Selling real estate is one of the few careers where on any given day anything is possible. These possibilities are great when it means waking up and getting that unexpected phone call from a buyer who has a pile of cash and needs to find something today.
These phone calls are the holy grail of real estate. If you are lucky the buyer is also an easy to please type who finds exactly what will work for them in only a matter of hours. A regular day can turn into a wonderful day just like that.
Unfortunately, there are also those days when things blow up and fall apart. Just last week I had one of those days. A seller that I had been working with for a few months listed her home with my brokerage and we received multiple offers within a week. She accepted the highest and best offer and we were on the way to getting her home sold.
During the inspection period, the seller, yes, you heard that correctly, the seller decided she did not want to sell. For a variety of reasons, she changed her mind. This is never a good thing, and in fact, had never happened to me before. A seller backing out? Seriously? This was not a great situation, but it was compounded with the fact that the buyer was rather difficult to deal with. Her agent was a super hero and I was impressed with how she dealt with this.
The negotiation for this sale included an argument over curtains that almost killed the entire deal early on. Yes, curtains. My seller cancelled the contract before the buyer inspection period had ended. She had to pay a cancellation fee to my broker and I had to tell the selling agent that the deal was off.
The seller reimbursed the buyer for the cost of the inspection that had taken place the night before she decided not to sell. I felt like that selling agent got the worst of this unfortunate decision because she had to tell her buyer.
It is frustrating when people change their minds and infuriating when it pops up out of the blue. Working with buyers and sellers can be joyful and exciting when the stars align. I have learned over the years that nothing is for sure until I am walking away from the closing with a check in my hand when it comes to a transaction. We have to be resilient, patient, and able to put up with the inherent uncertainty that working with a variety of personalities brings each day.
Real estate professionals have to be thick skinned and able to roll with things as they happen. Sure, I was not happy that my listing was cancelled in mid transaction. I was equally upset when later that same day a buyer I had been working with nonstop for three weeks called to let me know that she was going to buy a For Sale Buy Owner from a friend. Time is money.
Remembering the importance of letting go of the frustration and disappointment when things happen is critical to keeping a positive outlook. We need to recover quickly and remain determined as we move forward. Becoming gun shy and suspicious of working with people who are not sure of what they want to do is not an option.
No matter how professional and accommodating we may be with our clients, the truth is they will decide what they are going to decide and it is our job to do as they ask. Our goal should be to minimize risk where possible and to make sure that we make good decisions about who we choose to work with.
This may not always protect us from all bad outcomes, but it will go a long way to help reduce the odds of it happening. In both of these instances, my gut was uneasy. Neither one of them did anything obvious that would lead me to think that they were not quality clients.
They were demanding and a little flaky. I just got a vibe that these were going to be challenging deals base don their personalities and how they communicated with me. If nothing else, I have learned that listening to my instincts about people saves me more time and money in the end every time.