Don't deviate from the plan. That's my motto. Because I've learned that 9 times out of 10, if I make an exception to the way I do business, it comes back to bite me. In other words, it's better to be safe than sorry. Once you've got a system that works, stick to it. Don't back down. Ever. The day you do, you're screwed.
But I know that you won't listen to me because sometimes I don't even listen to me. I've been known to break my own rules. But at least I know better . . .
In the fall of 1998, it was cold in Chicago. I grabbed my then-boyfriend's hand, pulled my fox fur collar closer to my neck and we scurried along Michigan Avenue. The wind was blowing in over the lake. Brrrr. You might think that Chicago is called the Windy City because it's windy, but that's not the case; Chicagoans say it's named the Windy City for its windy politicians. We had flown in from Minneapolis and were headed for that famous building with a sculpture of a rabbit drummer in front -- I believe, if memory serves, it was the John Hancock Center.
My husband was and still is a journalist. Like many journalists from Chicago, he cut his teeth by working at the City News Bureau. It has a fond place in his heart. Rough, rowdy and real. In 1998, the City News Bureau was closing after more than 100 years of service, and we were going to the top of the John Hancock building to attend a farewell party. It was bittersweet for many alumni in attendance. The slogan that every beat reporter knows and repeats from the City News Bureau is: "If Your Mother Says She Loves You, Check it Out."
I latched on to that phrase because I know it is true. It's good to be skeptical. Like Dr. Gregory House says, "Everybody lies." It's even more important to be skeptical as a Sacramento short sale agent -- or any kind of real estate agent, for that matter.
I received a very attractive offer last week from a buyer's agent on one of my Sacramento short sales. Everything about the offer screamed take it. It was well written. Healthy earnest money deposit. The buyer's agent and the buyer promised to wait for short sale approval. It was above the asking price. However, the buyer's preapproval letter did not match the loan amount. It was for less.
When your mother says she loves you, check it out. We wrote a counter offer asking for an updated approval letter that reflected the loan amount. No, problem, the agent scoffed. The buyers are fully qualified. I was tempted to let it go but I didn't. Don't deviate from the plan. Guess what? The buyers didn't qualify for the higher amount. Well, saved myself and my seller 3 months of agony.