Buyer's or Sellers Remorse . . . When our work is Not Done

Real Estate Agent with RE/MAX Professionals, CT 203-206-0754 REB.0759001

So we think we're there, we got a contract into the system, and we're proceeding with the transaction. And then we get the call.

Hi Ed, it's me, Hazel, I think I made a mistake. I don't think I should be selling the house after all. I've been here so long, there are so many memories. I don't know where to even begin to start to get ready to pack. Giving me just two months to get out of here isn't long enough.

Hazel, we've been over this. You're here alone, you need to relocate closer to your family. The house is too big and too much work for you. You need to simplify your life sand enjoy it more.

Hazel, you will get through this. You already have somebody that's going to come in and take care of the furniture. All you need to do is take care of your personal possessions.

Seller's remorse. When they need to be reminded that a sales contract is a legally binding agreement. They are bound by the tenets of the contract and all has been explained to them several times. The client is again reminded that the only way the contract will not go through is if there are inspection issues that cannot be resolved, or if the buyer fails to secure a mortgage.

For the buyers, the amount of work that needs to be done and the details that present themselves get to be huge. The continual calls from the bank requesting additional documentation.

They start to think about the inspection and the number of areas of the home that require regular attention. The reality of the purchase starts to hit home. Maybe they get a few days where they can't get into work because of being sick. They see the reduction in their pay checks and wonder how they would be able to keep up with the expenses of the home, should they have a problem and not be able to get to work, or lose their jobs. Renting had so many fewer complications and somebody else did all the work around the building.

At some point through the working of a contract we are called upon to not be a Realtor, but to be a counselor. That is when we sit down and calmly let them to understand that this is not unusual. We need to remind them that this is a major purchase, but it can really be considered an investment in themselves and in their family's futures.

They need to understand that everybody goes through these periods of anxiety and because they have not tried to purchase more than they can possibly maintain or afford that the issues will resolve themselves and their will get through it.

The purchase of a home, especially for young first time buyers is an investment in themselves, similarto taking out an annuity. With proper guidance at the beginning of the transaction, they will not over-purchase. The first purchase is not the forever home, it's the starter home.

It's not unlike learning how to ride a bike. At first they had a bike with 3 wheels, which could be considered an apartment rental. Then, they progressed to a 2 wheel bike, maybe even with training wheels, which could be their initial purchase. As they developed confidence, they got rid of the extra wheels and went with just the two. With confidence, they would have gotten into something bigger, faster, a multi-speed bike, similar to the progressions many people make with their home purchases.

Remorse at some time in the transaction is not uncommon. Working through this is how we satisfy our clients.

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Ed Silva  RE/MAX Professionals,   203-206-0754


Re-Blogged 4 times:

Re-Blogged By Re-Blogged At
  1. Mott Marvin Kornicki 10/30/2010 03:03 PM
  2. Jim Hale 10/30/2010 07:59 PM
  3. Lenn Harley 10/31/2010 02:02 AM
  4. Sandy McAlpine 11/01/2010 08:33 AM
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Bill Gassett
RE/MAX Executive Realty - Hopkinton, MA
Metrowest Massachusetts Real Estate

Over the years I have had a few sellers get remorseful after it was too late. It is important to explain that signing a contract is binding in many circumstances.

Nov 01, 2010 12:36 AM #43
Ed Silva
RE/MAX Professionals, CT 203-206-0754 - Waterbury, CT
Central CT Real Estate Broker Serving all equally

To whomever comes in from here on out, and notices comments left on the blog about my hair. Here is the avatar that was on my site for Halloween. Thanks

Nov 01, 2010 02:23 AM #44
Dana Scanlon
Keller Williams Capital Properties - Bethesda, MD
Bethesda MD- Award-Winning Bethesda Realtor

Sometimes, if the client really thinks they have gotten in over their heads, financially or otherwise, our job is to respect that, and help them find a way out of the contract. In our area, one of the home inspection contingency options allows the buyer to declare the contract null and void "at their sole discretion" with no explanation needed, and to get their earnest money back. I am not a "salesperson", I am a real estate consultant, and when hired to represent my client, through buyer agency, its more important to respect their wishes than to press ahead. In the end, this has earned me more business and more referrals than if I took a different approach.

Nov 01, 2010 02:36 AM #45
Kathy D. Adkins
Star One Realtors - Franklin, OH
Working hard to meet your real estate goals!

I am so glad you showed us a picture of your avatar.  I was beginning to think everyone was being mean to you for no reason.  LOL


Great post, as a new agent this helps me to learn I will wear many hats (and maybe even a few wigs) in my career choice.  I have never been a great salesperson, but I am good in finding out someone's need and then helping to fill that need.

Nov 01, 2010 03:38 AM #46
Pamela Seley
West Coast Realty Division - Murrieta, CA
Residential Real Estate Agent serving SW RivCo CA

Great discussion.  I am in agreement wtih @Dana #46.  Respecting our clients and helping them out of a contract is just as important as getting them in one. 

Nov 01, 2010 04:29 AM #47
Marilyn Harrell
ReMax Riverhaven - Beaverton, MI
Wixom Lake - Beaverton MI

Some circumstances can make it very difficult for the seller. And sometimes the buyers are put through a wringer. We must handle these situations professionally. I personally get more enjoyment from the ones where no one had to suffer and everyone is happy!

Nov 01, 2010 04:36 AM #48
Cookie Hooper


I completely agree that at points during the transaction we become counselors. Good counselors don't push or sell, but they try to get to the bottom of the issue and use the tools they have to help the client figure it out on their own. People are filled with fear and doubt. What we do is not so much overcoming of objections, but training the client how to identify their needs and wants and identify the right home when they see it.  They certainly don't want to be sold, but they also don't want to be talked out of a great house either. Equate it with cold feet the day before the wedding.

Nov 01, 2010 04:36 AM #49
Karen Fiddler, Broker/Owner
Karen Parsons-Fiddler, Broker 949-510-2395 - Mission Viejo, CA
Orange County & Lake Arrowhead, CA (949)510-2395

Thank you for the update on the hair...I was confused but assumed it had to do with Halloween. I like this post, there is a difference between being there, explaining and comforting, and pushing. I have no doubt that you know the difference and would not push someone into buying/selling if it were the wrong thing.

Nov 01, 2010 05:37 AM #50
Bill Gillhespy
16 Sunview Blvd - Fort Myers Beach, FL
Fort Myers Beach Realtor, Fort Myers Beach Agent - Homes & Condos

Hi Ed,  Interesting topic and surely one we will all live through sooner or later !  "They need to understand that everybody goes through these periods of anxiety..."  pretty much says it all !

Nov 01, 2010 06:08 AM #51
Diana Burton, Realtor, Mathews VA with IsaBell K. Horsley

Hi Ed,

Your throughts are right on the mark, it seems to happen very regularly. I just had customers who signed a contract to buy a listing of mine, cash deal, and suddenly in the next week I couldn't get them on the phone anymore. I endlessly called, emailed, and finally got word.One of the parties was being pressured by her children, and so she didn't want to buy anymore. I called the owners, and they wanted to pursue the contract. Once the buyers knew this, they moved forward. So sometimes it works to be firm but gentle.



Nov 01, 2010 07:34 AM #52
Janine Boulay-Seibert
Seibert Properties - Murphy, NC
NC & GA Real Estate Broker

What about AGENT remorse, I regularly have it when I drive clients to the home that fills the entire wish list and the client says naaaaa not what we are looking for, WHAT.....


Nov 01, 2010 07:58 AM #53
Marte Cliff
Marte Cliff Copywriting - Priest River, ID
Your real estate writer

I once had a client who sold a piece of land, then had seller's remorse. He spent some money buying it back - and his buyers made a profit. Then, about a year later, he once again decided to sell it. I don't think he made any profit on that one!


Nov 01, 2010 11:50 AM #54
DeeDee Riley
Lyon Real Estate - El Dorado Hills CA - El Dorado Hills, CA
Realtor - El Dorado Hills & the Surrounding Areas

Well said, Ed.  Thank you for your thoughts!

Nov 01, 2010 12:30 PM #55
Eugene Lew
RE/MAX equity group - Happy Valley, OR

Well, that is what a binding contract is for. I've seen people sacrifice thousands in earnest money by changing their minds at the last moment. I've never had a seller back out, but I've seen other agents experience that.

I have had buyers write the offer, then decide not to go with it. Most were legit, but I did have one screw me over by cancelling, then rewriting with his daughters' husband's best friend.

Nov 01, 2010 01:43 PM #56
George P. Cruz Sr.
Premier Brokers International - Port St Lucie, FL

Buyers remorse is one of the most untimely situations that can ever happen specially when both parties are happy at signing and then the thunder drops the bomb i cant I cant..............

Nov 01, 2010 02:14 PM #57
Ty Lacroix
Envelope Real Estate Brokerage Inc - London, ON

Ed, remorse is a natural instinct after a large purchase or sale and discussing those emotions before the transaction even begins prepares your client for the big day.


Nov 02, 2010 03:15 AM #58
Gene Riemenschneider
Home Point Real Estate - Brentwood, CA
Turning Houses into Homes

It is important to understand motivations and real needs of people.  Often spouses do not agree.

Nov 02, 2010 05:05 AM #59
Dörte Engel
RE/MAX Leading Edge - Bowie, MD
ABC - Annapolis, Bowie, Crofton & rest of Maryland

Dear Ed,

If you go over many of the "what ifs" up front, remorse is rare, at least for me. I have had more people complain about homes they did not purchase rather than the ones they did.

Nov 02, 2010 05:48 AM #60
Margaret C. Taylor
Century 21 New Millennium MD - Mechanicsville, MD
St Marys/Calvert/Charles MD Real Estate Agent

Prepare both Buyers and Sellers as much as possible before signing and continue to support after signing.  Margaret C.

Nov 03, 2010 03:02 PM #61
Wayne B. Pruner
Oregon First - Tigard, OR
Tigard Oregon Homes for Sale, Realtor, GRI

Hi Ed. This is sometimes part of our job. I'm glad you have some compassion.


Nov 09, 2010 02:15 PM #62
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