Monday, June 22, 2009


"Not every deal will close."
"Every transaction is different."
"Sometimes you need to hold your client's hand through the process."
"There are always going to be things that need to get worked through."

I've heard these things said about real estate. I've heard about difficult clients. I've heard about agents getting all the way to closing, only to have it fall apart at the end. But I've never seen it first hand. I've never been at the table when someone had a meltdown and refused to sign paperwork. Why have I never run across this before? Because this was my first professional transaction. All my previous experiences with closings, I was party to the transaction. I was either buying or selling. And I've never had a meltdown.

But my client did.

She decried the "injustice" of fees that had increased between the last good faith estimate and the HUD1 statement. She didn't complain about the fees that went down. She called "criminal" the fact that the interest rate was 6.25% instead of the 5.325% she was quoted four weeks ago. She tried to blame me for not telling her to lock the rate when it was low. I reminded hr that I did tell her to lock the rate, several times, but she refused. I reminded her that the mortgage broker also told her to lock it several times as well, but she refused. She wanted it to go lower. It didn't. Now it's my and the banker's fault. She cried foul that her earnest money was non-refundable at the closing table and I explained (again) that her earnest money was non-refundable at the end of the inspection period. That she had signed paperwork that attested to the fact that she understood it was non-refundable at the end of the inspection period.

The majority of the problem lies in the discount points. The property is considered an investment property. That's one point. The loan amount is low. That's a second point. And her credit is bad. That's three points. Those three points add up at the closing table.

I tried to explain that throwing away the $1,800+ that they had already spent over what boiled down to $800 difference in closing costs, might not be the best idea. I tried to explain that finding another house (and getting it) is going to be difficult at best because the houses in her price range are selling quickly and for over asking price.

I tried. But I failed. And I walked away from the closing with nothing to show. Seven weeks of time and effort, numerous visits & phone calls, negotiating with the seller, working with the mortgage broker and generally bending over backwards doing more than any agent has ever done for me. To walk away with nothing. Nothing but a whole lot of information about what to do differently next time.

But you know what the best part is? Since I had brought them to the closing, I had to drive them home. So I got to listen to her ranting and raving the whole way. How she was going to get a lawyer and sue (for what I never did figure out). How everybody involved had "stones for hearts" and were all out for her money. How we're all criminals and dogs and are going to have to stand naked before God and be judged. For an hour. In rush hour traffic. For. An. Hour. It's probably a good thing I couldn't get to the shoulder to kick her out. I was tempted to try. I don't think her husband would have minded all that much either.

This was the best first real estate transaction ever. It has to improve from here.