Well…..I had a crazy, frustrating, comical, sad thing happen to me this week. I got a verbal offer on one of my listings. We finally worked out the blanks in the contract with the plan that the buyer would sign it the next morning since he was out of town. I never like to do things this way, but I try to be as accommodating as possible in a market with too many listings and too few buyers.
If any agents are reading this, they probably already know where this is heading…….The signed offer never came. I was nervous about it from the get go, but gave them the benefit of the doubt. Not much else I could do since we didn’t have any other offers coming. When I got an email from the buyer’s agent saying it would not be the morning, but evening, it was already starting to smell rotten. Then evening turned into the next morning. At that point the agent told me some stuff that made me think there was more going on than just the deal of buying a house.
And that got me thinking about all the drama that can happen in a real estate deal….I mean, after all, there are lots of TV shows about it!
To me, being a good agent means you have to be 1% appraiser, 1% home inspector, 1% lawyer, 1% architect, 1% loan officer and 95% counselor. You need to know how to comfort people and help them work through their fears, anger, resentment, misconceptions, etc to get them to their own goal of getting a deal closed.
Here are some typical feelings people bring into their real estate deals:
1) Just about every first time home buyer I have ever had seems to withdrawal for a couple of days right before they are ready to sign an offer. When I was a new agent, this totally freaked me out and I was calling them all the time leaving messages for them. Now I know it is going to happen and when they seem to have dropped off the face of the earth, I know they are about 48 hours from a decision. It is a very big step for them, and one they need to be mentally prepared for before they can take it.
2) Since the market has slowed, I am seeing all kinds of buyers moving here who have not only lost 20% or more of their equity in their last house, but also were mentally pistol whipped by a buyer who was drunk with power. These people are very bitter not only about the loss, but mad as heck at the buyer who they had to play “Simon Says” with. Naturally, they think it is their turn to get the bargain they had to give…..but the Lexington market just isn’t like that. It takes a while for them to realize that our market didn’t take that big of a hit, and that typically houses sell for pretty near the asking price. I guess most of that is just because the realtor culture here just does it that way. Other places it is the norm to instantly knock 10% off the asking price. You have to give these out of town buyers lots of statistical data and show them the comps. They have to come to that realization themselves, it can’t be forced.
3) There are the sellers of today. Many were at the mercy of the seller when they bought in a hot market, and now they are still on the losing side of the deal. It is like a double whammy to them to be a buyer in a seller’s market and a seller in a buyer’s market.
4) Then you have the heartbreaking sellers. These are the ones that have lost a job, are getting divorced, have lost a spouse, or are selling their parents home.
Basically, with the economy and the national housing market of the past few years, most real estate deals now involve a lot of fear, concern, stress, anger and just about any other bad vibe.
So, what was my advice to the agent who has the MIA buyer for my listing? I told him to give them some room. A dozen voice mails isn’t going to accomplish anything other than prolonging whatever it is they need to work through. I know he wants to know what is going to happen right now, but if he pushes them, they will not only totally walk away from my listing but also from him as their agent. If we give them some room to catch their breath, they may come around in a day or two and everything will be just fine….in the meanwhile, my seller and I hope somebody else will come along and buy his house…..maybe some body with less baggage.