When A Real Estate Deal Goes South—Find Your North Star!

Taking this softer approach of objective real estate negotiation

Real estate clients make up their own mind in the end

In real estate and in life problems are generally not what they appear to be.

I believe the main reason this is so is that challenges often hinge on our own personal internal reactions to external circumstances. We all like to think we are in control of our lives, but in truth this is not always so. Much of what happens in our professional and personal lives unfolds according to forces outside our control. This becomes particularly apparent in real estate sales.

Those Realtors with a lot of sales training can certainly influence people. In the end, however, clients will make their own decisions. No one, not even the best real estate agent, can change another person’s behavior, thoughts, or emotions.

Think of real estate as a wheel with lots of spokes. Each spoke represents a person or circumstance in a transaction. With all these moving parts going round and round lots of things can happen to disrupt our apple cart and affect the sales process and end result.

For example, the day before I was supposed to close on a downtown San Francisco condominium, I learned that the Homeowners’ Association, (HOA), had filed a lawsuit against the developer for construction defects. In the last year or so there had been some water leakage with some of the windows, but not involving this particular unit I was selling.

My client, Ben Wei, was a young man in his early thirties and had not attended any of the real estate homeowners’ meetings.

He knew nothing of a possible real estate lawsuit.When I reread the Homeowners’ Minutes, thinking I might have missed something, there was no mention of a pending lawsuit. However, the Board of Directors of the HOA had made the quick decision to file a lawsuit, because the ten year statute of limitations to file was just about up.

Ben was aware that he would have to give the Buyer some discount so the Buyer would be motivated to complete the transaction. The buyer would most likely have to find a new lender—banks do not like loans which are involved in litigation and have known construction defects.

Because of a very rocky real estate year with more downs than ups, life lessons were teaching me a clear universal truth: I was not omnipotent and would not be able to control whether this sale would go through or not. The old Paula would fight like a tiger for her clients, but now I knew it was really up to the Buyer and the Seller to come to a mutually agreed upon price—provided of course, that the Buyer had enough confidence to proceed.

I counseled Ben to wait to see what the Buyer would do. When Ben pressured me for what I thought the purchase price should be, I said it did not matter what I thought—it was all up to this buyer and how badly he wanted this particular property. I did not want to pressure the Buyer, because I knew he was going through extreme stress, thinking he was moving into his new condo the next day and now finding out there were defects in the building he was buying. After a few days of contemplating the situation, the Buyer approached us with a $50,000 price reduction. More discount than I would have thought, but I did not take this low number personally, reminding myself it would be Ben’s decision, not mine.

Splitting the difference made sense to Ben so we countered with a credit to the Buyer of $25,000. I crossed my fingers hoping the Buyer would agree, but unlike the old Paula, was not heavily invested in the outcome.

Taking this softer approach of objective real estate negotiation turned out to be a lot easier on me—and everyone else involved—than resisting what life was presenting. Whenever my mind started focusing on this particular real estate sale not closing and what a rotten year I was having, I just sat with that thought, doing my best to not having it run me and ruin my day.

When the Buyer countered us again with a $35,000 credit, I mentally and emotionally prepared to let go of this real estate sale.

There was nothing more I could do. After careful consideration Ben decided he would take the counteroffer. However, this happy result could have easily turned out differently. If I had reacted with ultimatums, emotion or pressure, I could have easily sabotaged the sale.

For more on real estate and how it works you may want to order my book Getting the Property SOUL’D – A Breakthrough System for Successful, Stress-Free Buying and Selling which will be out on Amazon the beginning of April OR fill out the form on the right-hand side of this page  to learn more about  real estate success.

Be aware that any clients’ names have been changed to protect their privacy. Furthermore, Paula Pagano does not accept any liability for the content of any Blogs and this Website or for any actions you take or resultant consequences of actions taken based on the information provided in this communication. Any advice is my opinion after being a 35 year experienced real estate agent in San Francisco.

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