There are oodles of “don’t do this” and “be sure to do that” lists available on the net for real estate advice but I thought I would rack my brain of 23+ years of real estate experience for a few ‘non-traditional’ pieces of advice. Everything you are about to read is true. SOME names, however, are changed to protect the… the… less than smart.
Don’t take a fake wife to closing. I had sold an investment property to this particular buyer a few years back. When the title department was preparing the closing paperwork, they discovered the buyer was married. They called him and told him he would have to bring his wife to closing to sign all of the closing paperwork. He arrived at closing with his wife, getting ready to sign all the docs. The loan officer, Ted, then asked them for photo ID to verify their identities. She said she forgot her purse at home. Ted said “No problem, run home and get it and we’ll get back together in an hour.” What followed was several minutes of eerie silence until the buyer finally fessed up and said, “Um, this isn’t my wife.”
So away they went and an hour later he did indeed bring his ‘real’ wife to closing, not his girlfriend. But here’s the kicker, It was the wife’s idea not to come. She told him she was too busy and wanted him to take ‘Amy’ instead… True story…
Tell your loan officer the truth (part 1). I had sold a house I affectionately called the patriotic house because every room was red, white, and blue. The buyer had a prestigious job at a large local railroad company and his loan application went fine, or so we thought. This was before loan officers ran full credit checks and did just ‘preliminary qualifications’ with income, debts, and job history.
One of the questions asked as “Mr Jones, do you pay child support?” to which “Mr Jones” answered “No.” Fast forward a week when the full credit report came in and he was over $30,000 behind in back child support payments. The loan officer called him on the phone and was told the following; “Mr Larsen, you asked me if I PAYED child support, not if I was supposed to pay it. I don’t pay it!” You just can’t make this stuff up!
Tell your loan officer the truth (part II). Same question, a couple of years later with a young couple in the loan officer’s office when the following question was posed: “Are you obligated to pay child support?” He nodded yes while she nodded no… Turns out there was a little ‘Mr. buyer’ running around that he failed to disclose to Mrs Buyer… They stepped out into the hall to have a discussion and never came back in… Guess that one should have been titled ‘telling your wife the truth’.. Yikes!
You never know who’s watching… This story took place before the internet when we actually had big thick MLS books that came out biweekly with all of the homes for sale in them. All the info was turned in by the real estate companies but the MLS office took exterior photos of all the homes. One of the agents in the office had taken a client out to lunch whose house he had just listed.
When they got back, the MLS books had just arrived. Don said “Hey Charlie, I think your house should be in this issue.” So they thumbed through the book and lo and behold ‘Charlie’s house’ was in there. Upon further inspection Charlie said “Hey, what’s my boss’s car doing in MY driveway?” Well, you guessed it, turns out Charlie’s wife and boss had a little something going on. Apparently, the boss would make sure “Charlie” was busy on projects in the office for several hours at a time. Busted!
Watch future blogs for more stories about this nutty business. One thing’s for sure, good market or bad, there’s never a dull day in Real Estate!
Bill Swanson is an agent with CBSHome Real Estate, an affiliate of HomeServices and Berkshire Hathaway.
For more information, email Bill at Bill.Swanson@cbshome.com.