Where the Realtor Becomes the Client
I’m over this rain. It’s making everyone act like idiots. Today my work-wife and I were almost impaled by an umbrella some doofus was swinging around like Fred Astaire
This Real Estate Family was at the beach this past weekend because we had to finish off one of my crazy ideas from earlier in the summer. Flashback to June, as we are driving out to Rehoboth for our first beach weekend of the season. As soon as we started crossing bridges I said, “I’m in the mood to buy a house.”
“Where?” Real Estate Dad asked. My parents had this condo in Florida when we were little and some of my best memories are sitting there at night, watching bad-Florida-cable and listening to the ocean. I said I’d be open to anywhere as long as we can hear the ocean.
We talked through coastal towns up and down the coast, ruling out places which were fated to be underwater in the next few decades or places that were too far to visit regular. Rehoboth for the win! Which isn’t bad news at all, three of us love it there. The other one of us loves Ocean City but we ain’t reliving your youth of trashy girlfriends and fleabag hotels, Real Estate Dad. So, the girls won this one.
The next morning we were looking at condos.
By noon we were writing a contract on a place which was so gross (to me) and in which I channeled my mother by saying, “This place is disgusting – It needs to be gutted.” Real Estate Dad thought it was in good condition He’s either right and I’m a spoiled little brat, or he’s comparing it to his old Ocean City haunts.
Even though the place was on the market for a month and a half (a death sentence in DC,) there were somehow multiple offers. This apparently never happens in Delaware. They called for highest and best. Real Estate Dad and our agent suggested going to asking price. Pshaw. You people must be new here. You think I’m rolling over that quickly? I had a strategy, honed from working in this city of crazy. After I explained what I wanted to do, our agent said, “Wow, you are teaching me things, we never do this here.” Real Estate Dad didn’t want to lose the place.
Him: What if they have cash? It looks better if we offer full price.
Me: What if? Maybe they offered $100K less than we did.
Him: The sellers see the escalation though. They can just counteroffer a the max.
Me: That’s not going to happen. They have to show the front page of the other contract. The escalation has to do its job otherwise the whole thing is bullshit.
We waited the rest of the day for a response. I wasn’t mad. I wasn’t on edge. I’d done this wait with clients before and while I know it’s impossible to wait for a response from the seller, I also know that the more you contact them, the more desperate you seem. Real Estate Dad kept asking if I heard anything and I was like, Come on man, we gotta play it cool.
In the end, the sellers accepted our offer when the other offer capped out. We paid less than asking, we didn’t waive the inspection, and we kept our financing contingency.
Throughout the entire negotiation and loan underwriting process, we were sort of astonished at how freaking slow people are. “Welllllp, this is lower slower Delaware.” Get it. Lower Slower Delaware. LSD. They even put it on bumper stickers.
It took 3 months to get this thing underwritten because we had to go through 3 different lenders. Each one would come back saying that the condo operates like a hotel and they couldn’t do the loan, whatever the hell that meant. Finally the loan was done and we went to closing.
Our agent was there and so was the listing agent. I liked her because she was playing with the girls. Then I stopped liking her real quick. I can turn on a dime like that.
Papers were signed, and everyone said “Congratulations!” Then we asked for the keys. Everyone looked at each other like, “Do you have the keys? I don’t have the keys.”
The attorney left the room and when he came back he foolishly handed the listing agent her commission check, first. And this my friends, is where the day took a dive.
Listing Agent: “This isn’t right.”
The lawyer sort of whispers. Then there’s math. Then there’s discussion about how she’s “capped out” at her company and she should be paid 100%.
The lawyer looks at us and says we don’t have to stay. We said we were waiting for keys to the house on which we just purchased. But we continued to watch this agent make a spectacle of herself. I texted our agent who was sitting right next to me and said, “Is she serious? I would never do this at the settlement table in front of clients.”
If she had a modicum of self-awareness she would have realized we were all shifting and whispering and she should have waited until we all left. But nope, she kept going.
She got on her phone. Lawyer said he will try to call to find the keys which was nice of him considering this isn’t his job. We thought she was calling to figure out who had the keys.
Nope. She’s calling her company to complain about how her commission check is wrong. Then she looks up as if we are going to agree or actually give a shit. She says, “I’ve maxed out at my company, I get 100% of my commissions.” Real Estate Dad is looking at her without a shred of sympathy and she still doesn’t get it. I mean, I’m sorry but if you’re doing so well that you maxed out your commissions at your multi-level marketing of a brokerage, then you really shouldn’t be hounding everyone for payment at the table. I’d like to think you can wait a couple days like the rest of us do.
We finally learned our keys were at an office across Rehoboth and we had to go fetch them ourselves. When we walked outside I said to Real Estate Dad, “This is why people hate us. This woman is why people hate Real Estate Agents.”