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Archive for August, 2008

As those of you who have done a relo deal know, relocation companies can be a pain in the rear with due diligence that resembles a colonoscopy. In addition to paperwork that releases them from even a whisper of liability or risk, they always want to see the mortgage commitment and contract for the buyers down the chain. If you are selling your house and buying a relo, the firm won’t go forward unless you provide them with information that verifies the solidity of your sale. I have never seen it otherwise.

Today I got a call from my client’s lawyer informing me not to provide the relo company with my clients’ buyer’s mortgage commitment or purchase contract. I asked why. “I have a moral, ethical and legal issue with providing the relo company with material that is none of their business,” he told me. While I was assured that he wouldn’t kill the deal (cough cough), he felt it time that someone make a stand with these unreasonable demands made by relo firms, who, in fairness, position themselves as God in a transaction.

He has a small point- our purchase is not contingent on mortgage or sale of my clients’ home so their buyer’s information is actually immaterial. However, I really think that this guy has too much time on his hands. If the buyer’s of my client’s home were selling a home too, I’d want to see their buyer’s mortgage commitment and contract as well. It is part of advocacy and having a handle on the deal.

Watching an attorney duking it out with a relocation company is like watching  a termite fight with a cockroach; you kind of hope they both lose. Here in New York, attorneys are too often self aggrandizing pains in the caboose who create more problems than they prevent. While I dislike the sometimes draconian lengths relo companies go in a transaction, it is part of the landscape we are all used to. Not only that, the only real outcome of this line in the sand the attorney is drawing will be to delay the closing at best, and possibly tank the deal. Observing this fight between the termite and roach make me wish for just one thing: a giant magnifying glass.

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This piece of news highlights the precarious position some agents are in when confronted by the racial bias of buyers, or, as in the story, an undercover tester from the state. There will always be a tension between a desire to placate the client and coyly pretending that a predominantly Martian area is about the same as one with mostly Venetians.

After 12 years in this business I still get uncomfortable when a client states their locale preferences in racial or ethnic terms, or, worse, turn out to be an outright bigot. New York is a very diverse place, so this isn’t altogether rare. I may very well have lost sales because I informed people that race or ethnicity was not a criteria I could help with, but I won’t lose my reputation or livelihood for one sale either. Moreover, the right thing, as a professional in this industry, is to dispense with the notion that color or nationality is a legitimate component in evaluating a place to live.

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This guy did…sort of. Oh, he kicked them out all right. They just weren’t buyers.

I ask when they were looking to buy and when they were planning on moving down to NC from “XX”.

Then I got the answer I was not looking for.  “Oh, we are just down here visiting cousin Joey.  We did not have anything else to do today, so we are going around just looking at homes around the area and none of us are moving down here.”  I ask, “So none of you are actually looking to purchase a home.”  Then the straw that broke the camels back.  One of them says, ” We were just bored, so we started calling around to see who would let us see homes.” 

I cracked and said..”Ok, Let’s all just Stop.  No one is looking to Purchase”  Got a resounding and echoing “No”.  I then lay in and say “It is time you all leave, You have just waisted an hour and 1/2 of my time, and two gallons of Gas at $4.20 a gallon, you had my sellers leave the home and me leave my family, so your family could be entertained at my expense…I do not think so.

He absolutely did the right thing.

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