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Obedience means I might have a bad connection and our call gets dropped.

Real Estate Broker/Owner with DFW Living TREC# 0553912

If you are on the phone with me and suddenly discover that you are talking to dead air then one of two things just happened. 

1.  The call was dropped due to a weak cell signal.

2.  The call was dropped because I just knew you were about to say something you'd regret.

Mary Lou is an incredibly nice lady with a nose for things that just smell bad.  When we first met, she told me how she'd worked recently with another agent that she terminated the business arrangement with because MAry Lou didn't feel like the agent was looking out for her best interests.  Apparently there were issues that arose out of being told and even signing off on one thing but getting different results.   

There was no doubt in my mind that in working with her, I'd want to make sure that everything we discussed would be confirmed and recapped in writing.  She would be more comfortable and it's how I like to do things, so I was sure we'd work well together.

Mary Lou found the home she loved and we negotiated a favorable deal.  She was happy with the terms and the contract was signed.  Part of the deal included a builder warranty for one year.  Combined with a residential service contract to protect her in case an appliance stopped working or the HVAC failed, MaryLou had peace of mind.

Three days after contract signing, the listing agent called to tell me that the RELO seller just told them there is an addendum to the contract that needed to be signed by the buyer.  I just assumed that she misspoke or I misunderstood and asked that the amendment be faxed over.

It was a 5 page addendum and among so many other things, it stated that the property was to be sold "as is, where is" with "no warranty" and "this addendum supersedes any other agreement written or otherwise".

I knew Mary Lou was gonna flip her lid...and with good reason. You can't kill part of the contract after the fact and expect a buyer to accept it. Especially when it deals with a home warranty.


I knew I could send it to her and let her call one of her attorney friends that she'd known for a long time and had tons of trust in who would explain the difference between an amendment and an addendum.  Surely one of those attorney friends would explain that she didn't have to sign anything else until closing.

She was even madder than I thought she'd be and got so disgusted that I knew what was coming next but the call magically dropped right as she saying to "Kill the....."

Click.  Silence.  I didn't hear a thing.  Must be a dead zone on my cell.

She was mad and she had every right to be.  But if she'd just calm down for a minute or two I could explain to her that there was a contract for her to buy and the seller to sell...the deal was done and all she needed to do was stick to her guns, call an attorney friend and go to closing as agreed with the builder warranty intact.  She could just forget the addendum...just refuse to sign it or red line it until she liked the way it read.

Space and time.  She's very smart and she'd get it...if she just calms down.

She called me back...immediately.  I let it go to voice mail and crossed my fingers to no avail. She left a message notifying me that the deal was off and instructed me to send her an email confirming that I did indeed terminate.  She would not do business with liars and that's that.  She absolutely felt like the seller was reneging on the warranty.

OBEDIENCE - As a Texas Real Estate Broker, it means that if it's not illegal, my client is the boss and I have to do what I am told. Even though I believed she would regret it, it left me with no choice but to notify the listing agent that the deal was dead and the termination docs would follow.

Stupid voice mail.  Twenty-five years ago, people had time to think it all over & now things are over in an instant. 

Three days later, Mary Lou did calm down and realized exactly what occurred.  It was an addendum!  She now realized that the addendum couldn't be forced upon her once she was under contract. What the RELO seller (relocation company) should have asked for was an amendment but even that would require a meeting of the minds and Mary Lou wasn't about to sign an amendment that took away the coveted warranty. 

OBEDIENCE - It means that even if it's not in the client's best interests, if it's not illegal, I have to do what I am told and kill the deal.  And when the client calls me back three days later asking me to put it all back together, I do it even though I know that the seller is now going to require that lousy addendum to be signed.

And they did require the addendum be signed.  Fortunately, the seller agreed in writing that the builder warranty would remain intact. 

That all happened in March of this year.  Mary Lou and I had a moment to catch up for coffee one day last week and aside from a few minor warranty issues (imagine that), she is very happy in her new townhome.   I told her I'd be writing this post but that I would not use her name.  She insisted that I not only use her name but that I warn people to calm down and not to be hot headed like she was! 

OBEDIENCE - When the client tells you to tell the whole story, you tell the whole story. 


It's Not Just Where You Live, It's How You Live

Amanda Hall - Broker/Owner of Hall Team Homes


Coming Soon www.hallteamhomes.com Coming Soon

Hall Team Homes proudly serves the real estate needs of the Fort Worth and surrounding communities including Arlington, Hurst, Euless, Bedford, Colleyville, Grapevine and North Richland Hills.

Georgie Hunter R(S) 58089
Hawai'i Life Real Estate Brokers - Haiku, HI
Maui Real Estate sales and lifestyle info

Wow - I like your phone technique and will have to try that sometime.  I'm glad there was a happy ending.  Hot headed clients can be hard to deal with, and it really helps to be face to face when you're the bearer of bad news.

Jun 02, 2010 12:59 PM
Russell Lewis
Realty Austin, Austin Texas Real Estate - Austin, TX

Wow...I almost missed this one! You my friend (as marti g. would say) are one sharp cookie! I love the way you handled this from beginning to end and only wish i had learned to "parse my words" long before...only the recent years ;-)

Jun 02, 2010 01:03 PM
Kristen Correa, Broker
Kristen Correa Real Estate & Reedy Creek Realty Services - Keller, TX
I love coffee & real estate. I am out of coffee!

AMANDA--was wondering the same thing. I am shocked we haven't done business together. I am also shocked you have a high schooler, as you don't look much older than that yourself. I agree with our other local lady Ms Karen Anne, I really don't get the gotta have a pic rule. Are we still in picture books? Or have we graduated to content? lol.

Jun 02, 2010 01:55 PM
Amanda Evans
DFW Living - Fort Worth, TX
Real Estate Broker - Fort Worth Texas

Gene, let's slow down and take a deep breath...maybe everyone will follow our lead.

Joe, LOL!  Maybe that is what she said.  Good thing it's not legal. I like the other agent.  And I'll keep smiling if you do.  Promise!

Georgina, I knew she was going to be upset but I figured it would blow over quickly and we'd actually get a good laugh at the seller over it.  Hindsight!

Russell, I am glad you don't parce your words.  That would have changed everything when we met IRL for the first time!  Still laughing about it!

Kristen, that's a really sweet thing to say!  I have an 18-year old who would agree that we have moved on to content and don't need pics!  Let's get together soon. :)

Jun 02, 2010 02:09 PM
Russell Lewis
Realty Austin, Austin Texas Real Estate - Austin, TX

OOPS...Yeah, sometimes my filter is not all that effective but thankfully you completely...R O C K!  Thanks again my friend!

Jun 02, 2010 02:44 PM
Shanna Hall
Real Estate Solutions - Kirkwood, MO
I love selling houses!!!St. Louis, MO 314-703-1311

I love taking advice from a fellow Hall- not sue if I could pull off the hanging up thing- maybe I will give it a  shot;)

Jun 02, 2010 05:18 PM
Mike Woods

Great post. It is something we have all dealt with and are guilty of. Sometimes the first reaction is not the best.

Jun 03, 2010 06:21 AM
Lyn Sims
Schaumburg, IL
Real Estate Broker Retired

Awww, that's a great story about not loosing your head when you get mad. Time to think it thoroughly over before you reply, that's what was neeeded.  Great story, & with her permission mind you!  Mary Lou won in the end!  Did you mention to her that Relo companies do this nonsense all the time?

Jun 03, 2010 06:38 AM
Pam Dent
Gayle Harvey Real Estate, Inc. - Charlottesville, VA
REALTOR® - Charlottesville Virginia Homes / Horse

The joys of the electronic age.  the same thing can happen with hitting send to quickly on email.  when people actually had to compose a letter, put it in an envelope with a stamp and take it to the post office, there was more time for reflection.  Glad it turned out okay.

Jun 03, 2010 02:29 PM
Jason Crouch
Austin Texas Homes, LLC - Austin, TX
Broker - Austin Texas Real Estate (512-796-7653)

Amanda - I'm not surprised to hear that things worked out, despite Mary Lou's best efforts to kill the deal.  :)  I hope you're doing well, my friend.

Jun 03, 2010 04:03 PM
Damon Gettier
Damon Gettier & Associates, REALTORS- Roanoke Va Short Sale Expert - Roanoke, VA
Broker/Owner ABRM, GRI, CDPE

I am sorry but I don't agree with a lot of this.

I would never hang up on a client unless they were verbally abusing me.  That is just unprofessional.

I don't know why you as her AGENT did not explain what the difference between an Amendment and an Addendum were.  This is something I do routinely in a contract....that is why I get paid a commission for helping a buyer.  Buyers and Sellers blow up every day....agents are there to calm them down, reason, and explain what the contract means and how it works?

Obedience?  There is something also called a Fiduciary duty.  If your client was in a fully ratified contract and she tells you to terminate the contract, I would think that it is your fiduciary duty to remind her that an attempt to terminate this contract could find her in default and in court. Obedience? No, Obedience does not mean you do what your client says...that is a very literal definition that will land agents in a ton of trouble.  If your client tells you to tell another agent to, "go to hell", will you comply because you are "Obedient"?  It is certainly legal to tell someone to go to hell....but what will it get you or your client.

I feel that your client was not represented in this situation whatsoever.  I am sad to see all the Kudos.  I sincerely hope all of the agents who agreed above would not have performed the same in this situation.


Jun 04, 2010 03:29 PM
Amanda Evans
DFW Living - Fort Worth, TX
Real Estate Broker - Fort Worth Texas

:) Russell.

Shanna HALL, Hello! I don't actually recommend that people make a habit of hanging up on clients. 

Woods Real Estate, I agree.  So does Mary Lou.

Lyn, yes I did tell her that this nonsense happens all the time.  As soon as she calmed down and called me back a few days later, we got together for lunch so that we could talk about the addendum that she would NOW have to sign to get back into contract.  When I told her it happens all the time, she wasn't phased.  Like me, she thinks this stuff shouldn't happen all the time and something should be done about it.  By terminating the contract, she missed an opportunity to tell the RELO company it wasn't going to happen.

Pam, that time for pause is precious.

Jason, I am still surprised this one worked out.  She didn't want to kill the deal but Mary Lou was certain that they were giving her the run around.  They were.  (I am doing very well, thanks!!!  Hope you are too!)


Jun 06, 2010 02:34 AM
Amanda Evans
DFW Living - Fort Worth, TX
Real Estate Broker - Fort Worth Texas

Damon, part of fiduciary responsibility is obedience.  It doesn't matter if they are right or wrong, when a client is adamant that you notify the seller that they are terminating the deal and provide them with written confirmation that you have performed as directed, you terminate the deal and send off the email.  At least I do anyway. 

When it became necessary to explain, Mary Lou didn't care about the difference between an amendment and an addendum, the timing of it all or that she could just focus on the existing contract.  She felt lied to and that's all she cared about at the time.  It's like I said, I knew she just need time and space to calm down and I thought a few minutes (maybe even a couple of hours) so that we could have a calm, cool and collected conversation would work.  It took much longer than that and as a result, we had to start over...and she ended up having to sign the addendum.

Thanks for your input, Damon...even though you don't agree with me or my actions, I appreciate that you took the time.

PS...a client instucting me to tell someone to go to hell is a bad analogy IMO, but that would be handled on a case by case basis. 

Jun 06, 2010 03:40 AM
Joy Carter & Jeff Booker Brother and Sister Team
Keller Williams Parkland/Coral Springs Realty-GreatFloridaHomes Team - Coral Springs, FL
Trust Your Family's Move To Our Expertise!

Your right about voicemail.  It does allow us to be impulsive without the time to think it over.  Greeat story and worth a re-blog.  Joy

Jun 07, 2010 12:29 AM
Bill Travis
Captain Bill Realty, LLC - Gilbert, AZ

Ananda I'm glad that things worked out ok for your buyer and you.

Jun 07, 2010 01:42 AM
Rebecca Gaujot, Realtor®
Lewisburg, WV
Lewisburg WV, the go to agent for all real estate

Great post Amanda..and so glad your client is happy with the purchase!

Jul 06, 2010 03:14 AM
Renée Donohue~Home Photography
Savvy Home Pix - Allegan, MI
Western Michigan Real Estate Photographer

Mary Lou will be happy in the long haul.  Here we have a ton of issues that go on during escrows and I REALLY feel sorry for the buyers and how the process kills them emotionally.  I have to let them know it will always work itself out and to sleep on decisions. 

Aug 16, 2010 12:47 AM
Renae Bolton
Marketing 4 Realtors - Garfield Heights, OH
I'm your Professional Real Estate Marketing VA!

I love it!  I have often had occasion to accidentally drop a call.  It is a wonderful vehicle with which to allow people to cool off.  I'm sorry Mary Lou didn't get the cool off time she needed before she made the mistake but glad she realized it and tried to fix it before it was too late.


Sep 08, 2010 07:08 AM
Suzanne McLaughlin
Sabinske & Associates, Inc. (Albertville, St. Michael) - Saint Michael, MN
Sabinske & Associates, Realtor

This is what I love about you.  You have the basics down, girl.  Great stuff. And, one I am going to reblog.  Thanks. 

Sep 08, 2010 04:21 PM
Amanda Evans
DFW Living - Fort Worth, TX
Real Estate Broker - Fort Worth Texas

Talked to Mary Lou yesterday.  She's doing great, loves her house and asked for more of my business cards so she could share them.

Feb 28, 2012 07:44 AM