— Jeff and Pam M.
Face it, selling and moving is at best hard and at worst it can be a nightmare. Having a great realtor is your only defense. Who you pick matters greatly.
We have been through 6 Real Estate deals in the last 10 years and we used Sandie Hea for 5 of them. We only used somebody else for the 6th because we bought out of state and Sandie is not licensed in Tennessee.
After meeting to set it all up and with a more than a little trepidation we started showing the house, dreading the repeated vacating of the home at a moment’s notice for buyers to come look. But as it turned out we just had to meet with Sandie the evening of the first showing day to discuss the offers that continued to stream in even as we met. The upshot is there were 5 good offers to choose from and the house sold in 1 day. We could not have been happier.
The buyer came back with a short inspection fix list but it was over $1000. Sandie managed to work the deal such that a piece of furniture that would have been really really hard to move anyway, suddenly became an instrument of the negotiation and we managed to use the transfer of that furniture to significantly lower our inspection-fix costs.
The real fireworks started when the survey showed the neighbors had a piece of our property as part of their front lawn. The buyer understandably wanted it, and wanted us to fight it out with the neighbors on his behalf. The neighbors entered the fray with a claim of Adverse Possession. If you’ve never heard of Adverse Possession, it’s a legal concept basically citing the proposition that “I have pretended to own this piece of property for 10 years, therefore it is mine.” Incredibly, these claims often work.
We all worked with the neighbors and while it was never nasty it was uncomfortable. Sandie had to calmly talk us back off the ledge more than once during this multi-day episode. Everyone finally agreed to allow the property line to be reset if the Title Company paid the costs. (Thankfully we had Title Insurance.)
But not so fast. The neighbors (one of whom is a lawyer who did nothing here to improve the image of lawyers) at the last minute wanted to use this survey issue to capture a cool $5000 from the Title Company, threatening to break the deal the night before we closed. Thanks to some savvy and ethical people at Investors Title Company & a last minute agreement, the deal was saved. The solution was to make all paperwork signing and the property line changes on the day of closure. This of course required a group of workers and a Bobcat End Loader in our driveway throughout closing day.
And this was just the sell side of deal. As I said we had to use another realtor for our purchase in TN.
Never allow yourself to get mixed up in a dual agency situation. That is where the realtor works for and supposedly serves the interest of both seller and buyer. That is preposterous; it can’t be done, not by anybody. Dual agency should be illegal.
Our Tennessee realtor, who we also liked, presented us with a home he just put on the market for the seller. We knew better but stupidly went along with the dual agency situation. Now we were faced with having, not an advocate but a ‘facilitator’. It nearly drove us nuts. We couldn’t trust that what we said would not be immediately told to the seller. He told us things I felt he probably shouldn’t have, that the seller supposedly said. Operating without trust in a real Estate deal is almost impossible. Without Sandie’s help the deal would probably have blown up down there. She gave us a lot of advice about what to watch out for, how to make certain demands and what we should say and what we may want to keep to ourselves. It was still frustrating working this way; we were at one point literally about to fire the TN realtor. Thankfully Sandie agreed to speak with us and hear our concerns and basically convinced us that he was doing about as well as anybody could in this kind a dual agency deal. So we stuck with the guy.
Then another buyer stepped in behind us (we had a contingency but without a kick-out clause) and offered $30,000 more than our signed contract was for. Lovely. Now the seller, who liked us a lot when we bought his property 5 days into the MLS listing, now didn’t like us so much. And he didn’t like at all the idea of fixing anything on the inspection report. We were back out on the ledge ready to jump, figuring this thing was falling apart. Again Sandie talked us back and with an injection of logic over emotion we decided to try to make it work even with no inspection fixes. After a scary date negotiation the seller signed. We had a deal.
Without high quality realtors involved these deals would have never gotten done. As it all turns out we did have a pretty competent agent in Tennessee. And in St Louis we had a truly great realtor in Sandie Hea.