Listing Agents - Calm it Down a Notch

Mortgage and Lending with Mortgages in AZ, CA, CO, DE, FL, GA, IN, MD, MN, MT, NC, NJ, NV, OK, OR, PA, SC, SD, TN, TX, UT, VA, WI NMLS #138061 MMCD #1141

Ah, the holiday season.  The season of lights.  The season of decorations.  Celebrations.  Religious reflections and joy.  Family time.  Real estate agents reminding others just how miserable they can be...

We're in a seller's market.  A heavy seller's market, and we've been here for a while.  How long?  Long enough for many listing agents to forget how to be decent human beings.  Long enough for many listing agents for forget it's not always like this, and that lenders, and the agents on the other side of the transaction sometimes have really, really good memories.

I have the wonderful fortune of working with some great buyers and agents across many markets, and in nearly every market, one consistent thing that continues to pop up is shortened timelines on accepted contracts.  While every state is different, most have timelines for loan approval, appraisal, inspections, and other pieces of the transaction.   These timelines are meant to keep things on track toward a timely settlement.  But listing agents - do you not realize that during the holidays, pushing for shortened contingency times sets you, and more importantly, your seller, up for additional stress??

We missed a loan contingency yesterday.  Not because anything is wrong.  Not because there's any delay.  But because a contract was accepted the week before Thanksgiving with a 12 day loan contingency.  What that meant is that we had 4 and a half days to get the entire mortgage done.  Possible?  Sure.  Likely.  Not so much.

My question becomes - what's the point?  Are the funds the seller receives at closing going to be worth less if the accepted offer actually gives people time to do their job?  And why, on a 21 day close, do you need the loan done in 12 days?  The answer is, unequivocally, you don't.

Relax.  Take a breath.  Give people time to do their jobs.  Explain to your seller that reduced contingency times create more stress & headache than they're worth.  They (on most transactions) have a huge chunk of the buyer's money in deposit.  Enjoy the holidays, and let others do the same.  No one's working Thanksgiving (and if you are, stop it, spend time with your family and if you don't have a family go volunteer somewhere or take a walk).  I don't know anyone in banking working the day after, either.  We work a lot.  Our team covers Hawaii to the East Coast, so we're doing lots of hours on lots of days.  We're also taking some time off for the holidays.  And yes, we'll still have the money on it's way for closing on time (and in most cases, early!).  But within a week of the contract being executed?  Let us do our job.  Leave us alone.  Don't threaten us, harass us, or make things more stressful than they need to be.

During the holidays, think things through - people take time off.  Title people, appraisers, operations staff at lenders, and yes, believe it or not, other agents!  It offers us absolutely no benefit to have a loan in process for even a day more than absolutely necessary.  We know time is of the essence.  We get it, and we nearly always deliver (our pull through rate is immensely higher than industry average).  Patience, grasshopper.

Shortened contingency times offer little benefit when a contract/escrow timeframe is a normal 21-45 day timeline.  A 7-12 day contingency does you no good when there's 2 weeks between contingency and closing, but it does add more stress and paperwork along the way.  Calm it down a notch for the holiday season.  Let your seller know that yes, people take time off.  Even if the agent and loan officer don't - there are escrow employees, operations staff, appraisers, and many others we rely on that are out of the office.  Relax, enjoy the holidays, and give people time to do their job.

Posted by

John Meussner
NMLS ID #138061

It's more than a house - it's home.  So we offer a wide range of mortgage products at competitive prices to help our clients achieve financial security at home.  While we get great feedback on our prices and products, many clients say their favorite part of working with John Meussner & MasonMac is the level of service provided along the way.

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Comments (13)

Will Hamm
Hamm Homes - Aurora, CO
"Where There's a Will, There's a Way!"

Hello John and thank you for your blog that is so true.  Hope you have great plans for today.


Nov 30, 2021 10:18 AM
John Meussner

Thanks Will!  It's a great day here : )

Nov 30, 2021 02:29 PM
Kathleen Daniels, Probate & Trust Estate Specialist
KD Realty - 408.972.1822 - San Jose, CA
Probate Real Estate

Insanity could describe what is happening with many agents ... buyer agents too. 

I recently called a lender and asked, given the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday, is a 35 day close doable?  The lender took a deep breath and let it out without saying anything. 

She did not have to say anything her breath and pause said it all. The seller countered with an extended close. 

There is absolutely no reason, other than insanity, or possibly ego, to create havoc with redonadonk contract timeframes.  Keep it real. 

Nov 30, 2021 02:18 PM
John Meussner

We're seeing 21 day escrows as the new normal - which is fine in most markets (where we can get appraisals back within 2 weeks or so).  It's pressing the contingencies within that 21 day period that seems a bit "extra" to me.  I'd let out some tears of joy seeing 35 day! : )

Nov 30, 2021 02:30 PM
Victoria Ray Henderson
HomeBuyer Brokerage - Washington, DC
Washington DC Real Estate

I hear you and understand where you're coming from! Setting unrealistic expectations is just a recipe for failure. I wish you all the best

Nov 30, 2021 02:52 PM
John Meussner

Thanks Victoria, appreciate the comment! : )

Nov 30, 2021 03:13 PM
Hannah Williams
HomeStarr Realty - Philadelphia, PA
Expertise NE Philadelphia & Bucks 215-820-3376

John Meussner   I would assume the buyer's agent spoke to you and also the listing agent about these dates - did you advise them ??? Usually my lenders say because of the holidays these are not realistic then these dates are not expected and agents are not upset . Funny I am writting a similiar blog about buyers agents 

Nov 30, 2021 02:57 PM
John Meussner

Sure did - and they basically demanded we shorten all timelines for the offer to be accepted.  And I advised them we'd do our best.  

Nov 30, 2021 03:14 PM
Dorie Dillard Austin TX
Coldwell Banker Realty ~ 512.750.6899 - Austin, TX
NW Austin ~ Canyon Creek and Spicewood/Balcones

Good evening John Meussner ,

Great post! We all need to take a breath and relax. Have we forgotten how to get to the closing table withut being a drama queen???

Nov 30, 2021 04:39 PM
John Meussner

Thanks Dorie!  I Agree - - I've always found it best when we all agree buyer wants to buy, seller wants to sell, and we do what we can to make the process as easy as we can for them : )

Nov 30, 2021 05:06 PM
Mike Cooper, Broker VA,WV
Cornerstone Business Group Inc - Winchester, VA
Your Neighborhood Real Estate Sales Pro

I'm with you, John. We just had this last week. The listing agent changed the closing date that was short anyway, and she changed the buyer's closing agent. I told her our lender thought he could meet the new deadline, but he wasn't sure the appraiser could make the deadline. I asked why on the different closing agent, she said was because her client didn't want to drive. The buyers closing agent is 20 miles from his house. Everything is 20 miles from his house. My buyers walked away.

Nov 30, 2021 04:46 PM
John Meussner

Sounds pretty annoying!  Certainly can't change that type of stuff after the contract's been signed!

Nov 30, 2021 05:07 PM
Kathy Streib
Cypress, TX
Home Stager/Redesign

Hi John- I may not be an agent but I've bought and sold enough homes to know that you don't have to put undue pressure on everyone so why do it!  

Nov 30, 2021 07:23 PM
John Meussner

I think some people like to be the star of the show, always playing hardball and barking orders so they can say "look how fast I got this done!" - when it's entirely unnecessary.  Thanks for commenting, Kathy : )

Dec 01, 2021 08:33 AM
Michael Jacobs
Pasadena, CA
Los Angeles Pasadena 818.516.4393

Hello John - your post made me think of a conversation I had with Jon Kolsky just prior to the Pandemic Shutdown of 2020 where we discussed the "power of pause" on a scale much larger than what was starting to happen but more viral than what would soon follow.   That certainly seems valid in the past,  true then and definitely appropriate  now.  In fact, "always" comes to mind when better understanding of situations is needed.  

Dec 01, 2021 05:44 AM
Michael Jacobs


John Meussner - it would be rare for me to let a pun "escape".  😃

Dec 01, 2021 08:52 AM
John Meussner

More 'viral'?  Pun intended?  Yes, stopping to pause, take a breath, and have some empathy and understanding is vital to long term success : )

Dec 01, 2021 08:34 AM
Jon Kolsky

Michael Jacobs ~ I think the key is not to be "REACTIVE"... It's a great point to hit home (and John does it perfectly). Staying relaxed, confident, and implementing a little empathy is a great path. Whether in life or business, keeping a cool head should prevail best!😎

Dec 01, 2021 10:26 AM
Dorte Engel
RE/MAX Leading Edge - Bowie, MD
ABC - Annapolis, Bowie, Crofton & rest of Maryland

Dear John,

For many reasons, things take longer anyhow right now. More people are out sick, all wonderfully improved softwares do not work the way they should and delay things instead, everyone is dealing with things that no longer click along, such as the babysitter not showing up, the handyman putting things off again, etc, etc. Lots of stress going around already. No need for us to make it worse by being unrealistic.

Dec 01, 2021 07:04 AM
John Meussner

All very true and very good points, Dorte Engel  --- the software one is a huge headache and reminds me of content for another blog!! Have a great day!

Dec 01, 2021 08:35 AM
Michael Jacobs

John Meussner - it would be rare for me to let a pun "escape".  😃

Dec 01, 2021 08:50 AM
Matt Brady
Watermark Capital - Del Mar, CA
One of San Diego's Best Lenders

Hi John,

As always, well written and had excellent points. Given our lack of control of appraisal turn times, shortened contingencies make even less sense. I was asked the first week of November if we could shorten contingencies and close in 21 days. My response was, sure if there was not a 4-day holiday during the same period. I think offers should be written with business days as the standard.

Dec 01, 2021 09:49 AM
Mike McCann - Nebraska Farm Land Broker
Mike McCann - Broker, Mach1 Realty Farmland Broker-Auctioneer Serving Rural Nebraska - Kearney, NE
Farm Land For Sale 308-627-3700 or 800-241-3940

Taking up to 60 days in central Nebraska for appraisal completion. Unless it is cash and they provide a letter from the Banker on Bank letterhead, anything less than that will be countered.

Dec 01, 2021 10:02 AM
Jeff Dowler, CRS
eXp Realty of California, Inc. - Carlsbad, CA
The Southern California Relocation Dude

Well said, John. There are too many times when agents or their clients are not considering the implications of what they are asking regarding dates.

Seems everyone wants a quick close these days (is it always really necessary?) and with the holidays it just becomes that much more complicated and stressful for the reasons you share. And it might not happen.


Dec 02, 2021 05:20 PM
John Meussner

That's always the big question - is it necessary?  And if not, then why!?

Dec 02, 2021 07:25 PM
Sharon Miller
RE/MAX Platinum - Crane Hill, AL


What a timely message, particularly for our real estate community! Realtors, new and long time, need to reassess the current conditions which exist and modify their behavior as it relates to "the process". The process of making a real estate purchase should not be equated to that of buying a washing machine or television set. Customers and clients need to be made aware of the current conditions which exist. Agents need to educate themselves first, before forging ahead with their next buyer or seller prospect. 

Thanks for sharing with us!

Dec 03, 2021 07:06 AM