All Things Real Estate: Buyers are liars, sellers are yellers and lawyers are destroyers!

Philip A Raices

Seriously, my headline isn’t meant to insult or be condescending, but I am quite sure everyone, including myself, has experienced one or more of these situations during their real estate careers and, if not, you will! It’s not that buyers, sellers and attorneys do this purposely (sometimes, yes they do), but we are all prone to saying things that we don’t necessarily mean and  things happen.

I don’t believe buyers lie purposely as they may not want to hurt our feelings and tell us the truth for a number of reasons. The truth really does hurt sometimes, and for “newbies” (new agents) it can be stressful and depressing. Maybe they’re not happy with your services, so to save face, they candy coat their responses to make it easy for us to digest, because just maybe, we cannot handle the truth and constructive criticism?

Other times they have decided to work with someone else or several agents, changed their mind, dropped out of the market, etc. But there are times that your buyer says they’re qualified, but in reality, they most definitely are not! The bottom line is properly qualifying them on the first phone call and asking the most pertinent questions, especially if it is a co-op. When they don’t have a pre-approval letter from their lender, my antennae begins to emerge, or you determine that the necessary income, credit and debt/income ratios are deficient.

What’s worse, their credentials are way out in left field; even though they have a lender’s letter, you know that they won’t pass a co-op board. Moreover their information is a bit sketchy and you are having second thoughts about even working with them. However, either way, one must leave a good taste in the client’s mouth, no matter what the situation is, so they will feel that you guided them in the proper fashion, were candid, up front and transparent in the way you handled them. This way when they are ready they hopefully will come back to you, but only if you periodically stay in touch with them, which the majority of agents do not.

Referrals can also come into play, even when they initially don’t purchase but were happy with your services. Lastly, one must know those crucial qualifications in order to calculate if they are a viable client who will earn you a living and if not, one must move to your “next client.”

Now sellers are another breed unto themselves. There are those who do understand and accept what we show them in our analysis as to where to price their homes. They accept our professional advice and our guidance and opinions that we share with them in a straightforward manner. Then there are those special homeowners who truly believe that they know more than those top 10 percent of brokers and agents who are professional, experienced and top producers.

But again, most agents aren’t in that latter category and, unfortunately, ruin it for us more qualified brokers and agents, sometimes creating a wall between us and the sellers, because of the sellers’ prior bad experiences. They sometimes give us a blanket label as “used car salespeople.”

But there are homeowners who want to price their homes above where the real market is selling, and the complete opposite of where your comparative market analysis shows and explains in detail. You then have to decide to either take the listing, explaining to the seller about eventually adjusting the price if no offers are presented or just passing on it. Overpricing only assists and aids your neighbors’ homes to sell as buyers ricochet off your “overpriced home” to purchase theirs.

What can one expect when it takes only 75 hours to earn one’s real estate license to get that valuable piece of paper and then be fortunate enough to represent the average homeowner’s most valuable asset? It can be a bit scary and one should have trepidations, when hiring a newly hatched green agent.

Those classes only teach you how to pass the state exam and have little relevance in guiding you in how to earn a living and properly conduct your business in the most professional and expert fashion. That is each individual agent’s responsibility and job in combination with their Broker’s training.

My last topic, lawyers, is my favorite. The reason is that my experiences run near and far in dealing with the “legal” entities that assist us in creating and reading contracts and handling the legal details. However, there are times when sellers hire those who have limited experience in, let’s say, co-op sales or do not practice real estate as a full-time profession. Sometimes they multi-task in various categories of law.

More important is when negotiations are finalized, financials, offering plans and amendments are gathered for the buyer’s attorney to peruse. All of sudden the deal changes as one attorney throws a “monkey wrench” in the transaction, because it maybe their friend and they feel the deal is not in their best interest. I have experienced this firsthand. Our job is to find a buyer, negotiate and come to a meeting of the minds. The real estate attorney’s job is to either read financials, offering plans and amendments and make up a contract or go over it and iron out any details to come to a satisfactory agreement with the buyer’s or seller’s attorney.

Also, to order the title search to make sure there are no clouds or issues w/the legal position of the home, whether it be permits, fines or leans. However, there are times when both attorneys want to be the winner in the wording of the contract and this unfortunate stalemate can cause the failure of the transaction. But normally most transactions go through more smoothly because a mindset of win/win is shared by both attorneys and they are on the same page throughout the sale. They realize that there are two important parties that they represent who depend on them in being professional, keeping level heads and working things out to become deal makers and not deal breakers. It’s not only good business, but smart business in the short and long term, benefiting everyone to come to a happy ending.

Philip A. Raices is the owner/Broker of Turn Key Real Estate at 3 Grace Ave Suite 180 in Great Neck.

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