Not all property sales are easy!

I commented to my selling clients today, how much I was going to miss them when they move. I have grown very fond of this family, during the short time that their home has been listed (sold in 9 days) and during the Escrow period (30 days). They said “Aw, we bet you say that to ALL your sellers!”

Not really!

I had occasion to assist another Realtor with a listing that has left an indelible mark on my psyche resolving to NEVER deal with that kind of seller again!

True, it was the holidays and true, there was a lot of emotion attached to the house for the seller. Anguish, bitterness and a couple of deaths in the family, all led to the crescendo of 48 hours before Close of Escrow.

The agent in question, under her own personal distress, miscalculated the ‘move out’ date – she also did not attend to repairs or termite work, rather taking the sellers word for it that it had been done… it had not and this involved having the house tented after the buyer took occupation. This meant paying for the accommodation of the buyers and family for the three days of tenting. It also involved a credit back to the buyer for repair work not done during Escrow and an incentive of $1,000 to the seller to co-operate. This was not the way I like to see an Escrow progressing, but it was not my listing and I was simply there to help IF needed and IF called.

I was called in 48 hours prior to Close of Escrow, in the thick of the seller shrieking out that she refused to move, threating attornies etc! Huh? I pointed out to her that she had signed the acceptance of the Purchase Offer, agreeing to move out 3 days after Close of Escrow. The trouble was that the Listing Agent had added three days onto the ‘Close of Escrow + 3 days’!

What a mess! The buyer was threatening to sue – the buyers agent was threatening to sue – the seller was refusing to move and threatening to sue and we were caught up right in the middle! The seller said that she didn’t CARE if we all got sued – well I did and I let her know this!

Now I am normally fairly even tempered and I can take a lot, being a patient person, but when I see unfairness and self centeredness, I tend to lose my good nature and I let the seller know that if I had to pack her stuff and move her myself, she WOULD move out according to her own signed agreement!

We started packing her stuff – 30 years of clothing, cosmetics, shoes, memorabilia, family memories, 6 children’s memories and all the stuff they left behind, grandchildren’s incidentals and a deceased parents belongings that the seller just couldn’t part with.

Add to this the fact that the seller was leaving her husband, without a forwarding address and no provision for his care. The man was 82! How do you throw out an 82 year-old spouse without a cent?

There was not one part of this disaster that sat well with me and I certainly did not enjoy those 48 hours. Not the least of which, was dropping a plastic cup which rolled under the fridgerator…. I reached down to retrieve it, when my wedding ring caught the fridgerator door – EXCRUCIATING PAIN!

I rushed for the cold water faucet and as the water ran over my hand, I watched as my finger ballooned around my wedding rings. I knew that something was not right and headed to the nearest Urgent Care. I got about a half mile from the sellers home, when I noticed that my finger had turned black and I stopped into a jeweller who dropped everything, to cut my rings off.

At Urgent Care, X-rays were taken, confirming that my finger was indeed broken in two places ($1,000 bill ensued). While my finger healed, it was a full two months before I could wear wedding rings again and then a full two sizes bigger, to accommodate the now permanently crooked finger – the pleasure of having my rings rebuilt (not reset) was $375.00!

As we continued to pack the sellers things, she walked around supervising, and all she could say about my broken finger was ‘Bad luck!’

Well, we closed on time and the buyer took occupation of their new home. The seller called the next day to ask in which box her sheets were packed….. duh? If she had packed her OWN things, she might have known, right?

This is truly one seller that I will never forget – although I’d LIKE to and although some may say that it comes with the territory, I don’t think so. A professional Realtor will keep his/her eye on the timeline of an Escrow, paying close attention to what needs to be done and when. A professional Realtor KNOWS when Escrow is due to close and works to ensure that it happens on time, liaising closely with the other agent (I should have seen disaster when this agent told me that ‘Escrows that close on time are the exception to the rule and not the norm’ – uh…. I have never had an Escrow that DIDN’T close on time – otherwise, why bother to set a Close date?

A professional Realtor also knows when to ask for assistance when he/she becomes overwhelmed or overcome by personal issues, so that buyer and seller are not affected.

You know, stuff happens and if anything is going to go wrong, it’s going to go wrong during the Escrow period. Things going wrong, is normal – letting it get completely out of hand is not!

Still, that experience taught me a great deal and one of those things is that not all sellers are easy or flexible. Basically, not all sellers WANT to sell! They want their house sold but they don’t want to move or let go and the conflict sets in. It is at times like these that a strong agent is needed – one that can guide the seller to reason.

Make no mistake, having sold my own home this year, I KNOW that selling one’s home is not easy, but as a seller, one must accept that from the moment the Listing Agreement is signed, the home becomes a product – it is no longer the loving home that houses a lifetime of memories… it has become a marketable product and the listing agent spends a small fortune on the marketing.

No more than the Mother cow or chicken comes to the supermarket to tell you that her baby was with them  for X months and now you’re simply wanting to grill its body parts….. do YOU consider the mother cow or chicken or even the baby cow or chick for that matter, when you fire up that bar-b-q? No! It’s a product! No more – no less and it’s part of the cycle of life.

Buying or selling a home is an extremely emotional experience so, when YOU choose to list your home or even buy a home, make sure that you enlist the services of an agent who is not only going to represent you well, but also one who will stand BY you, ensuring that he/she keeps his/her head, when you might be losing yours!

Happy house-hunting!

Althea Garner
The House Of Homes Online


Tags used on this post:
Costa Mesa, for sale, foreclosure, Garden Grove, homes,  Huntington Beach, Long Beach, Newport Beach,  Orange County, property, property deal, real estate, Realtor, Santa Ana, Service Plus, Signal Hill, staging, Westminster, short sale, REO, bank owned,

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