A Story That Will Help You Persevere
Sometimes in real estate I get to be apart of some pretty amazing moments in people’s lives. Like when we finally find the perfect home they have been dreaming about and things get sentimental and eyes get misty. My allergies always seem to flare up in those moments. Weird.
Other times the experiences are challenging and difficult. Any number of things could happen: The gatekeepers of the real estate transaction appear and an appraisal comes back lower than the contract price. Or your lender calls you on closing day and says a new lending rule has disqualified you and there is nothing they can do about it. Or someone pulls their best Houdini impersonation and just disappears the day of closing.
Bad things can happen, so perseverance is great trait to have if you encounter a difficult real estate situation. But don’t worry if you are not that tough. I exist as a real estate agent to guide you and deflect the brunt of the situation. It’s no use to worry about the outcome. My father-in-law has a pretty good adage about worry:
“92% of the bad things you think will happen will never happen, 7% aren’t as bad as you thought they would be and while the remaining 1% are bad, you are given the grace to handle it.”
Yesterday I sat down with Sam. A mutual friend of ours thought it would be good for us to get to know one another a little better, so he introduced us and we decided to grab coffee and talk business. As we sat down at Starbucks to discuss our business niches, plans for 2013, etc. he couldn’t help but share with me his incredible real estate story. It’s one of the craziest real estate stories I have ever heard and one that you should remember in that moment you are so stressed out that you are about to cry (or break something).
Sam and his wife were tirelessly looking for a new home a few years ago. They had their home on the market and were expecting it to sell quick. They were looking specifically for a home that would help them maintain their business in Hendersonville, while Sam began to service his new client base in the Franklin area. There search was very narrow, but they eventually found the perfect house.
A few days later they got a contract on their house in Hendersonville and immediately placed an offer and entered a contract on their next home. Everything was working out as planned. Sam knew that the people buying his current home were also in a contract with a buyer for their current home, but that is not abnormal. And even though a lot of cogs have to fall into place on the same day, usually things go off with out a hitch. It’s the domino effect of real estate transactions, but it was only three transactions, three families, same day. Nothing to worry about…right?
Closing day rolled around and Sam and his wife were making their last business calls as they prepared to head to the closing table. Then they received the call of doom. “A buyer has backed out of their contract and refused to close today,” the voice on the other end of the line said. “This means you all can’t close on the sale of your home or the purchase of your new home.”[Deep Breath]…”Ok…”
Sam assumed the culprit was the buyer that was purchasing the home from the people who were going to be buying his current home. But he was wrong. Very wrong. Apparently the buyers he was thinking about also had a home they were selling that was under contract. And the people buying their home? Yep…they also were selling a home and had a buyer contracted to purchase.
If you add it up there were five families involved and five transactions scheduled to close on the same day. Five! And Sam and his wife were family #4, involved in transaction #4 (home sale) and transaction #5 (home purchase). A fact he discovered the day of closing when everything completely fell apart. It was the first buyer (family #1) that backed out at the closing table, causing a domino effect on closing day that ruined everybody’s plans.
Sam was frustrated, angry, confused, but most of all disheartened about the entire home sale and purchase process. He and his wife were looking for such a specific house to buy. How would they ever find it? Even if they did how could they find a new buyer for their home in a timely fashion? They were up against it.
A Random Neighbor Changes Everything
Fast forward a few weeks. Sam was driving home and is stopped as he is pulling into his driveway by a neighbor walking her dog. “Hey what happened with your house? I thought you all were under contract?” said the lady who Sam had never met in two and a half years of living in the neighborhood. Sam said at first he was annoyed and didn’t really want to reveal any info to this newly discovered nosy neighbor. But somehow he was able to muster a half-hearted, “Yeah it all fell a part at the closing table. I guess we’re not supposed to sell our house right now.”
To which the nosy neighbor replied, “Yes you are. My daughter wants to buy it.”
Apparently this neighbor’s daughter was extremely interested in Sam’s house the first time it was on the market, but it went under contract before she could make a move on it. Now that it was back on the market she was ready to make a move. And she did. That night everyone gathered around Sam’s kitchen table and negotiated the contract terms.
We could stop right there and this would make a great story, but there is a bit more to share. After all Sam and his wife still needed a home to move into and the one they fell in love with was no longer available.
Timing is Everything
Sam said he was a “home searching fiend” – a title I have bestowed upon myself from time to time. He was using the same specific search parameters every time and he would search about once an hour. It got to the point where he memorized all of the homes that were for sale in the search he was running. One morning he woke up early, around 5am, and ran the search – same results. That morning he was headed to meet with his real estate agent to reassess their buying situation and map out a plan for finding the right home. At 6am before he jumped in the shower he ran the search again – same results.
As he left the house he grabbed his wife’s iPad. Something he said he never did, but he thought he would run through some emails while he waiting for his meeting to begin. As he was sitting in Cracker Barrel waiting for his agent, he went to the local MLS search and out of habit just ran the same search again.
And there it was.
A new listing that was literally five minutes old! The home was located just a few miles south then the original home they were going to purchase and it was in a familiar neighborhood. Apparently a friend of his and leader from his church lived in that neighborhood.
He called his wife to share his discovery. He told her to do a little research and see how close this newly listed home was to their church leader friend’s home. He thought maybe he could get a little info about the house and neighborhood from him. “Sam,” his wife said, “the new home for sale is actually his home. His home is the one for sale,” she reiterated.
Sam immediately hung up and called his friend. Baffled at how fast Sam found out about his house being on the market, Sam’s church friend briefly confirmed that it was indeed his house for sale,
“No one even knows that we are thinking about moving,” he said. “I received a great relocation package from my company that would take me and my family back to Oklahoma where I grew up. But we weren’t sure we were supposed to take the deal because we love Nashville. It would be a difficult decision to relocate the family after the kids have already started making friends here. We couldn’t decide so we chose to put the house on the market and if it sold we would take that as a sign that we are supposed to take the relocation deal.”
Consider your sign received, buddy.
Sam scheduled an appointment with his Realtor to view the property and as expected it was a perfect fit. The put an offer in, came to terms and were scheduled to close in 30 days.
But there is more to this story…seriously
At closing there was another interesting hiccup. The appraisal came back $15K below the agreed upon sale price. Normally this would require a renegotiated price and the seller would lose out on those proceeds. In this case the seller, who was working with a corporate relocation company, had already closed on their side of the deal at the contract price (not the appraised price). The end result was that the seller was able to sell for the contract price and Sam was able to purchase for $15K less than what he was contracted to purchase the home for.
The loser? The relocation company who took the $15K bath. Next time wait for the appraisal to come through before you close on the sale of a property. I’m really confused as to how this even happened. Just amazing.
Sam and his wife are now happy homeowners. They went from being victims of extremely rare and hard to believe circumstances to being the beneficiary of an equally strange situation. Having lived through that scenario, they feel like someone was watching over them, helping guide them to their new home through a myriad of frustrating circumstances. It all worked out for them in the end…and they are extremely happy.
Take This Home With You
If you read this entire story (your amazing) then you know the take away. But just to restate the obvious lesson here: It’s never as bad as you think it is, there will be a solution and the outcome might even be better than you were planning for.
But let’s not try to break the record for World’s Most Impossible and Amazing Real Estate Deal. I’d like to keep the grey hairs at bay for a few more years.