Real Estate Broker/Owner with Franklin Homes Realty LLC


blueprintsYesterday, while out with a buyer for the tenth time in about two months, I suggested that the buyer might want to consider building a home. It seems that every time we go out, another obstacle to buying an existing house pops up. The criteria seems to be constantly changing.

He casually mentioned that he called a listing agent off a lot sign and the agent rushed over to meet him. I reminded him that we had a signed buyer's agreement and that he should have contacted me. After all, that is my job to protect his financial interests and help him find the right place.

He made it sound like it was no big deal. Just a casual conversation. I mentioned that the neighborhood he was interested in had many building restrictions so before purchasing a lot, we should meet with a builder just to make sure he could build exactly what he wants for his budget.

Then he nonchalantly says, "I offered $150,000 for a lot priced at $170,000." My heart skipped a beat. "You did that verbally right? Did you put it in writing?"

signing contract"No, the listing agent countered at $160,000 and we're not going to do that." I, once again, reminded him that the listing agent works for the seller. His job is to get the best price for the seller. My job as his buyer's agent is to get the best price for him. I told him not to have any further contact with the listing agent. He agreed.

As I was driving back to my office, I called the other agent. Of course, he didn't answer his phone and I left a voice mail just to inform him that I was working as Mr. XYZ's buyer's agent and that we would be meeting with a builder prior to making an official offer.

Within minutes, I got a call back from the listing agent. Apparently, my client had submitted a written offer. I tried to remain calm but I could feel my blood pressure going up. I said, I'm sorry my client didn't mention any such written offer.

The listing agent went on to say that they don't use a standard Tennessee Association of REALTORS® (TAR) Purchase and Sale Agreement. The listing agent just typed up the offer and had my client sign.

You see, my client is an international. He has lived in this country for years but he doesn't always understand what people are asking him to do. He is very trusting and doesn't believe anyone would take advantage of him.

The listing agent said the seller had countered but there was still no response from the buyer. Then he told me that the counter was based upon the buyer being unrepresented and that counter would be off the table if my buyer expected the seller to pay me. Good. I told him I would speak to my client and get back to him.

I called my client and arranged to meet him right away. When I arrived at his home, I asked him again if he had written an offer. He told me that he had signed a form but it didn't look anything like a TAR Purchase and Sale Agreement so it wasn't legally binding. (We had written two previous offers on TAR Contracts, that's how he knew what they looked like).

rejectI went on to explain that not all agents and sellers use the standard TAR contract and that even though it didn't look like an official document, it was a legally binding contract. Fortunately, the listing agent had sent a counter which my client had not signed. WHEW!

The buyer then apologized, he said he didn't know he was suppose to call me. I had explained this at our initial consultation but that had been two months earlier.

He didn't know that when he signed this document prepared by the listing agent that he would be legally obligated to buy the land. As a matter of fact, the counter offer prepared by the listing agent, didn't even give my client the option to reject. By signing it, he was agreeing to all the terms stipulated in the document.

I simply drew a line across the document put the word
REJECTED across each page had my client initial and date. I prepared an official TAR Counter Offer rejecting the counter and my client signed that as well. I emailed the documents to the listing agent. CRISIS AVERTED!

I spoke with several builders and we have appointments scheduled for next week to see if my client can build exactly what he wants within his budget.

moneyUpon further investigation, there are many things about this neighborhood that may prevent my client from building; such as, size and style restrictions. It's possible the buyer would have purchased a lot that he couldn't even afford to build on. If that had occurred, he would not have even had the ability to buy an existing house as his down payment would have been depleted.

This would have been a sad turn of events for this buyer who has waited many years to get into the house of his dreams.

The moral of the story...


Call your buyer's agent, he has your best interest in mind. He will prepare a competitive market analysis and make sure you don't overpay for a house or a lot.

If you don't have a buyer's agent, contact another agent who can help advise you or feel free to give me a call at (615) 495-0752. I would be happy to help you with the purchase of your new Franklin TN home or lot.

Posted by
Tammie White, Managing Broker/Owner
Franklin Homes Realty LLC
Franklin, TN
(615) 495-0752 
This posting with the content written here and photographs displayed are the intellectual property and opinions of Tammie White of Franklin Homes Realty LLC. Any party who uses this material without the written permission of Tammie White is subject to copyright infringement and possible lawsuit.

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Evelyn Kennedy
Alain Pinel Realtors - Alameda, CA
Alameda, Real Estate, Alameda, CA


What a mess.  When you have a client like your client, it is almost impossible to keep them under control.  I hope you can work everything out.  The agent for the builder probably did not even ask if your client was working with another agent.

Sep 15, 2012 09:16 AM #31
Eric Michael
Remerica Integrity, Realtors®, Northville, MI - Livonia, MI
Metro Detroit Real Estate Professional 734.564.1519

*whew* That was a close one, Tammy. I wonder if this could've been avoided if in the initial consultation, you wrote out some do's and don't for buyers and had them sign it. Think that might make them a little more aware of what's going on? Just thinking out loud.

Sep 15, 2012 10:02 AM #32
John Juarez
The Medford Real Estate Team - Fremont, CA

Your client dodged a bullet! He dodged a bullet not because he was quick and crafty but simply because he got lucky. If the seller had not countered he would now be in contact.


Too often a buyer contacts the listing agent out of ignorance. Too often the ignorance is borne out of the belief that they can save money by using the listing agent. They fail to understand that the listing agent is the SELLER’s agent and is charged with getting the best price possible for the SELLER.

Sep 15, 2012 11:25 AM #33
Hella Mitschke Rothwell
(831) 626-4000 - Honolulu, HI
Hawaii & California Real Estate Broker

The myth is still out there that the listing agent can save them money by not having to pay out YOUR commission. Another one I had recently was "it's better to deal through the listing agent in a REO, you have a better chance of getting it." I noticed that the home in question is still not under contract, so something must have gone wrong there.

Sep 15, 2012 12:00 PM #34
Sharon Alters
Coldwell Banker Vanguard Realty - 904-673-2308 - Fleming Island, FL
Realtor - Homes for Sale Fleming Island FL

Tammie, oh my word, thank goodness that the Seller countered and you were able to intervene to reject his offer and fill out a proper contract and protect your buyer which is what he hired to do.


Sep 15, 2012 12:03 PM #35
Tammie White, Broker
Franklin Homes Realty LLC - Franklin, TN
Franklin TN Homes for Sale

Evelyn - Probably not.

Eric - That's a good idea.

John - I agree. If the seller hadn't countered my client would be under contract.

Hella - Interestingly, I looked up the stats on the land listings for this agent. When the buyer had representation, They got the lots for $15K less. When the clients came in without an agent they paid full price. When will buyers learn, they only hurt themselves.

Sharon - I'm not sure the buyer really knows how close he came to making a huge mistake.

Sep 15, 2012 12:09 PM #36
Shannon Milligan, Richmond VA Real Estate Agent/Associate Broker
RVA Home Team - Richmond, VA
RVA Home Team - Winning with Integrity.

I have had this conversation several times and usually the buyer understands but I have on occasion found out that my buyer has called the listing agent directly, even though I instructed them not to.

Glad everything worked out for your client!

Sep 15, 2012 12:11 PM #37
Tammie White, Broker
Franklin Homes Realty LLC - Franklin, TN
Franklin TN Homes for Sale

Shannon - I don't know how many times we have to say it, before they begin to understand.

Sep 15, 2012 12:27 PM #38
Joan Whitebook
BHG The Masiello Group - Nashua, NH
Consumer Focused Real Estate Services

This type of situation happens all too often.  I am wondering, however, if the seller's agent asked the buyers if they were working with an agent.  As far as I recall this is required by the Code of Ethics....If they asked, then they knew and they should have stopped there.  If they didn't ask, then they failed to meet their obligation under the code.

Sep 15, 2012 12:33 PM #39
Wayne Johnson
Coldwell Banker D'Ann Harper REALTORS® - San Antonio, TX
San Antonio REALTOR, San Antonio Homes For Sale

Tammie-One of the good things in this case was you found out sooner rather than later. Good save.

Sep 15, 2012 12:37 PM #40
Tammie White, Broker
Franklin Homes Realty LLC - Franklin, TN
Franklin TN Homes for Sale

Joan - My guess...they didn't ask.

Wayne - It's a good thing that I meet so often with this client.

Sep 15, 2012 12:50 PM #41
Tiffany Sniezek
RE/MAX The Woodlands & Spring, TX 713-594-9639 direct, - The Woodlands, TX
Tiffany Sniezek 713-594-9639 RE/MAX Woodlands TX
I completely agree that Buyers should have representation. Unfortunately, not just international clients but clients that have lived right here in my own community and are not new to buying a house still don't always realize the importance of representation! This is just another great example of why!
Sep 15, 2012 02:43 PM #42
Lloyd Binen
Certified Realty Services - Saratoga, CA
Silicon Valley Realtor since 1976; 408-373-4411

Interesting situation and a close call.  In that situation you're happy there was a counter offer rather than an acceptance.  Too many buyers don't understand the value and importance of a selling agent.  Good luck with these folks.

Sep 15, 2012 03:37 PM #43
Christine Donovan
Donovan Blatt Realty - Costa Mesa, CA
Broker/Attorney 714-319-9751 DRE01267479 - Costa M

Tammie - Your buyer got lucky.  He's even luckier to have you helping him.

Sep 15, 2012 03:59 PM #44
Richard Bazinet /MBA, CRS, ABR
West USA Realty - Scottsdale, AZ
Phoenix Scottsdale. Sellers, Buyers & Relocations

In regards to your response #15.... Ha! The non-real estate professional who knows everything about real estate and is the 'real estate' advisor to the client. I think we all know what you mean. Had this situation recently. I had to take the client aside and reinforce the rules. 'You are buying the house, not your friend... it's your decision, not your friend's... and I'm the RE pro, not your friend... don't let other people influence you with "their" ideas.... have your own ideas.

Sep 16, 2012 03:36 AM #45
Connie Harvey
Pilkerton Realtors - Brentwood, TN
Realtor - Nashville TN Real Estate

Tammie, he has no idea how lucky he is to have you taking care of him!

Sep 16, 2012 05:54 AM #46
Tammie White, Broker
Franklin Homes Realty LLC - Franklin, TN
Franklin TN Homes for Sale

Tiffany - You are absolutely right. All buyers need representation.

Lloyd - Yes or he would be under contract and possibly not even be able to build there.

Christine - Thank you.

Richard - The friend is a relative who stands to inherit. Therefore, they are letting him have more say than he should. Really complicated.

Connie - I wish he knew that.

Sep 16, 2012 06:20 AM #47
Bas Panch
SCV Home Buyer - Valencia, CA

Hi Tammie,

Wow, close call! I feel kind of bad for your client, I think he honestly just didn't know what he was doing. Lucky you had his best interests at heart and were able to help him out of that situation. Keep up the good work as a top Franklin TN short sale agent!

Sep 20, 2012 12:10 PM #48
Marte Cliff
Marte Cliff Copywriting - Priest River, ID
Your real estate writer

With all that's been written about these matters, you'd think buyers would understand. But no - they don't.

Sep 20, 2012 01:58 PM #49
Tammie White, Broker
Franklin Homes Realty LLC - Franklin, TN
Franklin TN Homes for Sale

Bas - It was a close call and I do believe he didn't really understand.

Marte - I agree.

Sep 21, 2012 03:09 AM #50
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