Real Estate Agent with Dunnigan, Realtors, Sacramento (916) 425-9715 CalBRE # 01188158

Five little words cost a third of my commission.  Now there's a way to start a blog!

How did this happen? As with many unfortunate things, quite simply.  After showing my clients many houses, we found THE ONE.  It was perfect.  We wrote an offer and it was accepted.  Soon after, we went by the house to have a contractor bid painting.  As we were taking a look at the work, we realized there was no heat or air conditioning upstairs.  I told them I would look into it, as it would certainly affect the value of the house and the price we had offered.

Then, when I looked back on the computer printout, I discovered five little words that changed everything...."No heat and air upstairs" was written in the "agent only" remarks.  I had missed it.  I immediately called my clients, let them know of my oversight and told them that I would be happy to pay for the heat and air as I had missed it and had negotiated a price  that possibly should have been less.

Do I resent this?  No...because as with many things in my life, I learn more by my mistakes than with my successes.  I will read "agent only" remarks more closely next time.  Also, it is an opportunity to serve my clients well and hopefully, get referrals because I was willing to step up.



This entry hasn't been re-blogged:

Re-Blogged By Re-Blogged At
ActiveRain Community
The Art Of Marketing You
POSITIVE ATTITUDE for the Weary Soul
Sacramento Real Estate

Spam prevention
Show All Comments
Ed Silva
RE/MAX Professionals, CT 203-206-0754 - Waterbury, CT
Central CT Real Estate Broker Serving all equally

That hurts, but shouldn't that have been noted on the property disclosures and the inspection also?

Jun 06, 2012 01:28 PM #1
Morgan Evans
Douglas Elliman Real Estate - Manhattan, NY

That will definitely be something you will learn from as you won't forget too easily, but all is well that ends well and I'm sure that customer will be very pleased with your service.

Jun 06, 2012 01:32 PM #2
Paula Swayne
Dunnigan, Realtors, Sacramento (916) 425-9715 - Sacramento, CA
Realtor-Land Park, East Sac & Curtis Park -Dunniga

Hi Ed~

Yes...but we hadn't received the disclosures at that point, and the fact that it was disclosed in MLS pretty much disclosed it!

Hi Morgan~
Exactly how I feel!  Thank goodness it was a nice commission!

Paula Swayne

Jun 06, 2012 02:19 PM #3
Doug Anderson
Tucker Associates Real Estate Services - Danville, CA
Bay Area Real Estate Views

Way to step up to the plate Paula. In your next of the woods it's certainly nice to have the A/C upstairs!

Jun 07, 2012 03:44 AM #4
Satar Naghshineh
Satar - Amiri Property and Financial Services Corp. - Irvine, CA

That speaks highly of your character and your clients are lucky to have someone so caring as you on their side. Personally, I would have renegotiated the price or get credit for the unit during the contingency stating that the property was too uncomfortable and the buyers decided they needed it upstairs as well.

Jun 07, 2012 04:13 AM #5
Eve Alexander
Buyers Broker of Florida - Orlando, FL
Exclusively Representing ONLY Orlando Home Buyers


If the MLS is considered a disclosure for material defects, that this should have been disclosed for all to see, not just in realtor remarks, besides the MLS is not the contract, sellers disclosures, or inspections,

I am sorry that happened to you, but If the contract was subject to inspections, I  am not sure that is was time for a haircut...

The sellers disclosure should have been key to renegotiate the contract...particularly since the defect may have not been visable....besides who provides the disclosure AFTER the contract?


Eve in Orlando


Jun 07, 2012 04:13 AM #6
Marti Steele Kilby, CRS
Steele Group Realty - La Mesa, CA
Broker/Owner, San Diego, CA

Hi Paula, I commend you for standing behind an oversight on your part, but I agree with Eve that it might have been worth a try to go back to the sellers for a price reduction.  If your buyers offered under the assumption that there was heating and cooling upstairs, and their offer was accepted, it was probably the highest and there thus might have been some wiggle room on the part of the sellers.  I guess I just hate that our commissions seem to be too often the first line of defense in keeping a deal from dying.

At this point, what's done is done and it's definitely a learning experience ;)

Jun 07, 2012 08:14 AM #7
Evelyn Kennedy
Alain Pinel Realtors - Alameda, CA
Alameda, Real Estate, Alameda, CA


An expensive lesson.  It is a good thing that you stepped up and took responsibility for your mistake.

Jun 07, 2012 08:26 AM #8
John Juarez
The Medford Real Estate Team - Fremont, CA

Big mistake, Paula. Bigger of you to own up and offer to make it good to your clients instead of trying to weasel out. Your clients will remember that you are willing to be honest and protect their best interests at your own cost long after they have forgotten about your oversight.

Jun 07, 2012 08:38 AM #9
Lloyd Binen
Certified Realty Services - Saratoga, CA
Silicon Valley Realtor since 1976; 408-373-4411


Great attitude about the unfortunate situation but I have a question.  What if the oversight had cost more than the entire commission?  Would you still have paid?  And what if it was discovered after closing and cost more than the commission?  Okay, I'll shut up.


Jun 07, 2012 10:26 AM #10
Russell Lewis
Realty Austin, Austin Texas Real Estate - Austin, TX

Hey Paula! Long time no see, thogh form years of raeding your posts it's no surprise that you immeadiately contacted your buyers and took responsibility for the oversight. You have the kind of integrity that helps overcome the many who would put Realtors down at every turn!


Nice job and great post my friend!

Jun 07, 2012 11:04 AM #11
Mike McIntosh
Sierra Pacific Mortgage Company, Inc. - Granite Bay, CA
FHA VA CVL Home Loans California - 916 780-6400

Paula - Way to step up and do the right thing.  You've handled the situation as a true professional.  I would bet that your clients appreciate your integrity and will be big advocates for you in the future.

Keep up the great work!

Jun 07, 2012 03:00 PM #12
Pamela Seley
West Coast Realty Division - Murrieta, CA
Residential Real Estate Agent serving SW RivCo CA

I'm with Lloyd #10. Sounds like that could be an expensive fix. Best of luck and thanks for your post today,

Jun 07, 2012 04:31 PM #13
Paula Swayne
Dunnigan, Realtors, Sacramento (916) 425-9715 - Sacramento, CA
Realtor-Land Park, East Sac & Curtis Park -Dunniga

Hi Doug~

Yup...suppose to be 93 on Sunday!  Can't imagine that this house was built without heat or air upstairs in 1940!

Hi Satar~
I would have done the same if it hadn't been boldly put where I should have seen it when I was showing the property...not after we had an accepted offer!

Hi Eve~
Actually, in our neck of the woods, disclosures are almost always given after we are in contract. In fact, in 17 years, I have never been given disclosures before hand.

Hi Marti~
The buyers did make an offer assuming there was heat and air was I who should have advised them ahead of time that there was not and we would have made an appropriate offer.  It was water under the bridge by the time I realized it.

Hi Evelyn~
I have discovered that this kind of thing will come back to me multiple times, so I really don't mind.

Hi John~
That is my hope!

Hi Lloyd~
I would have swallowed hard and still have owned up.  I don't think it would have happened after because our home inspection would have discovered it.

Hey Russell~
Long time no chat!  How are you?  Have you come back to the rain more consistently or are you still intermittent like myself?

Hi Mike~
Thanks...I sure hope so!  If not, at least I know I have some grateful clients.

Hi Pamela~
At least it wasn't the original bid of $11,500!  This one only cost $6500!

Paula Swayne

Jun 07, 2012 05:01 PM #14
Wallace S. Gibson, CPM
Gibson Management Group, Ltd. - Charlottesville, VA

Paula * early in my property management career, I bought a washer and dryer for a rental unit....took my fees for the property for a YEAR!  I've never had to buy them since!

Jun 08, 2012 12:33 AM #15
Russell Lewis
Realty Austin, Austin Texas Real Estate - Austin, TX

Hi Paula, intermittant? Yes but starting back on a more regular basis in tandem with my outside blog, Works great together! Hope you are well!

Jun 08, 2012 06:01 AM #16
Thom Abbott |770.713.1505 | Intown Atlanta GA Condo Living - Atlanta, GA
Midtown Atlanta GA Condos For Sale

Paula...I'd say you have a client for life in that one. And they will refer business to you too.

I had a recent inspection on a foreclosure condo, and did not realize the water was turned off...we were at the end of our due diligence and I did not want the Buyer to change their mind. I offered to pay up to $500 if there were any problems with the plumbing. (I knew it would be ok, it's a new building) and they were very, very happy!

We have to do the right thing.

Jun 09, 2012 11:34 AM #17
Show All Comments

What's the reason you're reporting this blog entry?

Are you sure you want to report this blog entry as spam?


Paula Swayne

Realtor-Land Park, East Sac & Curtis Park -Dunniga
Ask me a question
Spam prevention

Additional Information