The Buyer knew the Seller was going to be a challenge from the get-go. Everyone made sure of that.
The Buyer's agent prepared her for an unpredictable Seller that needed to sell but wasn't prepared to move. The Seller's agents were missing in action, likely because of the Seller's uncooperative actions.
The Buyer wanted the house though.
The escrow wasn’t exactly fun, inspectors were turned away, access was rarely granted. There were threats from the Seller standing akimbo on the lawn, fist waving at the gentle sewer inspector. The Buyer's sole consolation was that once the transaction closed she and her four cats would be in her new home before the holidays. Four cats that were at the time traveling from Ashville, North Carolina to this Los Feliz home in the back of a very large moving-truck.
At 9am the buyer's agent picked up the keys and met the buyer at the property in the pouring rain. The moving truck arrived and 4 stressed out cats could be heard howling through the walls of the trailer.
Upon entering the home they became uncomfortably aware of a new problem. The Seller had not packed a single box let alone any of the furniture that filled each unforgiving square foot of the house. Where was the Seller? Oh there she is. Hiding under a blanket on the couch...in the dark...pretending not to be there.
The first time buyer, freaked out. This wasn’t what she bargained for. She had had enough and couldn't take it anymore. It also became more than creepy.
Someone needed to fix this. NOW.
Someone did: The Crisis Manager.
The buyer's agent put on his gloves and got everyone to calm down. He had his assistant pick up boxes, coffee and donuts. He then rallied the neighbors into a unified packing task force. A cab was called, which the Seller was literally carried and deposited into and sent away to a newly booked hotel room. Within 6 hours the cats were somewhat comfortably inside and the moving truck was empty.
Things were back on track. Someone yelped the obligatory "crisis averted!"
True story. This happened to us.
When I hear that agents are lazy and will be replaced by technology or that agents are overpaid, I remember that day in the rain. I remember the look of fear and hopelessness on the buyer's face. I remember the quivering lump on the couch. I hear the cats.
Maybe there will be an app/service/technology in the future that replaces agents.
One thing I am pretty sure of is that whatever comes to replace us agents it will have to handle the crisis management.
The Crisis Manager is the experienced agent, office manager, broker/owner or team leader that fixes messy transactions like the one described above. The degree of messiness varies, but the messes are very common.
It’s the mess that makes agents valuable.