The business of negotiating real estate contracts can be tricky at times. While the task of selling your home might seem easy, I mean the REALTOR® only puts a sign in the yard right? Why should I pay them thousands of dollars? An experienced agent can easily pay for their fees several times over often with the careful placement of one or two words.
Here are some words that have crossed our path this year.
Earlier this year we negotiated a building inspection that read, ‘A reputable electrician to repair the following”. Seems simple enough. When the time came to provide receipts for the work, the listing agent said that a family friend fixed the electrical and that was adequate. When challenged on the status of this friend and what makes him reputable? Is there a company letterhead? Business card? Even a business name we could research? All we got back was a receipt with the “reputable electricians” name and home address. After further pushing trying to establish if the electrician was in fact reputable the listing agent said this, “Reputable is defined in the dictionary as held in high regard, the seller holds this person in high regard so therefore we have complied”. I am sorry to say MANY licensees in this market would have out their tails between their legs and scurried back for cover.
How was this resolved? The Broker pressed on to describe the definition of an “Electrician”. The agent was no longer being reasonable so a request was made of the agents broker to have the seller or listing agent pay for the re-inspection. This was enough to get the seller to agree to pay the re-inspection fee for the original inspector to come back and tell us if in fact the work was done properly. At that inspection it was found the person the seller held in “High regard” did not replace the ungrounded outlets outlined in the executed inspection notice. We were able to get a repairman to repair at the expense of the listing side.
A seller discloses in the sellers disclosure that “some” windows do not stay open when lifted. At the building inspection the inspector puts green stickers on the windows in the home and issued a report that says all the green stickered windows do not stay open and are a hazard. The inspector never mentions how many windows, what rooms etc. The buyers agent puts forth the inspection notice requests and asks for window replacement, amongst other things. The broker challenges the request for the window replacement and says, the disclosure surely states “some windows” do not stay open. The buyers agent pushes back and says 9 of the 10 windows do not stay open, that is more than some. This causes you to ponder, how much is “some” Some is less than all, More than half? More than a few? Less than a lot?
How did this get resolved? The broker went to the house to see exactly how many windows had a green dot, per the inspectors report. The broker then had someone make a video of the opening of each window and released the window to see if it stayed up. Only 1 of the green dot windows failed to stay up, one is less than a couple, less than few and surely less than some. The videos were enough to make the point and save the seller from having to replace the 9 windows the inspector had called out.
Once a word like this is challenged it behoves the broker to find a new word that clearly defines the message. As in all things, there MUST be CLARITY!
Moral of the Story-
You are responsible to read every word of what you sign. If you do not understand it you should be asking for clarification, if you do not agree with it you should be asking for options. Your representative in the largest transaction of your life should be strong and smart enough to guide you safely to the end of the transaction safely. They should be able to explain and answer your questions and be able to advocate for your best interests to fulfilled.
A REALTOR® (A lawyer, a doctor, a plumber, etc etc) should NOT be selected by how much their commission/cost is but instead by how confident you are with their experience and ability to represent you to the fullest and get the job done. Getting the job done right the first time can save you thousands of dollars today, tomorrow and in the years to come.
Feel free to Share some of your real estate nightmare stories