When is cheating Realtors an upfront disclosure in the home selling process from a seller’s point of view? I had a phone call today from a future seller who had already talked to and chosen a Realtor. So why was he calling our firm to ask me questions, why didn’t he ask his Realtor?
His first questions were about what types of agency did we use when when listing a home. What he wanted to really know was if he could get the home listed and not pay a Realtor under certain circumstance. It got me to thinking about an old boyfriend who told me upfront about potential cheating and he asked questions about how I felt about cheating. I told him I would drop him like a rock in a deep pond! Why go into a relationship with someone devaluing you up front?
Blogging from my new command center, I feel a bit like the Captain of the USS Enterprise. Beam me up, Scotty! With my new 42-inch monitor, I can view multiple screens open while I’m uploading photos, researching links, and writing — all at the same time. As if that isn’t enough, I also have my laptop on my desk, so I can also work on my email. Whoa, talk about multi-tasking! This is just so awesome.
Blogging at my new command center is just a part of what I can do using this 42 inch monitor. I can now write contracts, have MLS open, keep my eye on email, and watch our Sacramento real estate ads on social media. This not only saves time, it creates more efficiency in my task schedule. Thinking over each day, jotting down a few blog ideas, and taking photos of our daily work adventures, reminds me how much our team does as a collective, each day, for our clients.
In all of this, he has never, EVER run into a Sacramento listing agent and seller who, in collaboration, refused to change the status in MLS from ACTIVE to PENDING upon offer acceptance by stipulating such in the counter offer.
Welcome to the wonderful wacky world of Sacramento real estate in the fall of 2014.
To give myself credit, I did not point out that the buyer had written multiple offers when the buyer could afford to only buy one home, nor how that kind of nefarious thing could be justification why a seller may possibly elect to wait for the buyer to lift contingencies before changing the status to pending in MLS.
Nope, instead, I relied on history from the past few months in which the scenario goes like this:
- Buyer writes offer.
- Seller counters offer.
- Buyer accepts counter offer.
- Escrow is opened.
- Buyer cancels offer.
The problem with this is the agent changes the listing in MLS to pending, and when the buyer flakes out, the listing then is changed back to the awful status, that dreaded garlic-waving status, that kiss of death walking zombie status: back on market. It’s like tearing off your clothes in public to reveal you have herpes and asking who would like to have sex with you.
See, in California, our purchase contracts give a buyer 17 days by default to cancel the contract for just about any reason: It’s too hot today. I don’t like the garage. There’s a plane overhead. The next-door neighbor is grumpy. I just don’t feel like buying this house. It would make more sense if MetroList would give us the option for status by allowing us to leave the “pending” listing active through a modifier, so if it fell out, the active status would remain intact. Like a virgin listing. Yeah.
Because pending ain’t pending if it ain’t closing. Pending happens after the contingencies are released. Until then, just about anything can occur. Oh, I realize changing the status in MetroList would mean pointing out clearly to buyers that they can cancel, and not everybody wants to be that direct with a buyer (holy cow, I can cancel?), but it just makes sense, doesn’t it? I’d like to rid of that back-on-market stigma, but I don’t run MLS. I just gripe about crap.
The best we can do at the moment is put a pending rescission modifier on that listing so if the buyer cancels, it can just be removed and the listing stays active. But you’ve got to have written permission from all parties to do that.
At first, the agent denied the accusation. When pressed and presented with evidence, he became agitated and admitted he probably did leave it open but he had a good reason. (There is never a good reason to leave a lockbox open unauthorized.) His reason was he was confused. He had never showed a home which had 2 lockboxes, one for Supra to open to retrieve the code and the second for contractors, in which the key was stored. So, it was all the listing agent’s fault and not his. Ya gotta love the logic. Sometimes I use this system because it’s convenient for contractors: those people who do home staging, or maybe employees from pest companies, roof inspectors, home inspectors, handyman, what have you, who need access to the home.
It is also required by our MLS. Our MLS forces agents to use SUPRA lockboxes if an agent wants to advertise a listing as having a lockbox. Pretty clever, that MLS business alliance. In other words, a Sacramento real estate agent is not allowed to put on a contractor’s box and state the home is vacant with a lockbox and provide the code. It’s governed and stipulated that way at most associations. Otherwise, agents would buy contractor’s lockboxes because they cost roughly one-third the price of SUPRA lockboxes. They’ve got almost ten grand of my money — $10,000 that could have been invested in an aging barrel of Maker’s Mark, but no, I have lockboxes.
Although I like the SUPRA lockboxes because it allows me to follow up on listings and obtain buyer feedback after an agent shows a home I have listed. It provides greater security for my sellers because only agents can access those boxes. However, if contractors need to access the home, for example, I will also attach a contractor’s box to the property. It allows me to better devote my time to marketing the home, following up on showings and tracking open houses than standing on the front steps waiting for some guy to show up so I can open the door. Yet, two lockboxes are still very confusing for some buyer’s agents.
The biggest problem I see with buyer’s agents is not the fact that they can get confused over lockbox instructions, it’s that they don’t often read the entire MLS listing before taking action. They are so excited that their buyer wants to write an offer, they don’t always take the time to peruse confidential agent remarks or note the type of financing that is offered. They waste a lot of time writing offers that have little chance of acceptance because of this little quirk.
I wish I could digitally manipulate my listings. I would put big red arrows and circles that draw attention to specific information for agents, maybe include a few starbursts.
This morning I received an offer that was sent to the wrong agent last night. Three specific lines in the agent remarks state where and how to send the offer, yet they were overlooked. On top of this, the email from the agent said her buyer had seen the property and was very interested in owning it. Except the property is located in a gated community and there are no showings allowed. It’s enough to make one wonder if the buyer’s agent mixed up the address of the property and perhaps wrote the offer for the wrong home.
On top of this, it was an FHA offer, and the property is not listed with FHA terms and the seller cannot accept an FHA offer because an FHA offer is not allowed on that particular home. That was a lot of work for the agent to go through to write an offer, provide supporting documentation on behalf of the buyer, get the purchase offer signed and then deliver it to the wrong agent when there is no way the offer can even be countered.
All of which could have been prevented if the agent had just given that MLS listings one more glance before writing the offer. Are there attachments to the listings? Long gone are the days when all homes are listed with identical terms. Almost every listing is as unique as the sellers are unique.
My policy as a real estate agent is not to fight change, I embrace it.
If said husband walked into a certain home office and said his doctor ordered him to go immediately to the E.R., that same pertinacious real estate agent might have to download stuff to a flash drive or upload documents to the cloud before she could confidently grab her laptop computer and hightail it to Mercy Hospital before said husband croaks right there under the ceiling fan.
If it’s 3 PM and a lunch salad sits lonely and forlorn, half-made on the kitchen counter, because every time said real estate agent stops what she is doing to chop veggies her email dings with an urgent matter, that’s an agent who just can’t get off her computer. Some days are like that. Some days are not.
If every single day delivered 7 AM to 7 PM constant high pressure, I’d go insane. But fortunately, they do not. And that’s what makes being a Sacramento real estate agent interesting. There is variety. Intense situations, followed by a calmness. Who needs to be bipolar? (No offense to bipolar people.)
This morning MetroList totally messed up on-market listings. I heard it was a coding that caused the problem. Why-oh-why is a major software conglomerate like MetroList, on which millions of people depend, relying on a wonky plugin? No idea. But it prevented two new listings from going live last night so my photos did not download nor did the listings. You can’t always depend on MLS and technology. It seems real estate tool providers are always the last to adopt new systems. Yet, this is where much of the money is, in real estate, and the worker bees get crap.
But you can depend on this Sacramento real estate agent to be glued to her computer and responsive to callers, even if MetroList is down.