These are turbulent times in our industry. More attention than usual has been thrust on real estate because of the generous first-time owners tax credits and other incentives which are being offered to Buyers. A new HUD-1 Settlement procedure goes into effect on January 1, 2010. The thrust of this new procedure is to protect the “unwary”. Never in my long career in residential real estate have I seen a group of Buyers with a greater sense of “entitlement”. Couple that attitude with a general decline in home prices, and you can have a problem on your hands if you are selling property.
I am finding more and more that the only answer to this situation for my Sellers is to “walk”. In other words, while my client wants to make the deal, he or she needs to show that there are limits to what is reasonable. The only way to articulate this position is to say ” I have had enough”: I” I am putting the property back on the market.”
A recent example. A client of mine thought she had a deal to sell a beautifult piece of raw land in a scenic spot in Southeastern Massachusetts. The price was agreed upon, and it looked like the deal was done. The Buyer was planning on putting a second home on the property. The attorney for the Buyer drafted a Purchase and Sale Agreement which was better suited to a multi-unit development than the purchase of a single lot piece of property. I told my client to “walk”. Turn the deal around. Tell the Buyer that this is not a game for his lawyer to show how accomplished he was at drafting. The strategy worked. The other lawyer was cut down a peg or two. We brought the deal back to reality.
It is not easy to tell your client that the best strategy is to walk away. Some Sellers are close to desperate. I truly believe that it is at these times that we, as real estate professionals, earn our stripes. You will be surprised at how quickly the tables turn when the Buyer finds out that his or her dream house is not going to be his or hers.