It’s Just Business, Nothing Personal

I hear some agents grumble that Elizabeth Weintraub is one tough cookie, but I am actually an extremely happy-go-lucky Sacramento real estate agent. Even though every day selling short sales is a fresh new day in hell. I look forward to it. Bring it on. Hey, ask any of my clients. They’ll tell you I am cheery almost to a fault, always anxious to help or to explain something. I suspect agents equate my toughness with my non-tolerance for purchase contract violations. I practice zero tolerance for possible breaches of contract.

For example, our purchase contracts state by default that all earnest money deposits are to go into escrow within 72 hours of the sellers’ acceptance. It’s right there in paragraph 3A1 on the first page. That means we expect the deposit to be in escrow. It doesn’t matter if it’s a short sale or a regular sale for a seller with equity. You make an offer on a home, you put your money into escrow. No exceptions. After 35-some years in this business, it’s simple: you’re a buyer or you’re not.

An agent from the city of Davis objected to this a while back. He did not want his buyer to release his deposit. Or, maybe his buyer didn’t want to release. Said they don’t do that in Davis. What? They don’t close escrow in Davis? That hasn’t been my experience. In either case, that’s not an offer we considered. Because that’s not an offer. It’s just business, nothing personal.

I don’t enjoy advising sellers that we need to cancel buyers from a purchase contract. But, if a buyer does not perform, I will suggest that the seller submit a Notice to the Buyer to Perform, and follow that up with a cancellation. It makes no sense to be in escrow with an individual who is not acting like a buyer. Another buyer could not produce his updated proof of funds last week to buy a short sale. He could not produce the document because that document did not exist. He gave us all kinds of excuses and reasons and promises. It was noise. A buzzing in my ear. T’weren’t tinnitus.

This did not mean he could not close escrow, either. By the time we received short sale approval, he probably could have found the money somewhere. In his mattress. His wife’s checking account. A deal in the back alley, maybe. But we don’t operate on wouldja, couldja, didja. If you can’t show us the money, we will cancel your short sale. It’s just business, nothing personal.

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