As the sun came up over Hampton Beach NH, I was pondering an interaction yesterday. I am seeing more and more hostile consumers. No, not my customers, but people looking to hire real estate agents.
Lets start with yesterday. A middle aged couple living in a very upscale home in one of the State of New Hampshire's most desirable neighborhood's. They are behind in their payments by a good 2 years. Their lawyer called the bank to stop foreclosure and asked what the bank could do to help his clients.
The bank was very receptive and was even willing to take all the back payments and add them to the loan balance. Bring the loan current and reduce their interest rate to 3.75%. The home owner would then have to start making monthly payments with the property tax now escrowed into their payment.
The home owner though, declined as they are unable to make any monthly payments. Now common sense says you can not stay in your home if you can not pay for it.
Fast forward they owe about half of what the home is worth in today's market. The lawyer told them to a short sale. So they hired an agent who submitted a short sale. The bank reached back out to them with a copy of the appraisal showing they do not owe more than the house is worth. The home owner fired the short sale broker. The bank referred me to them as i have sold many of their properties over the last 14 years working with just them.
I went to them home and it was amazing. From the outside that was as the inside was very dirty for a mansion. Despite condition the home would still sell for much more than they owed. The home owners was very rude, sarcastic and unwilling to listen. They pondered out loud walking away and letting the bank have the home. I needed a whistle. I did not have one but once seperated I was able to speak to the husband alone.
THIS IS THE BOTTOM LINE. I was no longer going to stand there and be their punching bag. I lay-ed it out where this is what they should list the home for. This is what they may get. That it would sure be better to walk away with $300,000 on the lower side than walk away with nothing. Before the wife who was now in the room could bash me one more time, i stood firm. They have to move no matter what they choose. They can have a foreclosure, move out and leave with nothing. Or they can move out, let me sell the home and get a check for $300,000. Use it to get a new home and to start re-building their life.
IN THE END the customer was wrong. You know what they say about leading a horse to water. No matter how wrong they were, it did not give them the right to be so mean. In other cases i may have walked out. However the bank is a good customer and they wanted a resolution too. In most cases i would tactfully let them know the right way to do something. This seller was a bully and the only way to list this home, show it and get it sold would be for it to be vacant. In a surprise they agreed to sign the listing. The money they would get was more than their will to bash anyone and everyone else. We will communicate by email so everyone can have a record. They agreed to have 4 weeks to move out and take what they wanted leaving the rest behind. They gave me a 4 hour window where they left and allowed buyers to come in and make their highest and best offers. Within 48 hours start to finish I had the home under contract. The seller will actually be out earlier. The bank is happy and the buyer is happy. Mrs. Seller was very happy but said she could not show it in front of her husband. That was a moral victory.
In summary, your choice of agents matters. My philosophy is simple, provide more personal and professional service to guide my clients through each step of the buying or selling process. All Agents are not created equal and every buyer or seller should take the time to hire the BEST not just the biggest. Those that hire me, find a dedication like no other.