Conversation with Myself My Client
Don’t you love it when your seller wants a guarantee from you? Well, I wouldn’t predict the weather, Lady Gaga’s hair color for next week, or what time my work day will end, and I’m sure as #$%& heck not going to promise when a seller’s V.A. escrow will close.
Client: The POD’s here. When can I move?
Me: Remember, we aren’t scheduled to close for two more weeks, our 30-days falls on a Saturday which means a Monday close, but the buyer won’t want to pay interest over the weekend and the County cancelled afternoon recordings, so that would put us into Tuesday. And it’s V.A.
Client: But the POD is here.
Me: Did it call you or did you call it? Well, “we” ordered it a bit early, huh?
Client: I’ll be homeless; all my stuff is going in there.
Me: Not if you don’t put it there. Well, let’s see if we can’t fine tune it a little better. We just heard that the buyer has loan approval. We love our veterans, but did you watch 60 Minutes last night?! the wheels of government grind slowly, and until those docs are in title we’re just guessing. I’d prefer that you postpone your physical move at least until we see the whites of their papers.
Client: I hired you for your expertise and knowledge of what to do in an emergency. I need to know when I can move.
He has a point. To date, this listing and escrow have had no emergencies, which defies the laws of nature and makes it look like I’m shirking my agent duties, to wit: at least one demonstration of heroics. But, as I just said, I don’t want to ruin my batting average.
Me: Okay. You have three choices:
- You can move any time and we’ll hope the underwriter’s benevolence continues send the closing papers hunting for you;
- You can wait until the docs come to title, sign them, then leave and hope that escrow closes on or around the drop dead loan lock expiration date;
- You can wait until it closes and you have the money in your hands.
Client: So what date would that be?
Me: I. Don’t. Know.
Client: Can you find out?
At this point I remember that I should have installed the recording app on my phone so that I could play back this conversation for him.
Trying to interject a little humor, and reason, I ask, “To the hour or the minute? Ha ha.”
And then I invoke the Fifth Commandment of Real Estate: Do not engage. This technique compels the client to either solve the problem himself; grasp how unlikely he’ll be to get a reliable answer; or blink his eyes, in which case I win. I just don’t know how long it will take to get him to that point.
So, since I have another appointment, I give him a guarantee: I’ll call him just as soon as I know when he and his POD can move.
Cathy Turney is the managing partner at Better Homes Realty in Walnut Creek, California, and author of Laugh Your Way to Real Estate Sales Success which won the American Business Association’s Stevie Award for Best Business Book of the Year, 2015.
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