DEALING WITH TIME-CONSUMING FIRESDirk Zeller
Time-consuming fires are the hot issues that result from the emotional turmoil involved in many real estate transactions. Sometimes they require calm and caution; other times you need to put on a fireman’s hat and start dousing the flames of a delayed closing, emotionally frustrated buyer or seller, problem co-op agent, or slow moving inspector, appraiser, or loan officer. Let the following rules guide your responses:
Rule #1: There is no closing issue that can’t wait an hour. When your transaction hits a snag, don’t let it dramatically change your day’s schedule. Wait to resolve the issues during the time you’ve blocked for administrative tasks.
Rule #2: A frenzied reaction only adds fuel to the fire. More often than not, when one closing party gets riled it’s because someone else in the transaction is riled – and hysteria is catchy. Aim to serve as the calming influence in the transaction. If the problem arises two hours before your predetermined administrative time slot, inform the parties that you have prescheduled appointments that you can’t change, but that you will be able to take action when you get out of the appointments in two hours.
Rule #3: Fires often burn themselves out. Rather than jump into the mess, give the issue a bit of time to simmer down. Remember that your prospecting and lead follow-up tasks are appointments to which you have committed. Sticking with your daily plan may give the issue time to cool or even resolve itself.
Rule #4: Don’t wait for a three-alarm fire to call for the pump truck. If the fire becomes hot, suit up your broker right away. Before the transaction flares out of control, ask for help. The longer you delay, the more effort you’ll spend getting the situation cooled down.