Thursday, May 31, 2007

Issues, Smissues...(bring out the tissues)

Real Estate negotiations have been relentless, if not downright brutal these past several months in my fair city of Chicago. Grown men have been spotted sobbing at Title Company closing tables and the legal mouthpieces are certainly earning their shekels as the bartering continues deep into the final hour, often times culminating just seconds before the final T is crossed and the keys to Heaven are exchanged for the balance of Escrow. Lately, everyone seems to be grabbing with both hands from the metaphoric candy aisle conveniently located at the check-out counter of the Buyer's Market.

As a Realtor, I too have found myself at the foreront of this high seas Trick or Treat line with open briefcase, taking as much as I can for my own Buyers while, likewise on the List side, slamming the door as quickly as possible on the masked marauders trying to steal a deal from my Sellers. They hover around our properties like pirates in business suits and BMWs--sword and pen in one hand, low-ball Offer in the other, ready to pounce on the residential booty with the longest Market Time. Arrghh.

And once a deal is finally agreed upon, it doesn't end peacefully with simple Mutual Agreement and Signed Contract much less, a bloody handshake. More now than ever it appears, The Inspection is becoming the 'Deal after the Deal.' Whether it's involves New Construction, Condo Conversion or Residential Resale, the Home Inspection Report is becoming the preeminant catalyst in most Real Estate transactions I'm privy to these days. What used to be addressed exclusively in the 5 Business Day Attorney Review Period--conveniently nestled between Signed Agreement and Mortgage Contingency Period--the Inspection Period as of late, has been running right up to and beyond the Final Walk-Through with dollars and Seller Credits being re-negotiated even as the last RESPA is being printed out at the Title Company.

Note From Above: All subsequent Real Estate-centric prayers should be immediately redirected from the Appraisal Department to the Inspection Issue Department. Amen.

I was at a Closing last week and got up twice and headed for the elevators with my Buyers. Twice, we were called back to the table to find a remedy for overlooked Inspection Issues that arose during our Final Walk-Through of the property. Finally, a number was agreed upon and the deal Closed. It was nothing that simple Disclaimer and Disclosure (The Double D's of Real Estate) couldn't have addressed months earlier, had the Seller's side of the deal been more forthcoming. In the third hour at the table, someone went into their pockets for $5,000 (and a few tissues, I believe) more to make the deal happen---and it wasn't me. Sad thing was, we all left the building in silence feeling that no one really won. Even the Attorney attempted to tack on an extra $250 at the end. Maybe brutal is the wrong word, but relentless...for sure.

Geno Petro

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