I lost $10,000 and feel good about it

I blame my dad. I grew up hearing things like “Do the right thing. Period.” “Finish what you start.” “Keep your word.”

So when a For Sale by Owner seller backed out of his promise to pay me a commission if my clients bought his house, I had no choice but to finish the transaction for free.

Here is the background:

Seller says he will pay me. I come view the house with the buyers. We write an offer. Seller wants somebody to review the contract and the document promising to pay me the commission. He then says my people should pay me instead of him.

I could not make my commission turn into a problem that slows down getting the seller’s signatures on the contract. The house was for sale. Somebody else could have come along and bought it. I had to put my people’s interest in buying this place before my interest in making a living. No time to negotiate over it or come up with a backup plan. I also couldn’t ask my people to pay retail for the house and then pay me when that was never the plan from the beginning.

I told the seller to sign the contract and I will take care of my people for free. I had already started the transaction and would not have been able to sleep well if I had walked away just because I was not getting paid. I made a commitment to my people. I have to finish it.

So, I found myself using this story the next morning to tell my two sons things like “Do the right thing. Period.” “Finish what you start.” “Keep your word.”

I only wish the seller’s dad would have told him these things.

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