Your offer to purchase a home was accepted! Those are wonderful words for most buyers to hear, and most sellers are relieved to know they are close to achieving their goal as well. Buyers are delighted to conclude the endless search online and in the streets of their neighborhoods of choice. Sellers are thrilled the need to vacate their living quarters during showings and the daily task of keeping the house "show ready" are drawing to a close. It's a happy time for both parties to the contract.
Then reality hits. There are inspections to do, repairs or credits to negotiate, bids to obtain, tons of disclosures to complete, sign and deliver. Appraisals and perhaps even a termite fumigation will be required. Maybe mold will be found or a structural defect. Agents know this is where the real work begins. Showings are simply the prelude and pretty part of selling and buying real estate. This is also when negotiation skills separate the wheat from the chaff and where agents establish their true worth and earn their commission.
Over the years I can recall advising a young couple to obtain an opinion from a structural expert even though they wanted to accept the charming little cottage in its "as is" condition. The bid to repair the foundation came back at $40,000 and my buyers walked away. Another client was about to accept an appraisal $100,000 below what I believed to be the property's value. Instead, I wrote a 27 page rebuttal and was successful in getting that appraisal thrown out. A new appraisal was done and my client netted just over $100,000 more as a result of not accepting the first appraisal. She was thrilled to pay me a commission of less than 25% of the additional money she saved. I could go on and on with similar situations we've encountered. Every agent worth his salt has many of these stories to share.
A typical day in an agent's life will involve a long list of "value added" tasks. For example today we are waiting for a buyer's acceptance of a seller's response to the buyer's request for repairs. It has taken us a week of back and forth to reach an agreement. An appraisal is due, and late last night a former client who is about to begin a major remodel turned to Josh and I for help because the appraisal for his current home came in unacceptably low. He asked us to review it and see if we agree or can give him some points to refute. I'm canceling a listing because the seller wants to raise the price and the market is indicating a price reduction is needed. I'm touring new listings and will film a neighborhood video for marketing purposes while we are out and about in Palos Verdes neighborhoods today. On the lighter side, I'm sending photos of a past client's two dogs to an agent in hopes of getting her approved for a lease while she remodels her current residence. Although her application was originally denied due to pets, the landlords are softening since the property is still available.
From contract to close is actually my favorite phase of a real estate transactions. There are problems and issues to solve and overcome on a daily basis. It's similar to what goes on behind the curtains in a theatrical production in order to present a flawless experience. There's a learning curve that must be climbed and it involves both knowledge and experience. I often say to Josh the definition of a real estate agent is someone who solves problems all day long.
The journey from signing the contract to closing escrow can be a long and winding road, but one that is easier to traverse with the help of an agent who has made the trip many times. Expert mountain climbers enlist the help and guidance of Sherpas who are familiar with the local terrain and are equipped to lighten the climbers' load. The right real estate agent can do the same for you when you are ready to venture into the unfamiliar territory of selling or purchasing real estate.
- Norma & Josh Toering
Charlemagne Intl Properties
ToeringandTeam@gmail.com or our Contact Form
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Based on information from the Association of REALTORS®/Multiple Listing as of the initial date of this article/blog publication and /or other sources. Display of MLS data is deemed reliable but is not guaranteed accurate by the MLS. The Broker/Agent providing the information contained herein may or may not have been the Listing and/or Selling Agent.