One of the most unappreciated roles that a realtor plays is to protect buyers and sellers from themselves - i.e. keep them from making emotional and irrational decisions. Invariably something happens during a real estate transaction that pisses off one of the parties and puts the whole deal in jeopardy. I've had clients threaten to walk away from incredible deals (we're talking 10s of thousands of dollars in value) if the other side pulls just one more stunt that's going to cost my client a few hundred more dollars.
So when I found myself recently acting as our own agent on the purchase of a home in West Town I had to frequently remind myself that 1) an attorney who represents himself has a fool for a client (substitute realtor for attorney) and 2) I should stay rational. If you will recall, we were negotiating on a short sale where the bank denied my commission (almost $12,000) because I was the buyer. My wife and I had a lot of discussions about what the rational course of action would be. We wanted to be sure that we weren't reacting emotionally - yeah right. Finally we decided we didn't want to be taken advantage of so we just walked away. After all, the terms being forced upon us were just plain unfair.
The house went back on the market and as the clock ticked away and other potential buyers started to swarm all over the house we started to question our decision to walk away. Were we really being rational? Could I live with myself if we bought the house and I gave up my commission? Was the house still worth it for $12,000 more? Could we find another house in Chicago that was as good a deal? How long would it take us to find another house and what would be the personal cost of that additional search? In the meantime would mortgage rates go up? What about home prices?
Ultimately we decided that I was not being rational - a difficult realization for someone who prides themselves on being rational. The house still made sense (but barely) and I needed to swallow my pride and call up the listing agent to try to salvage the deal. Fortunately, I had resolved my anger with this %$#@&* deal and had been able to transcend my frustration with the (*&^#$ stupidity of this )&@#^% bank and the inability of the *#@(^% seller's attorney to explain &^@#&% commons sense to them. I was at &^%$#@ peace.
The deal went through and as you know from other blog posts of mine we closed a couple of weeks ago. But I have to tell you that this whole experience has given me a new perspective on the emotional turmoil that a real estate transaction can create for buyers and sellers. My advice to them will still be the same that it has always been but at least now I'll appreciate how difficult it is for them to do the right thing.