If Your Mother Says She Loves You, Check It Out

Real Estate Agent with RE/MAX Gold DRE #00697006

If your mother says she loves you check it outDon'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.

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elizabeth weintraub



Weintraub and Wallace Realtors



Elizabeth Weintraub reviews




Elizabeth Weintraub is co-partner of Weintraub & Wallace Team of Top Producing Realtors, an author, home buying expert at The Balance, a Land Park resident, and a veteran real estate agent who specializes in older, classic homes in Land Park, Curtis Park, Midtown, Carmichael and East Sacramento, as well as tract homes in Elk Grove, Natomas, Roseville and Lincoln. Call Elizabeth Weintraub at 916.233.6759. Put our combined 80 years of real estate experience to work for you. Broker-Associate at RE/MAX Gold. DRE License # 00697006.

Photo: Unless otherwise noted in this blog, the photo is copyrighted by Big Stock Photo and used with permission.The views expressed herein are Weintraub's personal views and do not reflect the views of RE/MAX Gold. Disclaimer: If this post contains a listing, information is deemed reliable as of the date it was written. After that date, the listing may be sold, listed by another brokerage, canceled, pending or taken temporarily off the market, and the price could change without notice; it could blow up, explode or vanish. To find out the present status of any listing, please go to elizabethweintraub.com.


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Scott Baker
www.eHomeReports.com Coldwell Banker West Shell - Liberty Township, OH
Realtor Homes for Sale in Cincinnati, West Chester, Mason, OH Area

If your mother says she loves you, check it out. I didn't know where this was going, I had never heard that saying before. Good line for a reporter though. Also good line for a Realtor. Kind of like Reagan's, "Trust but verify"

Jul 25, 2010 04:03 AM #1
Lottie Kendall
Compass - San Francisco, CA
Helping make your real estate dreams a reality

What a disappointment! But, you didn't stray from your plan and found out right away. Great reminder to us all. Thanks, Elizabeth.

Jul 25, 2010 04:21 AM #2
Nancy Conner
Olympia, WA
Olympia/Thurston County WA

I hadn't heard that line before either.  But I agree that checking EVERYTHING out is essential - and when you get that little feeling that something isn't right, boy does it ever pay to listen to it!!

Jul 25, 2010 05:06 AM #3
Jon Zolsky, Daytona Beach, FL
Daytona Condo Realty, 386-405-4408 - Daytona Beach, FL
Buy Daytona condos for heavenly good prices


Another great examples of otherwise boring real estate stuff so interesting, with a lot to learn, and, what is so important, - to enjoy

And what a description of the Windy City and you there...

Jul 25, 2010 05:08 AM #4
Chris Ann Cleland
Long and Foster REALTORS®, Gainesville, VA - Bristow, VA
Associate Broker, Bristow, VA

I just had Buyer's who ended up not qualifying, AFTER they had qualified.  How?  The condition of their loan approval was to pay off a credit card witha n $11K balance.  No problem.  At least, that's what they told me and the lender.  They have a rich Uncle who promised to help.  So we wrote an offer on a Short Sale that got accepted.  Six weeks down the road, I am takling with these buyers and the wife says the rich Uncle was being a jerk and not even talking to them.  My ears perked up and I got  a bad feeling in the pit of my stomach.  I asked about the $11K.  "Oh.  He's refusing to help us with that.  But we still want the house."  Great.  Too bad they don't qualify for it.  They didn't understand what their lender and I had been telling them.  Very frustrating. 

Jul 25, 2010 05:33 AM #5
Mary Douglas
United Country Ponderosa Realty, Red Feather Lakes, Colorado - Red Feather Lakes, CO
REALTOR, Red Feather Lakes, Colorado

Hi Elizabeth, and this why I love reading your posts!  I've never heard of that press saying either, I learn something new everyday.  In this business, it pays to check everything out and I'm glad you followed your plan on this one!

Jul 25, 2010 05:37 AM #6
Mesa, Arizona Real Estate Mesa Arizona Realtor
Homes Arizona Real Estate LLC - Mesa, AZ

Elizabeth, great story and analogy. Haven't been regularly posting, but wanted to stop by and say hi. Short Sales are definitely not "my" thing. Too many non-savvy agents and banks. I actually refer our short sale listings out.....she spends all day on the phone. Meanwhile, I can work with the non-short sale sellers and buyers that I enjoy helping. Cute photo. ;-)

Jul 25, 2010 06:56 AM #7
Elizabeth Weintraub Sacramento Realtor Top 1%
RE/MAX Gold - Sacramento, CA
Put 40 years of experience to work for you

Hey, nice to see you, Jon.

Chris Ann: If they could pay off their $11K, I would have asked them to pay it off and get a new preapproval letter first. People always have the best of intentions. OK, sometimes they don't.

Hi Mary: Well, I learn stuff from you as well.

Hi Teri: Rats. I referred a seller to you last week. Seriously. It was a short sale, I think.

Jul 25, 2010 08:10 AM #8
Janet Sebile
Coldwell Banker Apex, Realtors - Rowlett, TX

My question is why would an agent submit a pre-approval for less then offer price.  Did they not think it would be in question.  Hello!

Jul 25, 2010 01:33 PM #9
Myrl Jeffcoat
GreatWest Realty - Sacramento, CA
Greater Sacramento Real Estate Agent

Elizabeth - I heard that "If your mother tells you she loves you - check it out" line, somewhere else within the last 24 hours, but I've already forgetten where. . .LOL 

I thought it was cool then, and think it is cool here in your blog.  Sometimes however, you need to deviate from the plan.  Otherwise it becomes too much like staying the course, and that can be disasterous if there is a lighthouse in the way! 

Jul 25, 2010 01:46 PM #10
Doug Anderson
Tucker Associates Real Estate Services - Danville, CA
Bay Area Real Estate Views

Very interesting post Elizabeth.  What a great story (not the part about the closing but the writing in general) to transition into the point.  One must always remain vigilant.  The phrase "if it seems to good to be true...it probably is" is one that I hold on to.  I hate to sound pessimistic and certainly do not enjoy being pessimistic from time to time but it has its place when something just does not feel right in the gut. ~ Doug

Jul 25, 2010 05:02 PM #11
J. Philip Faranda
J. Philip Faranda (J. Philip R.E. LLC) Westchester County NY - Briarcliff Manor, NY

I've heard it said a number of ways- Trust But Verify, CYA, to name two. Our job is to check it out. 

Jul 26, 2010 04:00 AM #12
Michael Delaware
North Sky Realty LLC - Battle Creek, MI

I like your advice on not deviating from the plan.  Verifying is so important in this business.  I I always run into trouble when I do not follow my plan.

Jul 26, 2010 04:54 AM #13
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