Buyers are liars, even in Mayberry
Despite all of his shortcomings, Barney Fife is one of the most lovable characters in Mayberry. In one episode, Barney decides that being a real estate agent is going to be his new career and starts to line up a chain of sales including the home of Andy Griffith.
While all of this is happening, Opie is trying to sell his bike to a friend without disclosing all of the defects. Andy happens upon the transaction and stops it in its tracks when he tells the truth about the bike.
Andy tells Opie, “When you are selling something, the buyer has a right to know everything that’s wrong with it, otherwise it’s not quite honest.”
Later in the show, Barney brings his clients to Andy’s home for a showing. Barney does his best to showcase the home, and Opie does his best to make sure that the buyer’s know everything wrong about the home. And I mean everything. It’s not long until the buyers are running out the door.
When they leave everyone is mad at Opie because they thought he was getting revenge for losing the bike sale. Then Opie reminds Andy of what he said earlier about honesty.
It’s a funny episode that shows how people change when money is involved. You can watch it here.
In my experience, I’ve found that most people are honest in their real estate transaction. Every so often you run across that bad apple. They give buyers, sellers and Realtors a bad name and a tough obstacle to overcome.
I’m usually good at discerning people’s intentions, but the best manipulators have a unique ability to fly under the radar.
These hucksters might think they are getting away with something, but they usually get caught in the process. And in the end, they have wasted much of your time and energy.
It would be easy to get cynical about real estate over time. I decided to go in another direction. Instead of blindly trusting everyone, I will trust first and then verify.
And by verify, I mean dig deep. If you receive a pre-approval letter from a buyer that’s a great start. If you have any concerns about getting to the closing table, pick up the phone and talk to the lender. Explain your concerns and ask them to provide a reasonable answer. If they don’t give you the answer you need, ask more questions.
Hold them accountable for the reporting requirements in the contract. Follow up to make sure they are upholding their end of the bargain. These things do not guarantee that it will close, but they sure put the odds in your favor.
What’s your single, biggest concern with real estate transactions?
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