Every real estate transaction is different, and every buyer, seller, agent, lender, title closer, et. al. is unique and different, too. Part of the Realtor's job is to help balance everyone's testy emotions and bring -- and keep -- everyone together from start to finish. So what I've learned is that "no deal is done until the money is in your hand."
That may sound harsh, but it's only the rule. And it means that things can sometimes go bad at the last minute if all of the pieces of the complex transaction don't come together properly. It reminds me of a line from a movie, "it's never over 'til the fat lady sings." (Anyone know the origin of that line?) Oh well . . .
The corollary to this "rule" is that all parties need to be happy and content at the end, too. The money is not the only test of a successful agent's transaction, but how satisfied the clients are at the end. Usually, once its over, most people's emotions "let go" of the stress they just endured and become their usual "warm and fuzzy" selves again. But not always.
I've learned that real estate transactions are very stressful for everyone involved, and that the stress can sometimes lead to hard feelings and disappointment. Fortunately, this unfortunate phenomenon is rare and occurs less than 2% of the time. (That means that 98% of the transactions end on a positive note!) This is where the Realtor "solidifies" the ongoing relationship with the client. Of course, a relationship has been building from the first contact . . . but no matter how great it seems, it only solidifies into a long-term relationship at the successful conclusion.
So maybe the rule should be, "no deal is done 'til the money is in your hand AND the client is satisfied." But is it really over?
Sam Ferreri, 40-year Realtor, 832-200-5656. RE/MAX Top Realty, the largest RE/MAX office in Houston, Texas.