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By Kim Murphy
Murphy and Murphy Southern California Realty 

Real Estate Round-Up: R is for response


Last updated 7/10/2021 at 8:44am

Last week I wrote about questions and how important it is for sellers and buyers to be fully informed and the best way to do that is to ask questions. So, what about responses? How should a seller or buyer respond, when asked a question or finding themselves in an unexpected situation?

My mind works in funny ways. It almost never turns off, and songs, yes songs, often pop into my mind when life happens. Mostly they’re great songs like “Morning Has Broken,” when I see a beautiful Fallbrook sunrise, or when a

rocky escrow closes, “Oh Happy Days.” But the song “You Don’t Mess Around with Jim” popped into my mind at the end of a week of craziness, which led me to this topic of response. I hope you enjoy my humor. It is something I draw on regularly during my real estate week.

The lyrics go like this:

“You don’t tug on Superman’s cape,

you don’t spit into the wind,

you don’t pull the mask off that old lone ranger,

and you don’t mess around with Jim,” which my husband, Chris, quickly replaced with Kim.

Sellers and buyers often do all those things when they start to believe more in their position of control than in the trajectory of the transaction. What exactly do I mean? Imagine this; you are the seller, and you are in escrow for 5% more than what you originally wanted. The buyer is all cash, asking for no appraisal, and is willing to give you extra time to find your replacement property. Sounds like a surprisingly good deal.

But then you, the seller, decide you don’t want to do many of the minor repairs requested, the microwave breaks and you decide to put the old one from your garage in the space from the original one and it doesn’t even fit properly, and then, the final blow, when the buyer asks to bring his sister by to see the home he is in escrow for, you say no. This seller just tugged, spit and pulled the mask, then guess what? The buyer walked. Guess what? Karma kicked in and that seller isn’t getting any showings now.

How about this one: You are the seller, and you receive a cash offer with no appraisal contingency. The buyer asks for the seller to pay for a Home Warranty, which costs $520. The seller counter offers that they only want to pay half of the

cost of the Home Warranty. What? Talk about spitting into the wind over $260. You can’t make this stuff up.

The last seller story is truly unbelievable. Seller purchased his home nine years ago. He lists his home in hopes of more than doubling his money and almost triples his investment as multiple offers push the selling price considerably higher than

expected. Competing against multiple offers, the winning buyer offers free rent back so the seller can move out a week after close of escrow, and no appraisal contingency. But wait for it, then the buyer cancels because he is getting a


I don’t know about you, but I don’t think I’d be considering purchasing a home if I’m also considering divorcing my spouse. Can’t make this stuff up. First buyer cancels, so we call all the other agents who had clients that submitted offers that weren’t selected. One of those buyers still wants the home. Same price, fast close, no repairs. Seller is excited, and then before he signs, he thinks maybe he would like to rent the house out instead of selling it. Only problem is, he has a contract that specifically states if he decides to not sell the home, he owes commission. You don’t pull the mask off that old lone ranger.

Sellers are clearly not the only ones caught up in this song. Buyers do their share of doing their best to mess things up.

Picture this, Buyer wins the home. Buyer wins because he is cash, with no appraisal. Home is a 1970’s vintage that has been remodeled stem to stern. It does have Saltillo tiled floors, a few with cracks that the seller disclosed. Agent pointed

out the cracks to the buyer when he first saw the home. Buyer came back a second time to visit the home, and the cracks were once again pointed out. Buyer has a home inspection and then presents a request for repairs that includes a

request for nearly $10,000 to replace the cracked tiles and refinish the entire floor that ran throughout the home, except for the bedrooms.

Talk about tugging on superman’s cape and spitting into the wind, this request could have derailed the entire transaction. Fortunately, calmer heads prevailed, and the transaction closed… “Oh Happy Days.”

Another great buyer story goes like this. Buyer competes with five other buyers to get an impeccable property. This buyer pulls out all the stops to win the deal. The offer is all cash, $100,000 over the price the sellers wanted, and waives all contingencies including appraisal. Disclosures were sent to the buyer the day the offer was accepted by the sellers.

Literally five days before close of escrow, the buyer asks for a reduction in purchase price for the 29-year-old roof, a fact that was disclosed from day one. Call it what you want, these are all three of those phrases. Fortunately, a simple no from the sellers ended that discussion and the buyers purchased the home based on the terms of the agreed upon purchase contract.

So, what’s the moral of the story? Those lyrics are a truism of life. I ask myself daily why do people push their luck? Why do they poke the bear? Why do they tug on Superman's cape, spit into the wind, or pull the mask from that old lone ranger? Because if you do, you just may have to mess around with Kim.

Kim Murphy can be reached at [email protected] or 760-415-9292 or at 130 N Main Avenue, in Fallbrook. Her broker license is #01229921, and she is on the board of directors for the California Association of Realtors.


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