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Seller's Market

A Seller’s Market Is Not Permission To Bully

Everybody just calm the heck down.

I love selling houses, truly, I do. We have our people and processes down to a science, so we get to enjoy the sale and purchase process right along with our clients. It’s usually pretty zen, and everything rolls smoothly, but in this seller’s market, things are becoming ridiculous.

Some situations are so unnecessary, so outrageous, that it demands we jump into advocate mode for our clients and the gloves come off. This is one of those situations.

“Broom clean and free of debris” is not a suggestion.
After being told the house was empty, clean and ready for our buyer clients to take possession, I found this condition when I arrived for our walk-through.

Audaciously enough, the sellers were present during the walk-through. Of course, I questioned them about their plans to have this stuff picked up and cleaned up according to the terms of the purchase agreement. In our purchase agreements, sellers must leave a property “broom clean and free of debris.” This is a requirement to close, not an optional, “if I have time” suggestion.

And then came the threats.
My questioning was met with “We can’t delay closing, we need to close TODAY. Yours wasn’t the only offer, you know. We had three other offers besides yours. We could sell this in a day.”

And a couple of hours later when I insisted on holding a sizable escrow for clean up, the sellers threatened not to close at all and sell it to another buyer.

Here’s the thing…

It. Does. Not. Matter. If there were a hundred offers, or whether the house is large or small, or the neighborhood it is in. There is a legal contract to purchase, with terms agreed to in advance by all parties, which clearly addresses everyone’s obligations.

The sellers just didn’t care.

This seller’s bullery (I totally made up that word, but oh so appropriate) created a 4-hour delay in closing, a sizable escrow of the seller’s money held for security, unnecessary drama for everyone, not to mention the inconvenience. Unnecessary. Avoidable. Bullery.

I guess I’m unreasonable.
The sellers were mad at me. They said I was being unreasonable in suggesting we either delay closing a couple of days until they could have their curb full of garbage hauled away, or put up some money for security that it would be done within a few days. Bullery.

They thought they could just drive off with the buyer’s money and leave them with this curb full of garbage. They thought in a seller’s market, they could refuse to close and sell this house to another buyer. Bullery.

No, no, nope. No, you can’t.

A seller’s market gives the seller the advantage of getting top dollar (sometimes more than the house is worth), and the best terms of sale on their property. It does not give the seller permission to violate the terms of the purchase agreement at will, or bully the buyer with threats of withdrawing from their contract.

For the love of humanity.
It’s great to have the upper hand in negotiating, I thrive on it. I like to win. But people are losing their minds in the process and violating all kinds of boundaries of reason.

Just stop it.

Be a decent human being, if nothing else.
Be a humble winner.
Be respectful even when you have the market advantage.
Keep your word without anybody holding your feet to the legal fire.
Be considerate.

If we all simply did what we said we would do, there would be a lot less paper involved. Some of it, forfeited money in penalties for failure to perform.

Because when it comes to our clients, we don’t play.

I don’t think I’m being unreasonable, I’m pretty sure I am advocating. And THAT is my j-o-b.

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2 thoughts on “A Seller’s Market Is Not Permission To Bully

  1. The California purchase contract now says “all debris and personal property not included in the sale shall be removed by Close Of Escrow.” So, trash out , grimey tubs and filthy floors in.

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