Do you Take Prisoners Along the Way?

By
Services for Real Estate Pros with Escrowcoord.com

PrisonerYou know the type, every bit of information or update you give this team member, they blow it out of proportion looking for reasons for an issue to go south and cause a disaster.

 Listen, I believe in Karma. If you're the type with a vivid imagination and worry about issues that are simply not there, they will somehow develop along the way due to your negative vibe.

 The bottom line is team players can negotiate a contract to death and never come up with terms that protect the buyer or seller from every possible scenario.

 My broker hubby always says, "We have to remember as agents it's about what our clients want out of the transaction. The seller wants to sell and the buyer wants to buy. Our job is to negotiate and facilitate the goal of a successful transaction that's hopefully in the best interest of both the seller and buyer."

 I can't agree more! Several weeks ago I was working on a somewhat challenging transaction. The buyer and seller were not the problem but the other AGENT representing the buyer was.

 The agent was extremely diligent protecting his buyers--from what? I'm not sure! As a result, his addenda (and there were plenty of them) were convoluted with lots of legal terms that contradicted themselves. Being a somewhat neutral third party (Transaction Coordinator), I attempted to decipher, but it was simply not clear!

 Now I don't claim to be a genius on contract law but I do know a clearly written addendum when I see one! And isn't that what it's about? That all parties, especially the buyer and seller are able to understand the terms?

 A half hour plus several questions later, I finally got the intent of the addendum. Unfortunately, by using impressive legal language and lengthy explanations, the agent created a huge potential problem with termite repairs, thus creating more harm than good for his clients!

 Now my hubby Steve and I are not in the business of taking prisoners along the way, and this agent was SO difficult to work with, we let the slip go and worked around it so that his clients wouldn't get burned!

 My point to this story is that the more you mess around with the terms of any contract and try to cover every conceivable possibility to protect your client, the more you leave your client open to the other 1000's of possibilities you did not consider-not to mention putting the other agent and client on the defensive!

 Keep the contract and terms clear. Focus on the things you can control and let the pieces fall in place as you proceed through the contingency and inspection timeframes. Although there are an infinite number of potential scenarios, we must go with the flow of client's wants and needs and address challenges as they arise.  

Comments (28)

Diane Bell, Hilton Head Real Estate, Bluffton
Charter 1 Real Estate, Hilton Head, Bluffton, SC - Hilton Head Island, SC

One of my pet peeves in working with other Realtors is when they speak for the seller or buyer without even conferring with them. 

Sep 03, 2008 10:34 AM
Diana Turnbloom
Escrowcoord.com - Martinez, CA
The Leading Expert in TC Services & Education

Carey! Now that's what I'm talkin' about! Keep it simple. Here's another trick. DISCUSS prior to writing what you plan on putting on the addendum with the other agent, especially if it's complicated so you both are in somewhat agreement with the terms. Prevents a lot of dumb dumb countering! Thanks for your comment!

Sep 03, 2008 10:35 AM
Diana Turnbloom
Escrowcoord.com - Martinez, CA
The Leading Expert in TC Services & Education

Kevin! Hysterical point! Sometimes I baffle myself with my own bull#$$% and talk myself right out of the loop! You know what I always say, "What Would Judge Judy Say?" Thanks for your comment!

Sep 03, 2008 10:37 AM
Diana Turnbloom
Escrowcoord.com - Martinez, CA
The Leading Expert in TC Services & Education

Russ, Ah yes the coveted addendum. Only the super intelligent are allowed to understand the incredible knowledge the great author of the piece had to share! Thanks for your comment!

Sep 03, 2008 10:41 AM
Diana Turnbloom
Escrowcoord.com - Martinez, CA
The Leading Expert in TC Services & Education

Mana! KISS baby. You are so right! Thanks for your comment!

Sep 03, 2008 10:41 AM
Diana Turnbloom
Escrowcoord.com - Martinez, CA
The Leading Expert in TC Services & Education

Paul-In this case, the agent had taken some sort of commercial law class which apparently opened up a whole can of worms in his mind. As we all know, residential real estate is not so "cut throat." And your so right, some agents believe they are doing a good job if they argue and try to negotiate every point. To them it's not about win-win. It's about win-lose. Now THAT'S taking prisoners! Thanks for your comment!

Sep 03, 2008 10:45 AM
Diana Turnbloom
Escrowcoord.com - Martinez, CA
The Leading Expert in TC Services & Education

OK Lorena, Obviously there's some sort of smart pill that's distributed around Michigan. Can I have some too? ABSOLUTELY BRILLIANT IDEA! It's like Clauses for Dummies. I'm keeping that idea in the back of my head! Thanks for your comment.

Sep 03, 2008 10:49 AM
Diana Turnbloom
Escrowcoord.com - Martinez, CA
The Leading Expert in TC Services & Education

Diane! Yeah, yeah! And you can tell because there is no way a buyer or seller could even think up in a million years the terms the agent is giving you. I made a similar mistake many years ago, assuming I knew what our client wanted. It wasn't the case AT ALL! Now, I always ask! Thanks for your comment!

Sep 03, 2008 10:52 AM
Connie Betz
Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Ambassador Real Estate - Omaha, NE
Top Omaha Realtor - Omaha Homes for Sale

I agree with keep it simple.  I had a similiar contract where I think the (new) agent was trying to impress her buyer with the language.  If she had just written it the way she explained it to me, it would have saved DAYS!

Sep 03, 2008 11:38 AM
Sally K. & David L. Hanson
EXP Realty 414-525-0563 - Brookfield, WI
WI Real Estate Agents - Luxury - Divorce

The famous legal ego got in the way of direct communication....ah yes...and I bet you can hardly wait to work with him again...if only agents would begin to understand the damage they do beyond that transaction when they attempt to make things unnecessarily complicated.

Sep 03, 2008 01:21 PM
Missy Caulk
Missy Caulk TEAM - Ann Arbor, MI
Savvy Realtor - Ann Arbor Real Estate

I've had one of those recently, it was a doozer by an experienced agent, she kept trying to deal with the addendum and I said, "listen, let's come to terms on price" first, then we'll work out all this other nit picken stuff. She finally got it and we are closing the 26th.

Sep 03, 2008 10:06 PM
Russell Lewis
Realty Austin, Austin Texas Real Estate - Austin, TX
Broker,CLHMS,GRI

"The seller wants to sell and the buyer wants to buy."

And we need to assist our clients while removing our own ego form the transaction. Thanks you for the relevant post!

Sep 04, 2008 02:16 AM
Richard Lecinski
Long Realty Company - Oro Valley, AZ

Clear and simple is the way it should be and everyone wins.

Sep 04, 2008 02:46 AM
Frank & Jodi Orlando
Frank & Jodi Orlando Get Us A Home Realty Atlanta Homes Sale - Cumming, GA

Diana - Yes, sometimes this can get out of hand and time consuming. Even worse is some offices have a looooong addendum that they always copy and paste to all contracts, drives me NUTS!

Sep 04, 2008 02:50 AM
Diana Turnbloom
Escrowcoord.com - Martinez, CA
The Leading Expert in TC Services & Education

Connie! You hit the nail on the head. I wonder if some agents have a belief system that it should take endless days and counters to negotiate? A really great contract that benefits both buyer and seller CAN be put together quickly. Just because a deal goes smoothly does NOT mean we as agents are not doing our job! Thanks for the comment!

Sep 04, 2008 03:26 AM
Diana Turnbloom
Escrowcoord.com - Martinez, CA
The Leading Expert in TC Services & Education

Sally and David! Good point! A great team must have open and direct communication. It solves a mulitude of problems up front before killing trees excessively with addenda, AND it prevents the shock factor from the recipient of the mumbo jumbo! Thanks for your comment!

Sep 04, 2008 03:30 AM
Diana Turnbloom
Escrowcoord.com - Martinez, CA
The Leading Expert in TC Services & Education

Mornin' Missy! I'm surprised an experienced agent would have the energy to negotiate like this! Your right, it's a waste of time to argue finer points of the contract if you haven't come to an agreement with the biggie-THE PRICE! Thanks for your comment!

Sep 04, 2008 03:33 AM
Diana Turnbloom
Escrowcoord.com - Martinez, CA
The Leading Expert in TC Services & Education

Russell! A lesson all of us should receive when we first get our license. A license to facilitate, not "ego-tiate"! Thanks for your comment!

Sep 04, 2008 03:35 AM
Diana Turnbloom
Escrowcoord.com - Martinez, CA
The Leading Expert in TC Services & Education

Richard, My Man! You are VERY smart. It IS about win-win! Why do some people feel the need to take prisoners along the way? With a willing buyer and seller, compromise is the key to closing the transaction. Thanks for your comment!

Sep 04, 2008 03:37 AM
Diana Turnbloom
Escrowcoord.com - Martinez, CA
The Leading Expert in TC Services & Education

Frank and Jodi, Ooo, do not get me started on broker addenda that were obviously written up by an attorney (no offense real estate attorneys!) who has no idea what we deal with and how we work in real estate land. There have been times where we advise our client not to sign, because it puts them in a vulnerable position. Hey, I may be dumb, but I'm not stupid! Thanks for our comment!

Sep 04, 2008 03:41 AM