It takes a willing buyer and a willing seller.
“It takes a willing buyer and a willing seller to close a transaction,” said my real estate instructor 17 years ago. That sounded obvious then, but I’ve learned otherwise since. There are plenty of ways for sellers and buyers to have a falling out. It’s more likely for buyers to have a change of mind, but sellers are not immune. The likeliest moment for buyers to turn their back is after the home inspection. For a first-time buyer, the inspection report reads like a litany of defects pointing to an impending disaster.
Wikipedia explains that “the fair market value is the price at which the property would change hands between a willing buyer and a willing seller, neither being under any compulsion to buy or to sell and both having reasonable knowledge of relevant facts.”
This story is about buying a new home and selling the old one.
Inspection, time of defection? No longer a willing buyer?
My last listing was very popular. Non-stop traffic at the open house and two full-price offers in quick succession. We accepted the second and canceled the Sunday open house. The inspection took place that same Sunday. With a full-price and accepted offer in hand from a buyer who was pre-approved for substantially more, what could go wrong? Plenty, it turned out.
After the inspection, the first-time buyer made outsized monetary demands which my client rejected out of hand. In our opinion, the summary of the inspection report provided by the buyer did not justify the demands. We countered with a list of repairs the seller was willing to make. We were miles apart. Perhaps we no longer had a willing buyer. The experienced agent for the buyer who has seen her share of inspection reports knew that our position was the reasonable one. In the end, she could not prevail on her client who rescinded the transaction at the last possible minute. My client was not amused. It looked like there were two losers.
Time is of the essence.
Likewise, timing is of the essence. With the rescission signed by both parties, I changed the status of the listing back to active. I immediately informed all other agents who had expressed interest in the home. I provided them with the written list of repairs the seller was willing to make and their promise to carry out those repairs post haste. We also amended the Seller Disclosure to reflect conditions that now were known facts.
When a listing status changes from pending back to active, the trajectory is usually downhill. The way to stop it is with full speed and total transparency. The day of the mutual rescission, I conferred with eight agents with calls, emails, and text messages. By 10 pm, the likely next and better offer started to take shape. The next morning, I woke up to an offer above list price and without an inspection contingency.
Buy, then sell, if you can.
All told, the home was on the market as an active listing for three days. My client lost time working with the first buyer but was rewarded with a better offer and a transaction that closed without a hitch. Fact is, we were under some time pressure. With my help, the same client had purchased a home below asking price a few months earlier. At the right price, and below listing price, my client was a willing buyer. The home was an unexpected find. It met all their needs for years to come. The opportunity to purchase it was there and so they did.
Emojis keep me young.
Working with clients for several months, you get to know them, and they get to know you. The many means of communications at our fingertips offer opportunities for miscues. It was always important to listen; now it’s important to read between the lines of text(ing). Using emojis well and cleverly helps. They can inject levity and diffuse tension.
From learning how to set type by hand to texting and social media, I’ve come a long way. I love working with young people and learn their ways. I also can teach them a thing or two. Especially if you are a baby boomer, I invite you to follow me on Instagram. Following is a link to a video featuring my clients with their delightful daughter. Don’t turn off the sound. She knows something!
First published by Gerhard as his April 2019 View from the Street Newsletter.