Free Fish

Pike Place Fish Market doesn’t have free fish. But if you want a fresh fish, this is the place to go in Seattle. The Farmer’s Market in Madison is the place to go for fresh farm products. Pike Place is something to see. On a hot summer day, the closed market smells like dead fish. The Farmer’s Market is a pleasure at 9 am. By 11:00 on a Saturday in July the crowds, hornets, sun are too much for me.

There are no free fresh fish, or free fresh veggies. You’re going to pay a price for the fishing and planting, and growing. The person who learns to fish, and tends a garden has a choice. Choose to fish, and plant. Do for yourself what others expect to be done for them and decide if getting your hands dirty is worth the effort. You’ll know.


Everything looks good at the buffet.

Nothing says you have to start on one end of the buffet, not the other. Free to choose, I know I should start with a salad. (I don’t.) The salad and protein make a filling lunch. Nothing else is necessary. By keeping the saturated fat, sodium, sugar, and cholesterol off of my plate, I have all the food I need to be satisfied, and my health protected. I know that. And the restaurant owner knows satisfied and healthy is not why I’m there. A 2000 calorie buffet meal is well within reach. In the end I’ll be full. Not satisfied. In fact probably a little unhappy with myself.

The way for me to eat at a restaurant and leave satisfied is to order off of the menu. Skipping the buffet, where there’s something for everybody, and all mostly unnecessary for me is the wise choice.

If the real estate offer to purchase began with a promise for a promise, and a handshake, it’s now the worlds biggest buffet of ifs, ands, ors, buts, and maybes. Contingencies are the extra dessert. The third helping of mac and cheese with sausage and bacon. Fried chicken, and ribs. Creamy slaw, and strawberry flavored jello.

A 15 page offer to purchase arrived for a client of mine last week. Either the buyer was piling the plate with everything that looked good, or the drafting agent was serving a little something of everything to satisfy the client. A multi point counter offer eliminated the dangerous fat, unnecessary carbs, and processed sugar. We removed what was dangerous for the seller and unhealthy for the buyer’s intent of owning the house. The counter offer was accepted as-is.

When your offer isn’t accepted sit on the other side of the table and look at your offer from the perspective of the seller. If your offer looks like a tray of plates piled high with saturated fat, salt, and sugar get out of the buffet line. Order off of the menu. Good chance that 3000 calories isn’t what you need to be satisfied.

Evaluating an Offer on Time, Money, Security,Commitment.

Full price offers capture attention and soften senses to the rest of the terms. The desire to get all of the money, or more, causes a seller to accept insecurity, release control, and commit to people who are not committed to the transaction. Helping a client evaluate the Offer based on all of the factors that matter most at some time in the transaction begins with expectations.

Maybe we spend too much energy on establishing a price when much of that energy could have been spent on aligning our expectations with reality. Reality is subjective (OK to disagree). A person’s goals and tolerance level are never in line with the terms of the current nine page Offer to Purchase in Wisconsin. We use a standard form to match unique expectations and we are surprised when we have conflict. Watch a seller sink from thrilled to a puddle when the full price offer is loaded with if, and, but, maybe, and high standards. As listing agents we have our work cut out in these cases but we can turn this frown upside down with patience and smart thinking.

To find common ground we have to align more than money between the parties. Time, money, security, and commitment aligned are indicators of the road ahead. Time of course is closing date and length of time a person has to wait for the other party to decide. Money is the purchase price and related costs to sell. But what is security and commitment? They are a series of the most important provisions of the Offer at some time or another from acceptance to walking out with a check. Sooner or later in the transaction, the security or commitment of the parties will stress or relieve one side or the other.

Let’s take security first. When you know the Offer to purchase has contingencies (risks, exit doors) easily identified and others laying in the weeds you are on your way. When you can interpret AND explain the purpose, impact, consequence, and maybe even the origin you have a chance to eliminate peril before the parties become entangled. Your client wants an opportunity to pick and choose what sentences of the Offer make them uncomfortable, will cause them to worry about the uncertain outcome (cause of worry). We can give them that chance by understanding what we are seeing, and really reading what we are seeing. (Paragraphs are made of sentences. Seeing one sentence and disregarding the rest is the common cause of problems. Words matter and skimming for what you want to see won’t expose the intentional words and those are the ones we regret not seeing when we see trouble.)

All sentences and all contingencies do not have to be used and in most instances using all contingencies is certain death to the Offer. A surgeon knows which pieces of the body can be taken out to keep us alive and she has the tools to cut and sew so the body works. Risk lives in the contract document. It’s either mine or yours. It’s either risk or not. It impacts time and money. The trick is to look at the risk from the other side of the transaction when you are on this side of the table. The question isn’t always what’s best for me? But instead, what’s more appealing to you. “Ask not what your Offer can do for you, ask what your Offer can do for the other guy”.

Commitment is the tie that binds buyer and seller. The shared belief that you want to accomplish the goal of the Offer by staying inside the boundaries of the agreement is apparent when you see it, and obvious when it’s missing.

Commitment looks like this: Prepared: person knows what they need to know before they start. They are informed and don’t require contingencies which allow them to change directions while the other side is left waiting. A prepared buyer has an underwritten letter of approval from a legitimate lender. She puts something more than typical in as earnest money. He does his research before so he doesn’t add contingencies he doesn’t need. Exit Clauses are doors. Some are two car garage wide. Others are scuttles in the closet ceiling. If a buyer can fit through, it doesn’t matter how wide the opening. An uncomfortable exit is still an exit.

A committed seller knows what they can tolerate, where they are going, when they are going, and understands the relevance of time, money, security, commitment before they see an Offer. A committed buyer does not dress the same way as the typical, risk averse buyer. Customization of their Offer shows who they are in terms of commitment. A person either has reservations, wants opportunity to reverse course, or is certain and driven to stay the course. If the Offer is extended by contingencies for issues which could have been resolved before the Offer was made, you have an indicator. When the earnest money is typical the commitment might be typical. When the terms eliminate the fear that causes stress for the Seller we can see commitment.

The licensee and attorney who take the time discover their client’s true security needs and commitment will customize an offer that speaks clearly to the seller and exceeds their expectations. Happiness and appreciation grow side by side. Expectations kept in check and expectations intentionally met will get your client the love they want. The closing date to an expectation matched client is easy to see. It’s right there. Every person who wants to provide a value in real estate can do that y learning the contracts. The one who does more to learn isn’t always the most experienced person in the process, but they are the most instrumental.