Selling a House Three Times to Get Paid Once

Undoubtedly, when I am selling a house 3 times to get paid once, I am doing it solely for the benefit of the seller. Other agents seem to intensely dislike that kind of attitude. They are used to listings agents who rollover and do whatever it takes to close a transaction. It confuses them when they discover that I am not one of those agents who will rollover.

For starters, I care deeply about my fiduciary relationship to the seller and doing what is best for the seller. How do I do that? Well, here’s a hint for ya, I don’t count my chickens before they hatch because even if they never hatch, I don’t care. I care solely about making my sellers happy. It’s a recipe, albeit a weird one for many, but it’s a successful recipe for me. I don’t really know how to better explain it than if you take yourself out of the equation and try to do only what is best for a seller (I know, strange concept), as an agent you will win in the end. And so does the seller. I won’t go so far as to say win-win because that’s not really a concept I subscribe to, and I used to be married to the guy who coined that phrase. In real estate, generally one side, seller or buyer, fares better than the other. That’s the reality.

When I first sold the fixer home I wasn’t planning on selling a house 3 times to get paid once, but it happens. It happens more often than you might think. Because I generally advise my sellers to just say NO to opportunists. It’s hard to tell who is an opportunist and who is serious when presented with an offer.

The first buyers for this particular fixer home in Sacramento appeared to enter the contract in good faith. But when we were scheduled to close in a few days, and the buyer’s agent called in the middle of the day, it was only bad news. I happened to be at my neighbor’s house in Hawaii when I saw the call come across my Apple Watch.

This is only bad news, I whispered to my neighbor, but I gotta answer. Sure enough, within a few seconds, the buyer’s agent launched into: we did our due diligence and we found a lot of problems . . .

I’ve been through this so many times. I cut her off at the chase. The home is sold AS IS, and if your buyer doesn’t want to continue with the transaction under the present terms of the contract, send us a cancellation. The agent on the other end of my Apple Watch could not believe what I said. She didn’t know I’ve heard it all before.

This is the ploy to ask for repairs or a price reduction. Not gonna happen. My seller agreed. I knew he would.

Don’t you want to know what the buyer found? She asked.

No, we don’t.

If I know what he found, I’ll have to disclose it to the next buyer. Also, it doesn’t matter. The home is sold AS IS. If the buyer doesn’t like the house in its AS IS condition, don’t let the door hit ya in the butt. I don’t care about the buyer’s reason for canceling. I care about getting the seller the money the seller deserves. I was not wrong on the sales price.

This is a perfect example of an agent who expected the listing agent to “hold the deal together,” and I won’t do it. To hold it together is to cost the seller money. I know full well I can sell it again, Sam, to somebody else. This is where experience pays off. So while agents might not understand the concept of selling a house 3 times to get paid once because they feel their time is “more valuable” or whatever, they are probably not top producers.

Enter next buyer. This buyer also goes into contract quickly. I drill the buyer’s agent. Are you sure they know what they are buying? Do you know for a fact they can handle the repairs? Well, long story short, regardless, the agent did not know a thing about the buyers as they also canceled. Criminy. OK, third time’s a charm.

Sometimes sellers get really upset when two escrows cancel. They think it’s not time to sell or the listing agent could have done something differently. Well, yes, we could do something differently, we could throw the seller under the bus. But we don’t. We have no control over buyers. None at all.

So when the third buyer came along, the seller was prepared and ready. At least they did not try to renegotiate. I really dislike the stupid strategy of buyers who think, oh, let’s just get into contract, and then when a couple weeks go by, we’ll renegotiate. We’ll find something to grind the seller over.

Nope. Not on my watch. And that’s how sometimes I end up selling a house 3 times to get paid once. I am honest with my clients. If I think making a concession is a good idea, I’ll say so. But if I think they can sell to a better buyer, I will say that, too.

We closed on January 4th. At list price.

Unfortunately, I’m kind of a dying breed in Sacramento real estate. I hope somebody else will raise the bar after me; after my time is up.

Elizabeth Weintraub

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