I recently saw the play Kim’s Convenience at the Soulpepper theatre in the Distillery District in Toronto. It was back in town and considering I had heard such good things about it last year, I was thrilled to have the chance to see it. I enjoyed it tremendously, finding it funny, poignant, well written and well acted.
Before the play began, I was looking at the set on the stage, a very realistic convenience store. It struck me how well certain aspects of my job would translate to a play. You could easily construct sets that show the interior of homes during showings or open houses. As for whether there are any interesting stories to be told in such a set, believe me, real estate is full of interesting stories!
Let’s see how good you are at separating truth from fiction. Below are a number of situations I found myself in as a realtor. One didn’t actually happen to me – can you tell which one?
Three times the agent, or three times the agents?
At an open house I met a woman who said that while she didn’t want to purchase the house I was listing, she would like to see other homes out there. She explained how she had been working with another realtor but she didn’t want to work with him any longer. We discussed her needs, I researched options and we went out a few times to see homes. One home in particular struck her fancy and she seemed to feel immediately at home. She asked me to find out information on the utilities and I promised to do so.
Later that day I spoke with the listing agent and explained I had a client who liked the home and asked for the utilities details. To my surprise, he immediately asked me if my client was named X. When I said yes, he told me that I was the 3rd agent to call today to ask that question on behalf of the same woman and that I should check to see if I was actually her agent. I called “my” client and left a voicemail message explaining his reaction and asking if she was working with other agents on the same house. I never heard from her again.
In working with a client looking to buy in Brampton, we found a home we wanted to make an offer on. The agent and sellers were of east Indian background. When I submitted my offer, the listing agent called me up and very agitatedly told me that I could not submit an offer at that price. Somewhat taken aback, I explained we felt it was a fair offer for the house, based on my research of comparables and the overall market. He was adamant that I could not submit such a price.
I began again to explain my rationale, only to be interrupted by the other agent. “No, you can’t! It is too high!” He told me how we needed to come in very low so that we could negotiate back and forth and end up at that number, and as such, he couldn’t present the offer we submitted to his client!
The answer is no.
In the final stages of the sale of a home, I received a call from the purchasing agent. She explained that they had received the results of their home inspection. There were no major issues but they had noted that the concrete in the garage was cracked due to tree roots and that would need to be dealt with. My client had told me about it and indicated they would be willing to give a credit of some amount if need be.
The purchasing agent then said the following. “My clients wanted me to ask if we could get some sort of credit for that repair. I told them you wouldn’t give any sort of credit, but I told them I would ask. They are fine with not getting a credit. Do you think your seller would give a credit?” After thinking about it for half a second, I said no and she told me that was what she thought and they would send over the waiver this afternoon.
Trust me, you don’t need an agent.
A client was looking to purchase a home in a more rural part of the GTA and found a home they liked that was being sold by the owner himself. They visited it once on their own, then had me look into comparables and contact the seller to introduce myself as the agent for the couple that had visited the day before, and arrange a 2nd visit. The seller said they were willing to pay a flat rate fee rather than the typical percentage based commission and I said that was fine. Shortly after I spoke with the seller, my client called to tell me that the seller had called them directly and urged them to not use me as there would be less negotiating room if I was being paid to work on their behalf. My client saw the value in using a realtor and told the seller as much.
We visited the property and nearby comparables I had researched, discussed the lengthy history of the attempts by the current owner to sell the house and submitted an offer. We negotiated back and forth but the seller was not willing to lower his price to the market value and we did not purchase the house. Shortly after the deal died, the seller contacted my clients directly again to urge them to cut me out of the deal and instead deal directly with the seller so he could offer them a discount equal to my commission. The price would still be too high and again, my clients explained they saw the value in working with me and declined. The house is still for sale at unrealistic price.
The question is, which one of these incidents didn’t actually happen? Truth be told, they all happened! However, one of them – the purchase in Brampton where the offer was too high – didn’t happen to me. I heard this story from a fellow agent. For those of you who are curious, she told the listing agent that was the price and they weren’t going to play games. The seller accepted the offer, much to the disappointment of the listing agent I am sure.
Working in real estate can be extremely entertaining and you get to meet a wide variety of characters. I will leave it to my friends who graduated in theatre studies to write and stage the play, but I am kept energized by the mix of people I interact with on a daily basis.
Do you know anyone who is looking to buy, sell or invest in real estate? If so, I would appreciate you emailing or calling me with their name and contact information so I can get in touch. I promise the only stories they will tell you about me will be good ones!