Don't panic; just improvise.

Real Estate Broker/Owner with Cornerstone Business Group Inc 0225086119

Don't panic; just improvise. I've heard that a thousand times in the past 40 years. My mother-in-law (my first broker) used that line whenever she was cooking and she was missing an ingredient or something was going wrong. Rather than give up, she produced a unique and often unusual solution. Of course, she is also the family member who would make pizza with a side of green beans, but I digress. 

In real estate, I see a lot of my colleagues who are problem focused and not solutions focused. When things start to get off course in a deal, they can recite the problems all day, but they are often short on solutions and deals fall apart. That's where my mother-in-law's Don't panic; just improvise comes in handy.

I had a closing Friday that was one for the books. My buyer was buying from a young couple who were buying from an older couple who were building a new home. The construction project was already in the process when we made an offer and ratified our contract. We put the closing off for 60 days to allow the construction to be completed. 

About three-four weeks ago, the listing agent on our purchase called to ask if we'd extend again. The builder is running behind and the construction of the third couples’ home is behind 60 days. That would mean the closing would be 120 days from the contract. My client was not having it. No problem, the sellers assumed the seller on their purchase would find a short-term rental and all was well. Well, that was wrong.

Three days before closing, the building couple informed their buyers that they had no intention of moving twice. That meant my buyers home would not be available for him to move into Friday. He was furious. At that point, the deal looked dead in the water. We're three days from closing, how could this happen? No matter what the parties discussed, the third couple were not moving. Lawsuits have been filed, but by the time they hit the court system, their house will be finished, and everyone can move. Sadly, no one beyond them was interested in putting the closing on hold for another 60 days.

That's the problem. What's the solution? Ironically, I have a second home just 30 minutes from my buyer's seller. On Thursday, I offered my home for them until they can close on their purchase. There are caveats. No pets, no smoking (they don't) no furniture and they pay rent. My house is furnished and equipped with everything they need. There is no place to put anything else. They put their furniture in storage, pets in a boarding kennel and they moved in Saturday. We improvised. You may not have a second home 30 minutes from the buyers occupied home, but you may know someone who does. You may have a friend with an empty rental who would collaborate with you for sixty days. You may be able to call in a favor or create a relationship where a favor will be returned later. There is often a way to make things work when we are solutions oriented. 

Don't panic; just improvise. It's not just a slogan, it's a way of life in this business. There are agents who are willing to give up, but I challenge you to be the agent who makes things happen. I love the idea of don't panic; just improvise even if I don't understand how green beans go with pizza.

When you're ready to have a solution-based buying/selling experience, give Cornerstone a call. We make great things happen everyday and we will help you reach your goals. Call today @ 540-722-6029.


Comments (11)

Kathy Streib
Room Service Home Staging - Delray Beach, FL
Home Stager - Palm Beach County,FL -561-914-6224

Hi Mike- I love the way your mother-in-law thinks even though I too am not sure about pizza and green beans. And yes, too often people seem to be focused on finding blame or figuring out what went wrong. The thing to do is assess where you are and find a solution!  

Oct 18, 2021 05:38 PM
Mike Cooper, Broker VA,WV, MD

Kathy, I sent the blog to her just to tease her. I've teased her for 40 years. No reason to stop now, right?

Oct 18, 2021 07:00 PM
Myrl Jeffcoat
Sacramento, CA
Greater Sacramento Realtor - Retired

Great advice, Mike.  It kind of reminds me of a line in the Clint Eastwood movie, Heartbreak Ridge. . ."You gotta improvise, adapt and overcome."

Oct 19, 2021 02:00 AM
Myrl Jeffcoat
Sacramento, CA
Greater Sacramento Realtor - Retired

CONGRATULATIONS Mike, on having this blog FEATURED in the Old Farts Club group!  

Oct 19, 2021 02:01 AM
Michael Jacobs
Pasadena, CA
Los Angeles Pasadena 818.516.4393

Hello Mike - improvising is definitely a part of life although I think that combination of pizza and green beans may need to ruminate in my mind a bit longer.  

Oct 19, 2021 04:15 AM
Mike Cooper, Broker VA,WV, MD

Michael, my mother-in-law and I were laughing about the pizza and green beans yesterday. She said, "Hey, you need a green vegatable." She's probably right. 🤣

Oct 19, 2021 07:58 AM
Kat Palmiotti
406-270-3667,, Broker, eXp Realty - Kalispell, MT
Helping your Montana dreams take root

Excellent example of how to improvise. And your mother-in-law's adage "don't panic, just improvise" could save many deals! And dinner recipes.

Oct 19, 2021 05:32 AM
Kathy Streib
Room Service Home Staging - Delray Beach, FL
Home Stager - Palm Beach County,FL -561-914-6224

Oct 23, 2021 05:50 PM
Grant Schneider
Performance Development Strategies - Armonk, NY
Your Coach Helping You Create Successful Outcomes

Good morning Mike - that is a great solution.  I hope that everyone takes a lesson from this.  We can always improvise in a situation.

Oct 24, 2021 04:30 AM
Wayne Martin
Wayne M Martin - Chicago, IL
Real Estate Broker - Retired

Good morning Mike. As I read your post my mind was focused on when in doubt, serve green beans. It is going to be with me for a while.Enjoy your day.

Oct 24, 2021 05:21 AM
Mike Cooper, Broker VA,WV, MD

I love it, Wayne.


Nov 18, 2021 02:47 PM
Andrea Bedard
Thompson Company, REALTORS® 240.593.2860 - Silver Spring, MD
Fluent in Real Estate & German, M.A. ABR ASP CIPS

... and renter's insurance! I know your caveats also include renter's insurance because I know you cover all the bases Mike Cooper, Broker VA,WV, MD. I also know this to be true of you, you jump into action to find not only a solution but the best solution. 

Oct 24, 2021 09:36 AM
Roy Kelley
Realty Group Referrals - Gaithersburg, MD

Thanks, Mike, for sharing this story and your solution.

You received good advice from your mother in law.

Oct 24, 2021 12:23 PM
Jeff Dowler, CRS
eXp Realty of California, Inc. - Carlsbad, CA
The Southern California Relocation Dude


This is great advice and a good example. Sometimes people are not willing to find a solution but instead remain focused only on the problem.  Any good Realtor, like a good cook, can probably find a way to improvise.

And hey, there is nothing wrong with pizza and a side of green beans...I just wouldn't want them together.


Oct 26, 2021 08:59 PM