No Closing and Buyers are In

Real Estate Agent with RE/MAX Alliance Group 3056963

Okay, it happened.  In a previous post, I asked for help in convincing a seller NOT to allow the buyer in before closing on her Sarasota Florida home and I want to thank you all for your comments.

Do you think the Seller listened?  Instead, she not only let them in her garage, but allowed them to put their things inside the house.  I documented everything and sent her in writing my stance on the matter.

Here's what happened.  Day of closing, the buyer walked.  Since all contingencies were met including a loan commitment, he released the $30,000 escrow deposit and requested that the entire amount be paid directly to the Seller.  I agreed, even though there was a 50/50 split in the listing agreement.  We renegotiated the agreement so that the Seller extended her listing with me for an additional 6 months.  The reason the buyer walked, was that the buyer for HIS house walked.  BIG MESS.  So now the guy is out $30,000.

The Seller, although happy with the $30,000 is extremely agitated over this whole thing.  Oh yeah, I even saved her $5000 on her property insurance by recommended a different insurer.  Why so agitated?

It took 4 days for the buyer to get his stuff out of her house because he did it all himself without the help of a professional mover and used a van.  The seller was calling me in tears because the buyer was bumping furniture up against walls and scraping her tile floors.  I reminded her kindly that it was none of my doing and I vehemently opposed allowing the buyer into the house.

Here's the kicker.  This Seller claims that she was a Realtor for 25 years.  She was a Realtor for 25 years and never, never had anything like this ever happen to her before.  She, the Seller was a Realtor for 25 years, sold many houses and never had one closing not go through.  She, The Realtor for 25 years was so upset that she, the Realtor would not allow the sign to go back up in her yard.  The Realtor (of 25 years) would not allow a lock box to go on the property.

I, her Realtor, advised her to take a few days and really think about what she just said.  I, her Realtor will call her next week.  Right now, it's Friday afternoon and I don't want to hear any more about a deal that went sour for which I had absolutely no control.

A big Margarita sounds really good right now.  Have one on me, will ya?

Comments (18)

Colorado Springs Real Estate
Colorado Springs, CO


I have heard so many horror stories about letting buyers move in before closing. One in particular from a FSBO that let buyers move in that were never qualified for a loan!!

Aug 24, 2007 09:40 AM
1~Judi Barrett
Integrity Real Estate Services 116 SE AVE N, Idabel, OK 74745 - Idabel, OK
BS Ed, Integrity Real Estate Services -IDABEL OK
So now aren't you wishing that you had part of that $30,000 for all of your hard work?
Aug 24, 2007 09:55 AM
Adam Waldman
Westcott Group Real Estate Company - Hauppauge, NY
Realtor - Long Island

Nicki - Here I am, as promised.  This is an awful way to start the weekend.  Telling the seller to "sleep on it" was good advice.  I just used it myself for a seller and a buyer (same person) and it worked out in both cases.  When we first had the discussions, emotion was clouding the judgement.  When things settled down a bit, the negotiations resumed and both deals will be closing in the next month or so.  You gave good advice to the former REALTOR, who should know better than to blame you for doing nothing wrong.  You didn't do anything to make the buyer pull out, so you did your job.  I hope that she comes to her senses and gets back on track with you once a cooler head prevails.  Thank you for finding me, so that I could read your blog.  I'm always happy to give support and feedback.  Enjoy your Margarita.  Tomorrow is another day!

Aug 24, 2007 09:58 AM
Christine Bohn
RE/MAX Professionals - Gainesville, FL
The Bohn Team, Gainesville FL
Nicki - this is just another chapter in a long book about "How well you do your job....even if you work for free".   I have a version of that book myself.  I will make us a pitcher of margaritas.  Good folks like you will "win" in the end.  That is my hope!
Aug 24, 2007 10:01 AM
Rachel Jones
Charles Rutenberg - Islandia, NY
Cert. Short sale Specialist, Long Island Realtor L

Ok, so she was a Realtor, for 25 yrs and it didn't dawn on her that she was making a HUGE mistake, or was she so worked up about selling her home that she just didn't care, placing you in an awkward position, and you walk away with nothing. (with the exception of a headache, I'm sure) Girl, have two drinks, I need one after that!~

Aug 24, 2007 10:02 AM
Melina Tomson
Tomson Burnham, llc Licensed in the State of Oregon - Salem, OR
Principal Broker/Owner, M.S.

Early possession is always dicey, especially when the close of escrow is contingent on the successful close of another property. 

Doctor's don't always make the best patients, and this Realtor shows that Realtor's don't always make the best sellers...

Aug 24, 2007 10:04 AM
Gary L. Waters Broker Associate, Bucci Realty
Bucci Realty, Inc. - Melbourne, FL
Eighteen Years Experience in Brevard County
You do the best you can. You recommend what you think is best. You hold up your end of the agreement.... and The seller retains the $30K.... not good. Have a drink, cool down, next week is another challenge!
Aug 24, 2007 10:17 AM
Andrew Trevino
ADT Real Estate - Wilkes Barre, PA
Wilkes-Barre Homes For Sale
Wow Nicki, you're taking this a whole lot better than I would. I would have kept half of the escrow, as agreed. I hope you get the seller back under control when you talk with her next week. In the meantime, have a nice weekend.
Aug 24, 2007 10:18 AM
Kate Bourland
Marketing with Kate - Redding, CA
Onlilne Marketing Mobile Marketing
Wow - that's crazy.  The stuff we put up with.  You deserve that Margarita!  Enjoy
Aug 24, 2007 11:11 AM
Michael Hoffman
Michael Hoffman & Associates - Pickerington, OH

Hate to say it, but I would have enforced the 50/50 split of the escrow as well.  If nothing else, I would have spent a big chunk on it on remarketing the property. 

Good luck getting it resolved and getting a commission in the future.  I hope you can.

I just came from a closing for a former REALTOR and it went fine.  He read everything twice, but agreed to it all in the end.

Moral for the day:  don't work for free and business is business.

Aug 24, 2007 11:31 AM
Candy Henthorne
Results Realty - Spring, TX
Spring Texas Real Estate
You did the right thing all around.  That is all we can do-- recommend the best thing for our clients and hope they listen.
Aug 24, 2007 11:32 AM
Patricia Kennedy
RLAH Real Estate - Washington, DC
Home in the Capital
What a bummer.  But sometimes even when we are totally right, it might not be a good idea to remind the client.  Your clients may whine but I'm sure they really know you were right!
Aug 24, 2007 03:18 PM
Jim Crawford
Maximum One Executive REALTORS® - Atlanta, GA
Jim Crawford Atlanta Best Listing Agents & REALTOR
A lot of agents are licensed for many years, and it does not mean anything if they are not doing a lot of deals.  Even a new agent would not be as foolish to allow even a limited pre-occupancy of items  on the premises prior to an actual close.  If the buyer was smart in this market he would have made it contingent upon a successful close.  Wow!  A mess I would never let a seller to get in that position.  The seller must be desperate.
Aug 24, 2007 03:29 PM
Nicki Conway
RE/MAX Alliance Group - Sarasota, FL
Sarasota Fl Real Estate

Here's my herculean atempt to reply to all your great comments:

Dan, horror stories abound in the Real Estate world, especially with FSBO's.

Judi, oh yes...part of that $30,000 is so deserved by me, but my seller is in hardship mode and I wanted to do the right thing by her.

Adam, your comments made me feel all warm and fuzzy inside.  Thank you!

Christine, No one likes to work for free.  I figure I still have the house to sell and will make money from that.  If THE REALTOR decides to pull the listing, then I'll let her, but only if she gives my broker part of that $30,000.  No I don't work for FREE at all.

Rachel, ya know, she says she was a Realtor for 25 year, but I have a feeling that she had her real estate license and used it to buy houses for her own investment.  I don't think she practiced real estate.  Seems to me if she did, she would know a lot more about how to conduct yourself during a deal.  I had three margaritas last was for you.  I slept really well, too!

Melina, unfortunately, the BUYER had a realtor of questionable quality.  I always protect my buyers who have a contract on their home and are making an offer on another with a contingency clause that they close successfully on their property.  This buyer's agent didn't do that and the poor buyer lost his escrow.

Gary, life's not always fair, but I think if you have morality in your business, then you will be rewarded in the end.  I really believe that.

Andrew, truthfully, I really struggled with that $30,000.  Still am.  But you know, the seller is really hurting money-wise and I feel I did the right thing.

Kate..the stuff we put up with.  Let me count the ways....

Michael..I know you're right.  I don't work for free.  I get paid plenty for what I do and my sales have been great this year.  I feel truly blessed.  I still have a beautiful listing that I have the opportunity to sell.  Now, if the seller decides she wants to try and sell herself, I will let her out of the listing contract only if she pays me from the $30,000 I got her.

Candy...doing the best for our clients, that's what Real Estate is all about.  There's also that money thing...

Patricia..I agree.  I never once said "I told you so".  I did say to THE REALTOR of 25 YEARS, who was whining to me about having to scrub the house again and fix the paint, etc that the agreement she had with the buyer was strictly between her and the buyer.

Jim...oh, I've done many, many deals with other Realtors.  I seem to attract them as buyers.  Most of the time, they are delightful to work with.

I think I got everyone.  Thanks so much for your comments and support.


Aug 25, 2007 02:37 AM
. .
no thanks - Harlem, MT
Nicki, I posted a blog yesterday Buyers "Just want to put our stuff in the garage" BEFORE Closing. Help! asking for ideas on how to appease my buyer clients who won't take no for an answer regarding unloading their moving truck into the garage of their new house before closing. Adam Waldman - Long Island, NY Real Estate suggested that I read your blog to reaffirm why it should NOT be done. I empathize with you! I hope that the margaritas made it all go away for a little while :)
Aug 26, 2007 03:43 AM
Nicki Conway
RE/MAX Alliance Group - Sarasota, FL
Sarasota Fl Real Estate
Bridget...the Margaritas were just what the DR ordered!
Aug 26, 2007 06:04 AM
Joe Bartolotta Florida's Upfront Mortgage Broker
Fidelity Mortgage Services - Altamonte Springs, FL
Normally the saying is "buyers are liars" but in this case, I think the seller is a liar.  Twenty five years as a Realtor and that situation NEVER happened to her????  I don't believe it.
Aug 26, 2007 06:22 AM
Steven J. Husak
Baer's Furniture & Interior Design Studio - Sarasota, FL

Your seller must be an idiot.  Why did she hire a Realtor in the first place and then not take your advice?  I'd like to know where she worked as a Realtor for 25 Never Never Land?

By the way, these transactions gone south are actually very common in FSBOs.  But at least then the seller has the excuse of not being a real estate professional.

Dec 29, 2007 03:12 PM