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Silence is Rarely Golden

About halfway through the transaction, my clients discovered that their contractor had not filed for a building permit nor sought municipal approval for their deck. They found out what it would cost to legalize it now, and how long it would take, and they knew it would screw up their moving plans. So they asked that I offer the buyers a $1,000 credit at closing to “overlook” the problem.

I discussed it with their lawyer, who said “that’s not enough.” I asked him to please talk to his clients and let me know.  It seemed like he said he’d do so, but a week went by without a response.  When I followed up, he said, “Oh, that’s not enough.” Had his clients asked for more money, or some other action such as an escrow agreement? No, because he hadn’t spoken to them. And this time he made it clear he wasn’t going to do so.

I called my clients and gave them the scoop. I told them that if I offered additional cash, they’d be negotiating against themselves, because the buyers didn’t even know that $1,000 was on the table. My advice was to call the buyers directly and discuss it, as the attorney was a roadblock.

The next day I heard back from Mr. Not Enough. Seems his clients needed to close soon to get their children registered for school and were planning to remodel the deck anyway, so $1,000 was absolutely acceptable.  

At the closing, my clients made a point to praise me for keeping them in the communications loop at all times. I thought it was just a gratuitous dig at the tight-lipped attorney, but it turned out to be an advertisement! A few years later, the buyers decided to sell the house (with an expanded and quite legal deck), and they called me to represent them.

***

Happy birthday, Linda!

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