Dancing with the Stars? No, Dancing with Realtors (who have two left feet!)

Sometimes I feel like I’m the professional dancer on “Dancing with the Stars” who gets paired with somebody who just can’t dance.  No matter what you do, you’re in a tough spot since you are limited by your partners ability.  It is the same way when working with another realtor as you dance to the closing table together.

I recently had a deal where my buyers made a decent offer on a house.  To sweeten the pot, we decided to check the inspection paragraph that said we had so many days to do a home inspection and would either stay in the contract or give written notice that we wanted out of the contract depending on the inspection results.  We would not ask for any repairs at all.  I like to do this sometimes if the buyer is wanting to get the lowest price possible or if they want to have control of the quality of the repairs and can do them after we close.

I gave the offer to this agent, and told her we had checked what is commonly called “Box 2” for the home inspection.  At that point, the listing agent tells me that the seller will do any major repairs that need done.  (I found that odd……kind of like playing poker and announcing you only have a pair of twos right before the other player places their bet.)

Turns out the house needed a new furnace and the typical laundry list of minor stuff you see on just about any inspection report.  My clients decided not to take the house.  The sellers offered to first pay for half a new furnace, then a whole new one.  My people decided they still didn’t want the house. 

When I called the listing agent to tell her that we wouldn’t be taking the house, she told me she didn’t see how we could get out of the contract.   She said it with a tone like she was a hunter who had just trapped an animal.  Trying to be nice, since you never know when you’ll work with the same agent again, I asked what made her think that?  She told me that since the seller was willing to replace the furnace, we didn’t have a legitimate way to get out of the contract.    I reminded her that we checked “Box 2” for the inspection paragraph on the contract.  She agreed with that.  At this point, I am wondering why we are both using the same part of the contract to justify opposing positions.  Well, that is an easy question to answer.  She has never actually read “Box 2” of the contract.  She told me she thought “Box 2” meant that if the seller agreed to fix anything major, the buyer couldn’t walk away.  I was driving at the time (glad my car has Bluetooth), but I pretty much quoted her what “Box 2” said from memory while merging on the interstate……see, I’ve read the contract.

So, here I was trying to dance with somebody who didn’t even know she had feet.  I totally feel for her clients because how could they have known the terms that they agreed to if their own realtor didn’t??  FYI, that contract is the same one that all 2000+ realtors who are LBAR members use and has been for as long as I can remember, so it isn’t like she has an excuse for never having actually read it.  If you ever have a chance to interview agents, ask if they have read the contract.  If there is ever a problem in a real estate deal, any broker, mediator or judge are going to use the terms everybody agreed to when settling a dispute……so it is pretty important!

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