A true story about the sales cycle in real estate

My client’s house (finally) closed today, and as I walked away for the last time (please, dear Lord, let it be the last!) I had many thoughts going through my head.  Considering all the real estate “buzz” in the media since Friday, I decided I would tell the REAL story of listing agents and buyer’s agents, using this house as an example.  I began contacting this seller in July of 2023.  By mid-September, I had the listing agreement locked down.  The seller lives out of state, and there were MANY repairs that needed to be completed prior to listing this house.  Thus, began the many, many, many trips to this home.  I estimate that I’ve been to this home at least 55 times.  Likely more.  My husband David has been to this home at least 25 times.  He’s had to climb into the attic, fix toilets, reinstall recessed cans, repair exterior lights, and repaired drawers just to name a few things.  We had to clean up trash that contractors wouldn’t come back to haul. I swept floors, cleaned windows, and wiped counters.  Since my seller lives out of state, I had to find countless trades people for him to contact for necessary repairs.

To best show a 1991 home with no updates, I had this home staged, at my expense; and my time/efforts for move in and move out of staging furniture.  Finally, with the home cleaned, repaired (mostly) and staged, we were ready for MLS in late February.  

With proper marketing, we landed 5 offers the first weekend on the market and the seller accepted one that was 8% above asking price.  A “win” for the seller!  Enter the buyer’s agent:  He helped his out of state clients find the home they were seeking and submit a clean offer that helped them win in multiple offer situation.  During option period, the buyer’s agent helped his clients navigate having the proper inspections for a home that had been vacant for many years.  The buyer’s agent educated and helped the buyers negotiate a small price reduction instead of repairs while I encouraged my seller to do the right thing since the buyers were being very reasonable.  Option period ended, all parties were happy.

Fast forward to 1.5 weeks prior to closing.  Buyers decide to have more inspections and a couple of big issues discovered.  The seller’s first reaction was to do nothing and allow the buyers to terminate.  I supported him in what he wanted while also explaining what that could look like if the deal fell through. After making many calls to research the issue, the buyer’s agent and I kept our clients informed, educated (and sane!). While not fun or customary, we negotiated another, small price reduction.  

Now, we close, right?

Not so fast… both buyer and seller live out of state.  We had everything arranged for each to sign a couple of days early so that title could have all signed docs received by the day of funding.  Buyer was signing, but the documents didn’t match the name on her driver’s license.  Seller decided to go on a last minute vacation.  Title team, lender, buyer’s agent and I all jump into action again to get docs changed and notaries lined up for a different day.  Closing day has to be extended by 2 days.  I make calls to assure seller is ok with this, and he agrees to extend.

Today- funding.  So, while many people think realtors have a glamorous and “easy job”, you can see there are so many moving parts to navigate in a home selling and buying process.  Both listing agents and buyer’s agents play a big role to help make a transaction happen.  Does my seller have ANY idea of the amount of time I spent on this sale? The amount of calls and texts to ensure each person was doing “their job” or coming back to complete what they should’ve completed the first time?  No. For most people, buying and selling real estate is their largest investment which brings about anxiety for them.  It’s my job to make sure they reach their goals in the smoothest possible way. Do I need to stress them more by sharing each detail?  Again, no.  

Yes, there are the unicorn sales where nothing goes wrong and the process is 100% smooth, I have had about 2 of those in my 13 years in real estate. 98% of the time it’s a full force advocacy for my buyer or seller, navigating the negotiations to get the best value and result for my client.  

What’s my point in providing details of this sale?  The point is If the seller did not have the advice and guidance from a realtor, and if the buyers did not have guidance from their realtor, I’m confident this sale would have fallen through. Or, worse yet, if buyers were trying to self-represent they might not have been encouraged or even known to ask to do re-inspections late in the transaction.  Finding out issues and costing them thousands of dollars (and lots of stress) after closing.  The moral of this story is that real estate purchases are big, serious, expensive deals and both the listing agent and buyer’s agent play a big role in its success.  Advocating for, educating, and encouraging all parties involved to do the right thing, follow best practices, avoid legal pitfalls, and work for the common goal creates a win/win for someone wanting to sell a home and another wanting to purchase a home!  That’s my job and that’s why I’m in this business.