Thursday, May 2, 2013

Pearland Realtor Has Customer Service Nightmares!

Pearland Realtor Story . . . Can you help me???

Yes, I'm up at 4:00 am with nightmares about the customer service issues I had to deal with yesterday.  One thing about a changing market is that everyone reacts.  Good, bad, happy, sad, greedy, opportunistic, needy, impatient, overzealous, sweet, kind and many other adjectives could be used to describe the emotions and reactions of buyers and sellers in today's marketplace.  It's all over the board. Mostly, they've read the media hype about a sudden upturn in the market.

True that.  The story of Jane Doe (not her real name) is the epitome of the market change.  Jane listed her home for sale in one of the oldest sections of Silverlake in August 2012, after having purchased it in September 2010.  I have sold this particular house 4 times in the last 15 years, and am very familiar with it.  The prior owner spent $25,000 in renovations on this -- one of the smallest, least expensive homes in the area.  It had granite countertops, stainless steel appliances, updated bathrooms, and much more.  However, through this ownership, the carpet was worn out and it needed a paint job.  But after owning it for only 2 years -- and a high loan balance -- our mutual objective was to "get her out of it" without a huge loss.

Being young and single, the home required extensive staging to get it ready for market.  Enter my exceptional "stage 'n shoot" crew who got the job done.  Two weeks later, we were ready for market and created an exceptional photo package for online marketing.  Over the next 5 months, the home had 83 showings and (at least) 3 offers.  (Remember, this is the end of 2012 . . . nothing was selling.)  The best offer was $3,000 less than list price, for cash.  Jane said "no."  She was only willing to take $1,000 less than list price (which was $10,000 more than she paid, just 2 years prior).

The market had been FLAT since Hurricane Ike, so we figured that this was going to be difficult.  Other offers came in, but at much lower amounts (more like $10,000-15,000 below list price).  As Realtors, we are duty-bound to present ALL offers to the seller for consideration, no matter how low or ridiculous.  It is the seller's job to make the decision -- with our advice -- as to how to proceed.  As it turned out, a buyer came along in January 2013 who was willing to pay exactly what Jane wanted, subject (of course) to inspections and appraisal.

As you can guess, the appraisal came in $5,000 below list price (or $4,000 below the contract amount). Since financing is dependent upon the appraisals -- and with my appraisal background -- I began an appeal of the appraisal on my client's behalf.  With supplemental data that I provided, the appraiser raised his estimated value by $3,000, making it just $1,000 below the contract amount.  The seller accepted it and we closed.

Yesterday, on my way home from work, I received an email complaint that this seller filed -- now almost 4 months since closing -- claiming that we did not represent her best interests.  Really?  Seriously?  Are you kidding me?

My team closes over 200 transactions each year, ranking us in the Top RE/MAX Teams in Texas, year-after-year.  So one complaint in the last several years?  I just need to reply and move on . . . please help!

Using my best customer service skills, I want to reply as follows:  "thank you for raising your concerns.  We strive to hit our customers' and clients' goals through diligent market research and conscientious negotiations.  Sometimes, timing and market conditions have a profound effect on our work.  I am sorry that you feel as though you "broke even" rather than profited from your home investment in just two short years.  And no, I'm also sorry that we cannot refund your money."  (Funny how that became the focal point of her email . . . now 4 months later!)

Help me!  You would advise me to add or say:  "___________________."