Because my first two real estate transactions from six years ago were like the first harvest in spring wherein smiles beamed flawlessly from east and west, I thought that my new venture would remain a breeze. But…. gusty winds and tempest weather were invoked on my third transaction. Here is what happened.
As soon as the mortgage contingency date was over, my sellers sold their personal items at cheap prices through a garage sale to facilitate relocation to the warmer state. I felt vicariously the excitement and their could-not-wait-to-move out frame of mind.
But the delight eclipsed slowly when I could not get the commitment letter from the buyer’s agent after several attempts. We had five thousand in escrow which should cover the liquidated damages. But my greenhorn self could not sleep over the fact that my sellers have to postpone their plan and that we have to start the process all over again. I was also hard on myself for failing to advise them not to dispose of anything yet until I the commitment letter was in my possession.
Their huge frustration over the deal which was ready to fall like the sword of Damocles dangling over our heads affected me immensely that I would write an e-mail to the buyer’s agent in the wee hour of the night to make a follow up for the umpteenth time hoping that I would wake up the next morning with a commitment letter attachment in my inbox.
Adding woes to the sellers’ misery was the filing of suit at the small claims court to get the five thousand deposit as their recourse. They waited six months to be heard at the court. The judge ruled in their favor. But the buyer’s lawyer, who was also acting as the trustee for the buyer—yes, the same person who signed the contract on buyer’s behalf—-filed a motion. A motion for ????. Hey, I am not a lawyer.
Hah.. Indeed, the “who you know” phrase worked. A different judge reopened the case and changed the ruling. How did it happen? I remembered hearing that all decisions made at the small claims court by the presiding judge would be final.
After months of anticipation, my sellers received a letter signed by the second judge granting them $1200 as liquidated damages instead of $5000. This specific manipulation of the system made me question the validity and strength of a contract which should be deemed binding and enforceable in the court of law. But I am not going that far and digress because my disappoinment is about to percolate.
The whole experience gave me anxiety-filled and sleepless nights months. My emotional attachment to the sellers muddled my professional responsibility. As years pass by, I get better in keeping my emotions in check lest be drained–mentally and emotionally.
Every transaction is unique and the worse part is there are things and factors involved which are completely beyond our control: Home Inspection, Appraisal,Titles, Personal Incidences, Final Walk-Throughs, etc. There could be an instance when a check evades your waiting hands right there at the closing table. This would be the moment which can precipitate an emotional breakdown.
Our job requires great labor coupled with uncertainty as our compensation remains in limbo until the check shows as an available balance in our account. Hence, we realtors, should hold our heads high for our resolve and undaunted perseverance. For our heart is filled with compassion but strong enough to resist surrender despite the odds. For the job we chose is not for the faint hearted.