have plan B and plan C.

Dec 23, 2009 10:55 AM
Marian Goetzinger
Pine Knoll Shores Realty 252-422-9000 - Pine Knoll Shores, NC
Crystal Coast Real Estate NC

Dianna, Amen and Amen!  I had a closing this summer that dragged on for almost 4 months.  I had not done a good job of preparing my seller for that possibility and she was very unhappy with me.  I won't make that mistake again.

Dec 23, 2009 10:56 AM
Lottie Kendall
Compass - San Francisco, CA
Helping make your real estate dreams a reality

Dianne, good reminder to prepare our clients for difficulties which might be encountered, and always remember to communicate with all parties in a transaction. Communication does wonders to soothe worried people.

Dec 23, 2009 10:59 AM
Will Goodson
Sheffield Properties/Private Label Realty - Austin, TX

You're right... the best thing you can do is pre-condition your clients in the early stages of the transaction.  In today's environment, the best way to earn someone's business is to tell them how it is and not what they want to hear.  We can't control what issues may arise, but preparing our clients ahead of time will ensure they stay commited through every step of the transaction.

Dec 23, 2009 11:05 AM
Paul Walton
Cherry Creek Mortgage Co - Benicia, CA


Team work and over communication always helps to tackle the never ending challenges we face.  It‘s always how we address the challenge that makes the difference.

The 30 day close for FHA or conventional is still reality.......if the buyers are prepped and docs are all in and scanned for potential issues.

In today's world files need to be scanned with underwriter eyes before the file before it is even processed and sent to our Underwriters.

Great advise to be ready for unanticipated delays or requests.

Have a great Holiday!

Dec 23, 2009 12:29 PM
Russ Ravary ~ Metro Detroit Realtor call (248) 310-6239
Real Estate One - Commerce, MI
Michigan homes for sale ~

I don't say anything less than 45 days anymore.  I have had one go 63 days on a purchase.

Dec 23, 2009 01:48 PM
Darrel Cook CRS, GRI, Broker
Darrel Cook Real Estate Service - Jonesboro, AR

It is a circle,,,,what is new is what used to be old,,, We have gotten spoiled in the last 10 years with 2 week closings,,, 45 days is no big deal,,,and the paper work is not much more than we did with loan doc's 20 years ago,,,Do some home work, before you put the buyer in your car, Saves lot of head achs

Dec 23, 2009 03:46 PM
Christine Donovan
Donovan Blatt Realty - Costa Mesa, CA
Broker/Attorney 714-319-9751 DRE01267479 - Costa M

This is good advice.  So few closings are happening on time even when they have time enough and it should happen.  Preparing clients is important.

Dec 23, 2009 03:51 PM
David Krichmar - Legend Lending - Sugar Land, TX

Thank You so MUCH Diana.  This post is so true.  When a closing happens on time it is rare and hopefully appreciated.  In the end it is about great service for the client and closing, period. 

Dec 23, 2009 04:03 PM
John Occhi
Mason Real Estate - Temecula, CA
SRES,CPRES.ePRO - Temecula-Murrieta CA Real Estate

All I'm saying on this topic is my loan officer takes good care of me and OUR clients...

Merry Christmas,


Dec 23, 2009 04:12 PM
Harry F. D'Elia III
RentVest - Phoenix, AZ
Investor , Mentor, GRI, Radio, CIPS, REOs, ABR

I have to agree with you that there are no more guarantees in this business. When it closes and funds then it is a done deal.

Dec 23, 2009 09:43 PM
Tony Grego, 317-663-4173 #1 Trade Association for Alternative Inv
REISA - 317-663-4173 - Indianapolis, IN

This story and posts shows why I'm busy. We can close in ten days or less with direct bank rates and low fees. The big guys will take 2-3 months.

No problem on my end


Dec 23, 2009 10:07 PM
Tammy Lankford,
Lane Realty Eatonton, GA Lake Sinclair, Milledgeville, 706-485-9668 - Eatonton, GA
Broker GA Lake Sinclair/Eatonton/Milledgeville

I never liked the "good ole' boy" network anyway.   Glad to see it on it's way out.

Dec 24, 2009 03:29 AM