From the time I first got my license, I realized the importance of making friends with the Realtor community. Because I am a firm believer that it is Realtors who sell houses, I nurture these relationships and enjoy the camaraderie of people who understand the day-to-day difficulties of good markets and bad. But I am not so naïve to believe that there are not unethical Realtors out there.
I had a client who was looking for a property on the block where he lived. His in-laws would come to visit for months at a time, and they wanted a house from which they could walk to spend time with the grandkids. Having sold many homes to this family previously, we had a solid relationship. So when the sign went up across the street from them, Mr. Client had no problem picking up the phone, telling the other Agent that they had a Buyer Agency with Mimi, and he just wanted to know what the price was.
Naive to the wiles of less-than-honorable Agents, before too long it had been ascertained that the Buyers would pay cash, that they could close within two weeks, and Wiley Realtor had convinced him he could save them $30,000 off the list price if they didn’t use me! Feeling guilty but lured, they made the offer – which turned out was now OVER FULL PRICE because Wiley Realtor was leading the lambs to slaughter, and convinced them that there were several other offers, and if they didn’t act right now and submit an offer over asking price, they would lose the chance. He wrote the offer, representing the Seller, and Under Contract they went.
Feeling guilty and disheartened, untrusting but not knowing what to do now that they were ‘trapped,’ they proceeded. The Seller would not agree to fix anything as a result of the inspection – thousands of dollars worth of repairs. Still, they proceeded because the location of the house was of most importance, and Client and father-in-law were handy with tools. They were smart enough to demand a walk-thru of the vacant property the day prior to closing, and found the sprinkler system had burst some time earlier, and the lower level of the home was standing in eight inches of water.
The furnace, the water heater, the washer and dryer, all standing in ankle-deep water – water that continued to pour in from the broken pipes. The drywall had wicked the water up to about waist height. No problem, says Wiley Realtor. He knows a guy with a Rinse and Vac that can come right over and get the pipes shut down and suck this water right out of here and still make it in time for closing this afternoon at 3:00!
Finally, the severity of their situation hit them, and they swallowed their pride and called to tell me what had transpired up to this point. They begged for assistance to get them out of the mess they freely admitted was of their own making. We signed a current Buyer Agency agreement at that point so I could step in as their representative.
Our Contracts allow for a Buyer to terminate if there is damage done to a home that cannot be remedied by time of closing. Obviously there was no way that repairs could be completed prior to 3:00 that day. I phoned Wiley Realtor, informed him I had a current Buyer Agency with the Client and I was stepping in to represent them, that I had faxed him a Termination Notice, and that we would pick up our Earnest Money at 9:00 am next morning. He called me some scathing names, telling me he would not pay me for representing the Buyers, that he would not let the Buyers out of their Contract, that they had better be at closing this afternoon ‘or else,’ and that under no circumstances would they ever release the earnest money to us. Then he hung up on me. The phone rang several moments later, and Wiley thought to bully me by letting me know that his Broker was his best friend, and that they would never release the earnest money, and he again hung up on me.
Not one to be easily intimidated, I called the ‘best friend’, explained the situation, and told him we would pick up the check at 9:00 am the following morning. Prepared to fight, imagine my (silent) excitement the next morning when I arrived and the check was waiting for me. Client got out of the deal, got their earnest money returned, and it was time to lick wounds. Desperately I wanted to pursue charges against this Agent, but it would have required many, many hours of testifying from my Clients, and several trips to Denver, and they opted not to pursue it.
Since that time, this young couple has purchased multiple properties from me. I thought about them this morning when a friend mentioned in her blog that it is not about the deal, it is about the relationship. And that’s really the moral of the story. I stepped in to help them because of our relationship, but in the end, it’s the relationships that bring the deals.