There is no question real estate can be a complicated profession. As an Agent you have to be a perceptive consultant, a cautious critic, you must be a good listener, and exhibit a lot of patience.
When you are representing the seller, you have to excel at helping them present their property in the best possible way.
If you are representing the buyer, you have to help them locate the best homes and negotiate a fair deal.
Each of these roles requires a set of skills that do not necessarily come naturally. Sometimes the clients act in ways that are different from how I might act.
But what happens when the buyer – or in this case buyers – are not in agreement with what they want? If the agent tries to please one partner, the other is unhappy. It puts the agent in no win situation.
I know that I am not alone when I say it happened to me. Any agent who has been in the business for more than a few years has encountered it. But it is a situation we need to avoid.
In my case, one partner was ready to retire. They wished to relocate to an active adult community here in the Phoenix metro. The other wasn’t as sure but was willing to look at homes and evaluate their new lifestyle.
On the surface, their criteria seemed simple. A mid-sized home with good bones and a livable floorplan. If the home needed updating or minor repairs that were okay because they had ideas on how they wanted the house to look after purchase. Both were handy and had experience with remodels, so the value was more important than perfection.
After touring several nice homes that seemed to meet their needs, one partner added additional criteria to the wish list that made the search more difficult.
After resetting their search parameters, we toured several homes that met the new standard. During the showings, several other provisos were added. Not wishes, but demands.
Based on the new parameters we found a house that seemed to check all the boxes. Partner 1 was thrilled, partner 2 agreed to make an offer and the sale progressed. Partner 2 returned home leaving partner 1 to finalize the transaction.
The transaction proceeded as normal through escrow, inspections, repairs, and re-inspection. It seemed all systems go.
As the closing date rolled around partner 2 began to question their choice. At the final walkthrough, partner 2 began to find issues with not only the home but the entire idea of relocation.
The day before closing partner 2 informed me they would not be closing. “The deal is off.”
Partner 1 looked to me for help. It wasn’t my job to convince them that Arizona was their future.
My job went from real estate sales to damage control. I had to do my best to negotiate them out of the deal. Which I did at the cost of a sale and a commission that I should have earned but would not collect. We always hear that real estate sales should be a win-win. This deal turned out to be a lose-lose for all the parties.
In the end, I did all I could. The buyers were not on the same page and I became the man in the middle.
I probably should have asked for an upfront retainer fee, but it is not common in Arizona and hindsight is always 20/20. Suing for the lost commission may have cost more than the award.
It became one of those experiences you try not to talk about but can’t forget.