Penny Wise Foolish, Pound Foolish,
or, “Minnesota Not-Nice”

When it comes to real estate transactions, graciousness begets graciousness, and pettiness begets . . . lack of graciousness.

In the vast majority of deals, whatever tensions may have accompanied the negotiations are long forgotten, clearing the way for a warm and amicable closing.

Which is only natural:  long-time owners with many fond memories want to wish the incoming homeowners the best, and impart some of their pride and sense of connection.

And then there was the deal I closed last week, in my capacity as listing agent (representing the Seller).

Walk-Thru Issues

During the walk-thru the day before, the owner-to-be identified a small home repair that may — or may not — have arisen subsequent to their inspection six weeks before.

Instead of overlooking it, they insisted on a $100 credit — at closing — to do something that might, might have taken a good handyman 15 minutes to fix.  

This, on a $400,000-plus transaction.

Not wanting to jeopardize the closing, the owner — who’d already moved out of state and had pre-signed — authorized me by phone to pay the Buyer $100.

Phone call #2?

To Byerly’s immediately after closing, to cancel the $150 housewarming gift they’d ordered for the Buyer.

Short-Sighted Buyers

Even if there hadn’t been a gift basket waiting for the Buyer . . . such tactics are short-sighted and ill-advised.

Query:  in the event that the new owner needs some information about servicing the furnace, or matching paint colors, or fielding any one of dozens of post-closing questions that can arise — how eager is such a Seller going to be to respond?

Answer:  not very.

And how much might such information be worth?

Probably a lot more than $100.

P.S.:  Sellers who like their Buyers are also more likely to spontaneously offer neighborhood introductions, names of nearby babysitters and playmates, favorite restaurants,  etc.

About the author

Ross Kaplan has 19+ years experience selling real estate all over the Twin Cities. He is also a 12-time consecutive "Super Real Estate Agent," as determined by Mpls. - St. Paul Magazine and Twin Cities Business Magazine. Prior to becoming a Realtor, Ross was an attorney (corporate law), CPA, and entrepreneur. He holds an economics degree from Stanford.

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