Late on a Saturday afternoon, I received a phone call. The caller said he and his fiance had just driven by a Forest Lake listing of mine and want to know if I could them the inside. "Are you working with an agent?" I inquired. "No", he said. So we arranged for a showing of the Washington County home the next evening.
The young man and his fiancée arrived with an entourage of parents and assorted other relatives. Being first time buyers, they wanted assistance and approval from people they trusted when they made a final decision on their first home. Looking over the property from top to bottom, they liked what they saw but needed time to think. I asked the question I always ask, "When you are shopping for a home, are you shopping for a REALTOR®?" The young man's dad answered, "They don't need an agent because they will get a better deal working directly with the listing agent." I explained why this wasn't true but could tell from the look on his face, Dad was not convinced.
I explained agency and asked the young couple to sign the disclosure on agency as required by the State of Minnesota. Buyers need to understand that at any listing for my broker, I am under contract to work for the seller and protect their interests. If the couple decides to sign a buyers' representation agreement with me, they would be in a DUAL agency when looking at homes listed by my broker. They had seen many homes with other real estate agents, but I was the only agent who explained agency to them or asked them to sign the required disclosure.
Days later, a decision was made; the young couple wanted to make an offer. A contract was signed for buyers' representation for the specific home only. Dual agency now applies. As an agent working for both parties, I could not do anything that would hurt either the buyer or seller. Because it was only for the specific home, I could not discuss other property options. An offer was presented, but terms could not be agreed upon. The buyers moved on to another home.
A few weeks later the price was reduced on my listing. I called this young couple to see if the lower price would be enough to renew their interest. It would. But there was also another new construction house in a different area that was being considered.
Another showing. They were sure that they had it down to between the two homes. I could see the indecision and confusion on their faces. I asked about the other home they were considering to help them contrast it to my listing to help my selling clients and put their home in a better light. As with most homes, neither home was a perfect fit. I am a firm believer that after weighing all of the pluses and minuses, homes will sell themselves if it is the right home for the buyer. A week passed. No offer came forth.
Finally a phone call from the young man. We have made a decision. We are not going to offer again on your listing. It is not the right home for us. In fact, neither home is right. We are starting over. "Would you help us find a home?"
Now as their buyers' representative, I got to work. For the next few weeks, we visited a dozen or so homes from the hundreds currently on the MLS that met their criteria. Traveling from Stillwater to White Bear Lake and Hugo to Forest Lake we narrowed down the field of potential homes to two or three. Finally, one sparked enough interest for a second showing with the parents, but this home also had a few quirks that raised concerns. That same evening, since we were out, I set up another showing for a home in a development that hadn't considered. Funny thing was, the home was perfect!
With the perfect home, there were no delay or hesitation in signing the offer; everything just fell into place. With every visit to the home for the inspection and walk-throughs, the young couple became more excited.
At the final walk-through, with minutes to go before they were to receive the keys to their first home, I asked them, "So, are you glad that you decided to sign with a REALTOR®?"
They answered in unison a resounding, "Yes!! You made it so much easier to find the right home! Especially since for buyers." I don't make this stuff up...Those were their exact words.
After the closing, I received a hug and sincere, "Thank you for everything", from my young clients. As they set off to begin life in their dream home a thought struck me, what a fantastic job I have!
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