Curb Your Enthusiasm: Don’t Uncork the 1978 Montrachet Until the Ink is Dry
Jotham Sederstrom Sept. 12, 2012, 7:45 a.m.
You’ve been working tirelessly, all summer long, on a really exciting, quiet, below-the-radar real estate deal.
After hours of careful planning to ensure success and predict any possible roadblocks, you create the perfect package to showcase the property’s unique attributes as well as address all of the owner’s possible concerns.
Several meetings later, the owner finally hires you to represent her exclusively in the marketing of her asset. You know you can get this deal done, but the seller gave you a short window. You have 30 days to get an acceptable offer into contract. Having spent the time exploring the best possible outcome, you are confident that you can deliver what you promised.
You diligently select the top investors who have the ability and wherewithal to close this transaction quickly and without any drama. You call them and walk them through the deal, detail by detail, step by step, dollar by dollar.
Finally, one of the investors jumps off the carousel and grabs the golden ring, striking with an offer that hits the seller’s target. The deal terms are confirmed and the paperwork rushed off to the appropriate attorneys.
The seller is impressed with the speed and accuracy of your performance. She owns many more deals and begins talking about her plans to have you represent her on all of them.
You can’t contain your euphoria. You are now looking really good in the eyes of the owner, investor, attorneys and all related parties. Your feet haven’t touched the ground as you move the deal expeditiously through to contract stage and two rounds of comments and redrafts.
It’s the perfect scenario. Both sides have cooperative attorneys who are quick to address the task at hand and openly communicate with all parties. All participants are on point and the transaction is flowing smoothly. A broker’s dream deal is playing out like a well-orchestrated opera.
The clock is ticking. The seller has set a time limit for the contract to be executed. Knowing that time can kill a deal, you skip every meal, wasting not a moment as you live, breathe and dream this contract.
The deal is in final executable form, ready for signature. You hold your breath waiting for the final bell to toll.
Then in comes “The Call.”
The buyer’s attorney sheepishly tells you that the buyer misread the property’s description. He thought the building was much larger than what was stated on the setup.
Based on his new understanding of the square footage, he’s no longer interested. He’s out. Finito, Done. Kaput. Like a snowflake melting in the sunshine, all the happy former thoughts of your successful mission swirl down the drain of failed, broken and dismembered deals.
As you struggle to remember all of the reasons why you didn’t choose to be a dentist as your mother had hoped, you peel yourself off the floor and look long and hard into the humbling mirror of disappointment.
The reflection that stares back at you is surprisingly comforting. It’s you. The same talented, skillful and experienced broker as before. Setbacks happen to every broker, owner, investor or attorney. Some things are simply out of your control. It’s not that there won’t be bumps in the road. That’s all part of the process. The art of driving a deal is like driving a boat through a rough current. Sometimes we get seasick, while other times we navigate the waves expertly. Keeping your hands on the steering wheel is the best you can hope for during turbulent times. Keep your focus and stay the course.
If it wasn’t for the waves and disappointments along the way, we would never be able to appreciate our success.
A spiritual healer once reflected that feelings only last eight seconds unless you feed them thoughts. The event of losing the deal was disappointing, but take a pause, don’t personalize it and squeeze out a learning opportunity.
The best remedy is to pick up the phone and make your next call. Get back in the boat, hands on the steering wheel and ride like the wind.
Adelaide Polsinelli is a veteran real estate professional with more than 25 years of real estate brokerage experience. She is senior director at Eastern Consolidated, an investment sales firm in New York.