This post is being submitted for the March 2023 ActiveRain Challenge: March to a Solution. The goal is to write about a scenario that could come up during a real estate transaction and how we might resolve the issue.
My first post has to do with making assumptions on how a transaction will turn out or on how a client might respond. For example:
Scenario #1: Low Appraisal
In a transaction where I represented the seller, the appraisal came in lower than the contracted price. This happens all over the country on a daily basis and isn't unusual. There are four ways to address a low appraisal: the seller comes down to the appraised price, the buyer puts in the additional money to fill the appraisal gap, the seller and buyer meet somewhere in the middle, or the deal is terminated.
In this case the appraised value came in 10% below the contracted price, so it was a significant gap (a review of the appraisal indicates the appraiser did a great job - long story which can't be shared about why the appraisal was so far below the contract price). So the appraisal price stood. The buyers indicated they could not come up with additional funds to fill the gap and they wanted the seller to come down in price. The seller refused to budge on the contracted amount. At that point I assumed this deal was dead and we'd have to start again. What I did NOT do was to give voice to my feelings. I did not prepare any termination paperwork. Instead, I went back to the buyer agent and calmly described the issue. She told me to hang on, she'd get back to me.
After some back and forth between all parties, the response I totally assumed would NOT happen did. The buyer made up the entire difference and the deal closed successfully on time.
Scenario #2: The House
I have had many experiences where I've gone into a house with a buyer and I assumed "Ick, they won't want to live here!" and lo and behold, they do. Or the reverse is true. On paper a house is exactly what the buyers described as their perfect new home. We walk in and I assume this is the one they will buy. They do not want it. What I don't do is to give voice to my feelings/ assumptions. Instead I ask what they think. The answers are sometimes surprising.
Scenario #3: The Clients
Assuming we know how our clients feel is never a good strategy.
For example, I worked with a couple and I assumed we had a great relationship going. I understood their needs, we went to see some homes, clarified needs and went out again. Our sense of humors were a match and we were often laughing while working towards their ultimate home. They left one day after a showing never to be seen or heard from again. I had assumed they would get to the closing with me and I'd hand over keys to my happy clients. That did not happen, nor did they ever respond to me, nor did they ever buy a home in my area. Being one of my first clients, that was a real eye opener.
Another example of assuming we know how people feel. I worked with another couple to purchase a home, and I felt we had a very professional relationship but not a particularly friendly one. I answered their questions, provided assistance and guidance, and we closed successfully with promises to talk soon. Very shortly after that closing, I received an invitation for my husband and I to come to dinner at their new home. I wasn't even sure what we would talk about, because we really didn't know that much about each other. So we went over with a little trepidation. We had an amazing evening full of laughter and that started off a bunch of back & forth meals and outings. Those clients who I assumed didn't really care for a personal relationship recently came to visit us in Montana and will be back again.
And the final one is one many of us have run into. Years ago I visited a friend's grown daughter multiple times to give her input on things to do to her home to prepare it for sale and we talked about price at one point. My friend (her dad) was also part of those discussions and I was to be notified as soon as the house was ready to go. Imagine my surprise a few weeks later when I drove around a corner and saw another agents' sign in front of her house. It wound up she didn't like my price and went with someone who believed in her price. After multiple price reductions it sold at the price I originally gave her. The surprise I felt was because I assumed I had that listing and I did not.
We all know that making assumptions can lead us in a heap of trouble but we all do it from time to time. And the real takeaway (the how we can resolve the issue) is to never act on those assumptions. Keep those assumptions in your brain and do more investigation to see what the facts are. Don't say "Yuck, this house is gross" if you think so, or "No" if you're invited to dinner with previous clients. Don't fill out paperwork based on your assumption on how a deal will go or how a buyer or seller might react. Just stay in touch with the facts.
This is my first entry into the March 2023 ActiveRain challenge. Thank you for reading if you made it this far!
Bob "RealMan" Timm - they happen to all of us!