Let's Kill All The Underwriters!


In the words of William Shakespeare, let's kill all the lawyers, er, I mean underwriters.  Yes, let's kill all the underwriters.  I know this sounds a little drastic.  I'm somewhat emotional, coming off a bad week, but I still think this could be a good idea.  They are messing with our closings!

This isn't just my idea.  It's part of Shakespeare's plan forged by Dick the Butcher in part 2 of Henry VI.  True, he was referring to lawyers, but that's only because there were no underwriters 400 years ago.

In case you're interested, here's what sent me over the edge...

My buyer client was on contract in an earlier transaction.  She opted out on the CC&R's contingency and her $1,000 earnest money was returned to her.  The $1,000 actually came from her parents, so the underwriter wanted a gift letter and a copy of the parents' cancelled check since the refund was deposited in the buyer's checking account.  That was fair, and it was delivered within the hour.  We were hoping for lender docs that afternoon so the buyer could sign the next day and close on time.  Then, the underwriter insisted upon a gift letter for the "other $1,000 check".  What "other $1,000 check?" we asked.  There was no other $1,000 check.  She was referring, of course, to the check from Escrow refunding the earnest money, which meant she was counting the $1,000 TWICE.  We waste all afternoon hoping she would see the absurdity of her request before asking the loan officer to get a supervisor involved.  And, yes, we had to extend closing over this.

I understand that underwriters today need to be cautious.  There are still some big, bad unqualified buyers out there trying to get loans -- and there are also some big, bad penalties for the banks who fall victim to them (as if the banks were ever victims, but let's not go there).  C'mon, now.  Some of these underwriter requests have no bearing on rational thought.  We work pretty darn hard most of the time to bring our transactions together.  It's painful to then watch slightly-paranoid decision makers drive our buyers crazy with silly demands.  I'm surely not the only real estate agent who has wanted to fight back.

Maybe I went a little overboard suggesting we form a posse and commit mass murder.  After all, we are Realtors®.  Such behavior is surely against the Code of Ethics.  But we all need to vent a little from time to time.

The story, thankfully, will have a happy ending.  The buyer was able to sign docs yesterday morning.  Closing will be on Monday.

Welcome, I'm afraid, to the New Normal.


For Realtors@: "Play Toys" is Probably not on Your List of "To Do's" for Today


"Play toys" is probably not on your list of "to do's" for today -- or even yesterday, for that matter.  In fact, I would venture a guess that you haven't had "play toys" on your list of things to do for as long as you've had a list.  We've never met, but I've seen your list many times.  It goes something like this:

1.    Make prospect calls
2.    Work on scripts
3.    Call on FSBO's
4.    Make more prospect calls

I have a two-year-old grandson named Sebastian.  He has only one item on his To Do list - "Play toys."  Granted, he has no financial obligations, no mortgage payment or credit card bill to take care of each month.  But I can tell you what he does have:  he has the look of pure joy and fascination on his face most of the time.  How often do you find yourself bounding out of your crib in the morning, eager to start a new day?

Oh, rescue me from those real estate trainers who insist we must spend hours every day staying in touch with anyone who even knows our name!  Other than precious metal miners, name me one wealthy person who grew his fortune by prospecting for two hours every day.  And who was it anyway who decided it takes 25 calls to produce one good client?  How will we ever dip into the magical pool of the Collective Unconscious (where all good ideas lie) if we're always making cold calls?

I've studied Sebastian a lot.  Totally absorbed while playing with the same toy truck, he moves it back and forth along the window sill, turning it upside down, grabbing a little man to put inside, and probably taking it to magical places in his mind.  This is what puts that big smile on his face.  What is it about engaging with his imagination that brings him such pleasure?  And if it works for him, why wouldn't it work for us?  Every day, we're aiming for what Sebastian was born knowing (we were, too)...how to feel that joy.

Steve Jobs didn't become a visionary by performing tedious, rote activities, and Thomas Edison certainly didn't invent the telephone so he could make cold calls.  These men followed their inner voices and did what made their hearts sing.  Are we signing up for the trainers who will teach us to do that?

If you think I'm someone who just wants to get out of doing the tedious parts of my job, you would be correct.

Oh, my...

is that what I think it is?

Could it be the sun, peering out from beneath the clouds?

I'm in Seattle...and...the sun is coming out...I've got to run...

Play Toys!