I closed a transaction yesterday with great clients. They were responsive, realistic and enthusiastic. I was saddened that by the time we got to the closing table they were irritated and kind of emotional about the whole thing. Why? Because the sellers were not cooperative and not forthcoming with information during the transaction.
This is the thing...it was a good transaction for all involved. We offered asking price and were reasonable on the Home Inspection negotiations. We gave the sellers their preferred closing date. The buyers were well qualified and flexible. The sellers were able to close the sale and move on to their new home. It was a win-win! So why were my folks left feeling so dispirited on what should have been a happy day? The sellers just did not make an effort--in fact they almost did the opposite.
Here are 5 ways that an uncooperative seller can leave the buyers feeling less than happy at closing:
- Don't clean the house after you move. We have a 'broom clean' clause in our Virginia contract. As you can imagine, it is virtually unenforceable. If you really want to irritate the buyers, leave stuff in your cabinets, trash around the house (but not so much that they can really raise a stink), don't run the vacuum or sweep and cancel the trash service, leaving the cans full.
- Be sure to keep all info about the house to yourself. We requested paint colors about 6 weeks before settlement. My clients wanted to get the house painted before moving in and really liked the sellers colors. The sellers waited until the week before settlement--even after being asked through their Realtor many, many times--to provide them.
- Ignore all requests for information. Along the same lines, we asked 6 weeks ahead for information on their moving schedule so that we could set up our walk-through since we were set to close the day after a long weekend. Radio silence. When we finally just told them our schedule, they threw a fit, saying it was inconvenient and they would not cooperate. Thanks. We could have done this pleasantly or we could do it this way--with everyone feeling put out.
- Refuse to do things that you really need to do. We saw some carpenter bee damage at our first visit. They refused to fix it when we put it on the home inspection addendum. When the pest company came out and identified it, professionally, as carpenter bees, they then were subject to fix it according to the contract. They could have replaced the deck board, or as they opted to do, they could just throw some unidentified compound in the holes that neither hardened nor matched the wood finish and call it a day. Of course, we were left fighting for a credit before closing. Which we got. Again, choose the easy way or the hard way.
- Make your buyers feel like you are doing them a favor by selling the house. In general, every response and every request was met either with silence or anger by the sellers. Why? We gave them their asking price and their settlement date. I am one of those agents who feels that all deals go more smoothly when we work together toward a mutually beneficial closing. In other words, I was not a jerk about things--while still looking out for my clients interest. Yet all of their responses were uncooperative and unnecessarily angry. Why? Maybe they didn't want to move, but come on, suck it up and behave like adults.
When you sell your home, you can approach it one of two ways; you can be gracious and fair or you can be a jerk. In the end, the outcome is the same, but in one instance, everyone feels good about things and in the other, no one does. Why can't we all just remember the golden rule?
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