It has been a frustrating month for me in the real estate business. Before my 2013 business really takes off, I have some transactions from last year that are still pending. All of the parties involved would have preferred to seal the deal in 2012, but various forces prevented that and so here we are….waiting.
All of us – buyers, sellers, agents, attorneys, lenders, inspectors, underwriters, movers – and all of the people who support us in our day to day business – hustled in December, and then put things on hold during the week of Christmas and the week of New Year’s while a lot of our offices closed. Then there is the few days it takes everybody to return phone calls and emails and get past Go.
At this point, I have 2 parties under contract ready to go and the actual closing dates are not yet nailed down. In one case, the buyer just changed jobs, so the lender is trying to work around an industry standard of the “2 pay stub” requirement. We are essentially waiting for another pay period to pass before we ask again. Then when it is approved we have to coordinate everyone’s schedules and try to get it done. This week we are in limbo – which is scary since the buyer has to be out of his current place by January 25th.
The other buyers – both active duty military – are expecting their first child in FEBRUARY! They bought new construction and were promised delivery in mid-December. In fact they looked at a lot of new home communities and selected this one because all of the others would not be ready until February, when their baby is due. And guess what? Their house is not going to be ready until February. The builder has a lot of excuses and in new home construction a buyer has little recourse for a delay of 60 days or less so we are in limbo. They are wearing out their welcome at a friend’s house, and they have had to ask the military for an extension on their storage, since they relocated here from Okinawa in September. And yes, they would like to paint the nursery before the baby comes!
And me? I would like these deals to close, yes. But mostly I am just the messenger – calling with little to no information or calling with more delays or bad news. I pride myself on my customer service and many of my clients compliment me on the positive experience they had with me as their Realtor. These clients, however, are growing frustrated and I am worried about how they are going to remember this experience. There is only so much I can do to keep them positive and hopeful. I can deliver flowers, but I can’t deliver them to their door. Yet.
Planning to Buy or Sell in 2013? Purchasing a new home or selling an existing home is already an emotional experience. Many entities have to work together in a successful transaction. Be prepared for setbacks and delays, and plan for contingencies. I try to advise my clients that the process might happen much more quickly – or much more slowly – than they are comfortable with. My best advice to be prepared for some unknowns, and try to maintain patience. The end result will be the same, and the time is going to pass no matter what. Happy New Year!
Catherine Jouet has a diverse understanding of home sellers, buyers and investors in the North Virginia and Washington, D.C. markets. Licensed in VA, MD, and DC, Catherine is a resource for all of your real estate needs. . Visit my website or Contact Me today