LitaWrites (real_lawyer) wrote,

Lawyers Don't Let Buyers Buy Drunk (Another Blast From My Past)

The following appeared in my blog on Jun. 8th, 2007--I got quite a few private e-mails and comments from newer readers that they enjoyed my reaching into my archives, so here's another re-run:

At lunch the other day with a mortgage representative, she and I talked about the fickleness of many in our industry, and the foolishness of counting on some real estate agents for referrals. I do not seek referrals from agents (except those who are clients or friends), though I know many colleagues do. I have been lucky to have the majority of my clients referred by other clients, so I can feel a bit detached from those who network and befriend the local agents, seeking their business. That is a job in itself, as agents come and (mostly) go in a tough market.

Though there are wonderful exceptions to the stereotypical real estate agent who makes a referral to an attorney because it is known s/he won’t rock the boat and question the terms of the deal, they are all too few in my experience. At lunch I recalled for my companion an agent from many years in the past, who bad-mouthed me to anyone who would listen because I’d “killed a perfectly good deal”.

In the first place, what reason would I have to not proceed forward on a good deal? I don’t earn a living turning away business.

In the second place, let me share with you the details of that “perfectly good deal” I had supposedly single-handedly demolished. My client made an offer to buy a house that was accepted. An inspection was done and in between the slanderous agent calling me to say the house passed muster and my calling the seller’s attorney to request contracts, I got a call from the buyer’s mother (who had originally referred her son to me).

After I hung up the phone with this mother who was both upset and angry, I dialed the seller’s attorney to say the deal was dead, though I was not then authorized to say why. However, I can tell you why, 20-some years later and under the cloak of anonymity: the buyer was in jail, having been arrested for drunk driving with a revoked license. As he made his living in outside sales, he lost his job due to his DWI conviction being revealed when he got picked up again (this was in the pre-internet days when applicants might sometimes get away with lies on their applications). 

A man without a job, sitting in a jail cell, was not a desirable candidate to obtain a mortgage and buy a home, his mother and I agreed. But as soon as I made the courtesy call to the attorney, I became the slayer of viable transactions and a scoundrel to be bad-mouthed all over the county!

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