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Oh, the Places You Will Go!

You Can’t Do a Good Deal with a Bad Guy

My Grandpa Gerald was a sayings guy.

My Grandpa Gerald had a saying which was “you can’t do a good deal with a bad guy.” He followed this mantra in business. If he didn’t care for someone’s character, then he just wouldn’t do business with them.  Too many problems and negative energy.  In our business I’ve followed suit in who we hire and who we take on as clients.  Move the earth with any reasonable request for a customer is a good way to put it. However, if the person is “Cray-cray” it’s best to stay away. Maybe I’ll use that saying as my mantra.

Dr. Suess had another way of saying it in his book, “Oh the Places You Will Go.”

You’ll look up and down streets. Look ‘em over with care.
About some you will say, “I don’t choose to go there.
With your head full of brains and your shoes full of feet,
You’re too smart to go down any not-so-good street.

The hardest part of any Real Estate transaction is juggling the different personalities.  You have 2 parties comprising of Buyer and Seller.  In the majority of cases, it consists of husband and wife who have 2 personalities.  Then you have 2 Real Estate agents.  Inspectors.  Closing companies. Surveyors. Photographers. Videographers. Insurance people.  Title companies. Mortgage brokers. HOA. Handymen. Sometimes Lawyers. Sometimes Managing Brokers. The list goes on and on. It’s a lot of people and a lot of personalities. What could possibly go wrong?

You can steer clear of a lot of what Dr. Suess and my Grandpa were talking about but when you have so many interesting and colorful characters at the racetrack as John Candy eventually did avoid in Uncle Buck, sometimes you just have to deal with it. The odds are if you pick dealing with someone who has a win-win mentality, then it will be a smooth transaction. However, there are times when you can’t recognize it, times you want the house or need to sell and you have to deal with a difficult personality, and there are so many vendors involved that someone can be difficult along the way.

Usually, the Buyer and Seller set the tone.  Sometimes circumstances come at play or other personalities but oftentimes it’s the Buyers and Sellers.  Lots of things set people off.

People get goofy.  Stress can run rampant.  Sometimes someone gets sore, and they don’t let people into the house which compounds and multiplies bad feelings. That in turn puts the Realtors on the spot and negative energy spreads.

A few weeks back we had a Realtor on the other side of the transaction get into an altercation with a contractor and called the contractor “FAT”.  The agent then became mysteriously unavailable to let the Buyers into the house and I’m finding myself excusing myself at the dinner table trying to smooth things over with our agent and the other managing broker at 9pm on a Friday night with friends on vacation.

So, here are 5 few tips to handle tricky situations.

  1. Try to put yourself in other people’s situations. Understanding their personality type and circumstances helps.  If you are the type that lets things go easily, and you are dealing with an exacting personality type who is under pressure, it will take work on your part to really get what is occurring.
  2. Listening usually solves most issues. Make sure your Realtor is adept at it. There is the 3 times rule which an old 6 foot 6 towering giant of a salesman named Otis taught me early in my career. It usually works in marriages as well. It goes like this.  When the other side needs to vent, don’t interrupt them.  The first vent may go on a minute or a minute and a half.  Then a second vent occurs. That one is usually 30-45 seconds and is a shortened down version of the first vent. You need to show you are actively listening or you will get a “are you listening to me???” stare! Finally the last vent is about 15 seconds and the person is out of breath at this point.  Sometimes there is a sputtering 4th or 5th vent.  Only after you’ve heard them and they have finished talking, can you talk.
  3. Time.  Sleeping on it usually helps.  People need time to digest situations.
  4. Legal.  We had one transaction where a Seller would not fix what was in the contract.  In this case, understand that your Realtor is not a lawyer and you could be in jeopardy for not signing or closing.  However, you are dealing with legal contracts and there are remedies. The AS IS contract calls for 125% of the cost estimate of any items that need fixing to be put in escrow.  If the Seller still refuses, a Buyer can close and have an attorney write a letter documenting the situation. Something like, “I am closing under protest, and preserve my rights to pursue legal remedies to recover damages.”
  5. Just do the right thing. If you are a Seller, give the house a nice cleaning. Compromise if it’s reasonable. Let the Buyer see the house with reasonable notice and reasonable frequency for themselves, family, and contractors.  Have your Realtor set boundaries in case you have a dominating Buyer or Seller personality and a Realtor who is unable to give reasonable pushback.

Out there things can happen
And frequently do
To people as brainy
And footsy as you.

And when things start to happen,
Don’t worry. Don’t stew.
Just go right along.
You’ll start happening too.



Remember the goal is to get you into your new place and out of your old place. Keep your eye on the place you’re going. Once the deal closes, it’s all behind you.


Jeff Lichtenstein is owner and broker of Echo Fine Properties, a luxury real estate brokerage selling real estate in Jupiter  and homes in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida. He has 20 years of real estate experience, has closed over 1,000 transactions, and manages over 70 agents in a non-traditional model of real estate that mimics a traditional business model.  Some publications he has been quoted in.

Feel free to ask him a question directly at jeff@EchoFineProperties.com including a complimentary real valuation of your home.

Posted in Open House Blog, Real Estate Tips on August 6, 2022 at 9:31 am.


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