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Lessons from a leaky situation


Today has been… interesting…

Today’s appointment was suppose to be straightforward. The purchaser and I, plus the seller and their agents were to meet at the particular unit and an offer to purchase was to be signed by both parties. The offer to purchase/offer letter is basically when the 2% or 3% deposit is placed to boo the unit.

I arrived 10 minutes early and was walking to the unit when the seller’s agent SMSed. (Yes this was a *co-broke transaction.) “Hello, both the owner and I forgot to bring the keys for the unit. Let’s meet at … to sign the offer letter”. Since I was already on the way to the unit I thought ok… maybe I might as well stop outside the unit and call the agent back. Once outside the unit I saw shoes outside the door. I immediately called the seller’s agent.

It turns out no one forgot to bring the keys. In reality, practically half the unit was flooded in 2 inches of water! It seems the hot water tank had a huge leak and was flowing down the plaster ceiling of the master bedroom bathroom. As the unit was vacant, and the last time anyone was there was 2 weeks ago, who know how long the water has been running.

Once the purchaser arrived and saw the condition of the unit, we met at a nearby public area to sit down and talk things out. In our one hour plus discussion, I presented the issues on hand and in the end there was a mutual understanding to continue with the offer to purchase. A few number of clauses were included in the offer letter allowing the purchaser to have their deposit refunded in the event the condition of the unit was unacceptable.

Lessons learnt:

1. Be transparent to both parties. Initially the seller’s party was unwilling to allow the purchaser to see or realise the extend of the damage in the event the offer does not go through. But my rationale was that the purchaser has to realise the exact condition to be able to make an informed decision whether to go ahead with the purchase. It was only fair to both parties.

2. The ultimate goal is to see the transaction through the end. Just because the offer letter is signed and deposit paid means nothing if the transaction cannot be seen through. Yet knowing that this transaction may not eventually happen (due to the many clauses/issues), I had no qualms overseeing the offer to purchase. Who knows maybe things might work out?

3. I learnt that I was able to stay calm through the unexpected circumstance, and rationally work things out terms that were acceptable by both parties.

4. Off water source to water tank when unit is vacant.

* Co-broke. When two agents work together to enable a transaction. The two agents don’t necessarily have to be from the same agency. The commission will be split equally, 50/50. Why co-broke? It is not every time that an agent will be able to procure both the seller and the buyer. Co-broking is not without it’s headaches, but it does speed up transactions.

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