It's not Personal, it's my Duty.

By
Real Estate Broker/Owner with ADT Real Estate

okI had a rough day today. I guess you could say that it's the accumulation of a few rough weeks with one particular transaction that I have been dealing with. The transaction started out just fine. I had a customer come to look at one of my listings and decided to use me to buy another property. The truth of the matter is that the customer only looked at a few houses and decided to buy this one quickly. He wanted to be able to get into the house before his children started the school year, so we planned on a quick process. He told me that he was in the process of refinancing his home in NY and would be using the proceeds for his downpayment and would be getting a loan for the rest. I talked to the broker and he assured me that they would be able to do everything in time, with no problems, so we submitted the offer.

The problems started when he decided to change his financing. His mortgage company decided to change his financing, I should say. It wouldn't have been a problem except that I wasn't informed of the change until I called the broker, looking for the loan commitment letter. I had set the date for 2 weeks before closing in order to have enough time to overcome any last minute issues that might pop up. When I called for the loan commitment letter, the broker told me that they were changing the financing and would be refinancing the total amount and would be paying for the house in Wilkes-Barre with cash. He also told me that they would be able to close early because of it. Cash sales are the best, so I was very pleased. I called the listing Realtor to let her know that we were changing the financing and would be doing a cash sale now. I told her we might even be able to close early. She was pleased as well at the thought of closing early.

storm brewingI didn't hear anything else from the broker for a week and was confident that they would be able to do as promised. I started calling the Friday a week before closing to check on the progress and couldn't get a response from anyone, not from the broker or from my client. When the listing agent called, I told her I hadn't been able to get in touch with anyone, but we should be fine. It's just a refi after all, right? Wrong. I finally got in touch with the broker and he told me we weren't going to make the closing. We needed another week to close. I called the listing agent back to let her know tha bad news. Of course she was upset, but what could I do? We had to wait. She insisted that we get it closed by September 30th, so it didn't stretch into October. I called the mortgage broker back and he assured me that we would be fine to close the last Saturday in September. I called everyone to make the arrangements for the closing to happen.

A week later, I get another call telling me that we weren't ok to close that day either. He told me that it was perfectly normal to miss a closing date. I detailed this conversation in another post  recently, so I won't get back into that today. Needless to say the ensuing conversation with the listing agent wasn't great because I had to move the closing date off again. I apologized profusely and explained that the situation was out of my hands and that we did want to close. I knew that the agent was getting frustrated with the transaction, but it really wasn't in my control. We reset the closing date and time again, deciding to do the final walk-through tomorrow afternoon and the closing on Tuesday at 11am. I let her know that all of this was contingent upon the refi closing in time to wire transfer the funds today because my client lives in NY.

Well, guess what? Yes, the refi didn't close until Tuesday and the money wasn't available today to wire transfer the funds. On top of that, my client was told that he had to work Saturday and has nobody to cover for him. I had to make the dreaded phone call to the listing agent again. We need to change the closing until later on Tuesday and we need to do the walk-through on Tuesday before the closing as well. The listing agent was livid. She had made plans to do the walk-through tomorrow, a Saturday, and now faced an unproductive day. She also had planned to show a house at noon on Tuesday after the closing. Those plans would need to be changed as well. I added to those miseries by calling her today on her "free day", which she made very clear to me I was ruining. I believe the phrase she used was that she was tired of getting "pushed around" in this transaction. She also said I was ruining her reputation and that I needed to put my foot down with this client and make them do what we had planned to do.

dreaded phone callThis upset me very much. I try to do my best to be understanding and cooperative in every transaction. After all, as I pointed out to her, I will most likely work with her again at some point in the future. (she also told me that was unlikely. I wonder what that means) We both work in the same market so it seems reasonable to me, but maybe she sees things differently. I think she needs to understand something. I work for my client. It's his best interests that I have to look after, not hers or her clients. He has the contract with me and I owe him a duty to see that his interests are protected, even if it means going back 100 times and asking for changes. If those changes are in my client's best interests, you can bet that I will do it because that's where my duty lies.

dutyI don't think that I did anything at all that would be grounds for holding a personal grudge against me. I looked after the best interests of my client. I communicated promptly as soon as I had the facts I needed. I did everything politely, apologetically and professionally. I have had the occasion to bully people when I can't see any other way, but that wasn't the case here. I think, considering the circumstances I had to deal with, I did a fine job. The deal will close on Tuesday and this will all be over. That should be a day for everyone to be happy, but it won't be. This became personal somewhere. I have no idea where, but it did, and that saddens me to no end.

In the face of all of it, I really have only one thing to say. It's not personal, it's my duty.

 

Until next time...

My name is Andrew Trevino. I am a Realtor, working in the Wilkes-Barre, PA area, and I'm affiliated with Realty World, Rubbico Real Estate. Thanks for investing your time in reading my blog. If you're interested in contacting me, please visit my website at http://www.wilkesbarrehomesales.com/

                                                                  Realty World, Rubbico Real Estate


Comments (17)

Jeannie Kontis
Lancaster, PA

Andrew sorry you've had such a rough time of this.  We've all been through this, and I can't see where you have done anything wrong.  The listing agent's response is something that we've all experienced at one time or another.  I bet at settlement day she will be as sweet as pie and will have forgotten all about the delays.  You just keep doing what you are doing, looking out for your client.

Hopefully it will indeed have a satisfactory ending and will settle on time, this time.

Oct 05, 2007 03:35 PM
Andrew Trevino
ADT Real Estate - Wilkes Barre, PA
Wilkes-Barre Homes For Sale

Jeannie,

Thanks for your words of encouragement. I hope her attitude changes, but I'm not going to let it worry me too much. I will always look out for my client. I too hope there aren't any more issues. This one has been a handful.

Oct 05, 2007 03:54 PM
Jason Crouch
Austin Texas Homes, LLC - Austin, TX
Broker - Austin Texas Real Estate (512-796-7653)
Andrew - You did everything correctly, at least in my estimation.  Some people are just bitter and difficult no matter how well you do your job.  Keep up the good work, my friend.  By the way, one of the more surprising parts of your post to me was the fact that you guys have closing on Saturdays (ours are only during weekday business hours).  I found that interesting -
Oct 05, 2007 07:19 PM
Kris Wales
Keller Williams Realty - Lakeside Market Center - Macomb, MI
Real Estate Blog & Homes for Sale search site, Macomb County MI

Andrew, I'm so sorry you had this happen and the other agent is being, well, challenging. 

You are absolutely correct.  You work for your client and there is nothing more that you can do at this point. I think eventually that other agent is going to be sorry she took her frustration out on you and hopefully will feel a bit embarrassed about it all and offer you up an apology.

It sounds like you were run through the muck with this one, good job!

Oct 05, 2007 09:57 PM
Andrew Trevino
ADT Real Estate - Wilkes Barre, PA
Wilkes-Barre Homes For Sale

Jason---Thanks for the affirmation. Yes, we do have Saturday closings, as long as we can transfer funds on the Friday beforehand. I deal with a lot of clients from out of state and it's easier to do closings on the weekend, when they can fly or drive into town. Personally, I'd rather do a Friday or Monday so my Saturdays are open for showings, but I'll take a closing any day!! Thanks for your comment, my friend.

Kris---Thanks for your comment as well. Yes, I was run through the muck with this one, but it's part of my job. We're asked to handle things like this and, as frustrating as the transaction has been, it's been manageable. The issue for me is how this agent has taken things so personally. That's the frustrating part. We'll see if the apology is forthcoming.

Oct 05, 2007 10:25 PM
Fred Pickard
Fred Pickard Innovations Realty Inc - Hershey, PA
Hershey, PA

Andrew-

Unfortunately, everyone in this business isn't always nice and polite. They're just a reflection of the general population.  Some nice, some nasty, some rude.

Just shrug it off and move on to the next one.

 

Oct 05, 2007 10:53 PM
Keith Perry
Coldwell Banker - Hiram, GA
REALTOR - West Metro Atlanta
Andrew.. as everyone else has stated you will run into people that handle problems by being rude. You did your job well.
Oct 05, 2007 11:01 PM
Diane Velikis
Coldwell & Banker Busch Real Estate - Luzerne, PA
Luzerne County Real Estate
Andrew, You did all the right things, and unfortunately there are some agents locally who enjoy throwing their weight around. It is too bad that you were in this kind of postition but unless you just got your real estate license, you know THESE THINGS HAPPEN. I wish you a very successful closing.
Oct 05, 2007 11:11 PM
Andrew Trevino
ADT Real Estate - Wilkes Barre, PA
Wilkes-Barre Homes For Sale

Fred---Thanks for stopping by and for the comment. I'm past it already.

Keith and Robin---Thanks as well. The comment is much appreciated.

Diane---I have met a few of them. I've actually thrown my weight around a few times myself, but I was always professional about it. I know, these things happen. I've moved on and won't be concerned about it at all. Thanks for the comment.

Oct 06, 2007 02:59 AM
Missy Caulk
Missy Caulk TEAM - Ann Arbor, MI
Savvy Realtor - Ann Arbor Real Estate
Andrew, you did your duty that's all you can do. Too bad the other agent took it personally. Maybe she had a house payment due. Don't these things just drain you ? I have to go shopping after one of these deals. LOL
Oct 06, 2007 10:26 AM
Andrew Trevino
ADT Real Estate - Wilkes Barre, PA
Wilkes-Barre Homes For Sale

Missy,

I hadn't thought about the house payment due. That may very well be the cause of the distress. I'm not much of a shopper, but thanks for the suggestion...and the comment, of course.

Oct 06, 2007 02:25 PM
Jolynne Photography, Creative Wedding Photography, Family Portraits, Bar Mitzvahs
Jolynne Photography - Hemet, CA
Bat Mitzvahs, Senior Pictures, Event Photography

C'mon...don't shoot the messenger.

PLAY NICE, Realtors!

You're doing a great job, Andrew.  Don't let them drag you down.

Oct 06, 2007 06:00 PM
Andrew Trevino
ADT Real Estate - Wilkes Barre, PA
Wilkes-Barre Homes For Sale

Joey,

I'm not...Im just doing my job, but thanks for the morale booster.

Oct 06, 2007 06:03 PM
Adam Waldman
Westcott Group Real Estate Company - Hauppauge, NY
Realtor - Long Island

ANDREW:  While I understand her frustrations, she had no right to make this into a battle with you.  If she would step back and think for a minute, she would realize that you have absolutely no incentive to push things off, but you can't show up to a closing without the buyer and his money.  Even if you didn't have a contract with the buyer and you were a seller's agent, you still couldn't make things happen any faster.  Recently, I had a situation where the other agent wanted the deal done faster, but we were waiting for C.O.'s from the town.  We were still within the time frame that was originally stated, but the buyers were demanding a faster closing.  I'll blog about this somewhere down the road, because it is a long story. 

This whole situation reminded me of the classic movie "My Cousin Vinny."  Hopefully, you've seen the movie and you'll get the reference.  There was a courtroom scene where Joe Pesci proves that the man that was a witness couldn't possibly have the correct timeline of the events.  It goes back and forth with a story about making grits (real ones, because no self-respecting Southerner would use instant grits).  The man said that it took 5 minutes to cook the grits.  Joe Pesci points out that it takes 20 minutes to cook grits, and then goes off on a tirade about how science ceased to exist in that man's frying pan, but no place else in the world.

The moral of the story is that you are not letting the buyer borrow money from you to close this loan.  You are not having someone hold him down in New York so that he can't get in his car and drive to PA.  You are not responsible for the grits taking 20 minutes to cook, when the other agent wants it cooked in 5 minutes.  It takes as long as it takes.  You put the grits in the pan and turned on the stove.  The cooking time is the cooking time, and no stomping of the feet will speed the process up.  Good luck with this closing, Andrew.

Oct 06, 2007 06:18 PM
Andrew Trevino
ADT Real Estate - Wilkes Barre, PA
Wilkes-Barre Homes For Sale

Adam,

Wow, that was great. You're right and I know it. I am praying that we have no more issues on Tuesday. That would be the straw that broke the camel's back. The thing I know is true is that I have absolutely no control over what has happened or will happen here. I can only communicate and mediate the situation. If she wants to throw a tantrum, so be it. If she decides that she doesn't want to deal with me in the future, it will surely be her loss. Thanks again for the comment.

Oct 06, 2007 06:33 PM
Maria Couto
RE/MAX Premier - Berkeley Heights, NJ
Realtor with "Results That "MOVE" You'

You've brought a ready, able, and willing buyer. In this market (or any other) I'd say "thank-you Andrew".

 

Oct 09, 2007 06:40 AM
Andrew Trevino
ADT Real Estate - Wilkes Barre, PA
Wilkes-Barre Homes For Sale

Maria,

You'd think things would be that simple, but their not. In the end it all will work out, what we do in the meantime will only serve to help or hurt us. I stand on the fact that I've done the right thing by my client, so there it is. Thanks for your comment. Maybe I'll need to come to your market to sell a home or two.

Oct 09, 2007 06:50 AM