The Fatal “Wish List”

Some Agents get it.  Some don’t.  It doesn’t seem to matter how long you’ve been in business, you either have common sense or you don’t . . . but that seems to be true of life.

My husband and I had restored a beautiful Victorian in Downtown Colorado Springs near Colorado College.  We had gotten a good deal in purchasing the house from a friend, restored it to a Grand Dame, and put it back on the market at a price that we knew would move it in a hurry.  AND we listed it with a Realtor friend of mine, so I was NOT THE LISTING AGENT.

One of the things about selling homes that you personally own, sometimes you are fortunate enough to select the person you want to live in your ‘labor of love.’  Such was the case with this home when I had three offers immediately upon listing.  Deciding to think about the offers, I walked over to this house that was on the block where I lived and worked in the yard, and I pondered.

A young woman walked by and struck up a conversation.  She desperately wanted a house like this, and I mentioned that it had gone on the market that very day and that we already had three offers on it.  She told me she was working with a Realtor, one whom I had known for years (but who wasn’t necessarily the brightest bulb in the marquee).  She mentioned that she was prequalified for more than what we were asking, and was it too late to put in an offer?

After an hour of showing her around and her falling absolutely in love with the property, I told her to have her Realtor call me and that would see what we could work out.  I explained that we had until the following morning to respond to the offers, so if she wanted to offer, I would wait to make a final decision.  On Cloud Nine, she excitedly told me she would have an offer to us that evening.

When her Realtor called, it was explained AGAIN that we had three EXCELLENT offers, and that we would give this girl preferential consideration (that was my prerogative as the homeowner) if she brought us a CLEAN offer because the three on the table were all acceptable.

Imagine my heartache when the offer came in not only $20,000 BELOW ASKING PRICE, but also with a WISH LIST of a dozen REMODELING ITEMS that they wanted us to do (French doors! A new deck! A new cabinet in the bathroom!)  I was shocked and so sad for this girl who wanted this home so desperately and had been looking for so long, but there was no way that we would accept that offer.  We, of course, went under contract with one of the others.

Several days later she again found me at the property.  She was despondent that she had lost out on her ‘perfect home,’ and said that she couldn’t sleep at night for her grief.  I asked her why they had made the offer they had, that I had told her repeatedly that they needed to come in ‘clean.’  She said she had told her Realtor that (as had I, as had my Agent).  She said that her Realtor said that it was her first home purchase, and that she should ask for her “WISH LIST” since she would be living there for a long time.

WHO DOES THINGS LIKE THAT?  Not only did it strike me that Realtors are not created equal, but that we need to be smart and work FOR OUR CLIENTS, not the “we’ve always done it this way” mentality.  But, it is situations like this that help to make ME a better Realtor . . . learning things NOT TO DO.

By Mimi Foster

About the Author

Mimi has received the honor of being voted one of Colorado Springs' Best Realtors five years in a row. With over two decades of experience, she is committed to making the home buying/selling process as easy and enjoyable as possible. Read Full Bio…

Helping buy and sell homes throughout Colorado Springs,
Old Colorado City, Manitou Springs, and surrounding areas




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