The art of Not Crying Over Spilled Milk…

There’s a lot of work done behind the scenes between realtors when it comes to making a deal. Selling or purchasing a home is a very emotional process for a buyer or seller…

As realtors, we need to understand how to gauge and approach a situation in the best interest of our client… Some do this better than others.

Just last week I was offering on a freehold townhouse at the edge of Mississauga and Toronto.. While showing the property, my client was very interested and was likely going to put an offer together. I called the listing agent to “feel him out” and he explained there were no offers and they would happily work together on coming to an agreement.

It’s always nice to have a good channel of communication with the other agent…. He seemed reasonable and I parlayed this information to my client.

Later that evening we submitted an offer… negotiated back and forth a few times and eventually it was accepted. My client was beyond excited with the price we got and the quality of the home she purchased.

Fast forward 1 day later and the listing agent text’s me at 11:00 pm at night saying “R U awake, we need to talk.”


I answer…

He says… “Steve… we accepted your offer on the basis that we had a VERBAL acceptance on another house. The listing agent of that home assured me that we had a deal, and then last minute… another offer came which the sellers accepted and now my clients will be out on the street if we close on our deal! We need to back out of the deal.”

Although I sympathize with the reality that their deal went sideways and they are now in a pinch… My client is beyond excited about the home and she will not back out of the deal… rightfully so!

I quickly explained to him that we have a legally binding agreement of purchase and sale and that we are not in a position to void the deal….

This is poor planning on behalf of this realtor and unfortunately his clients are now going to suffer for it….

Fast forward a few days to a seperate incident….

I show my clients a condo downtown which they are very keen on… Again, I call the realtor and explain that there is interest on our part and I proceed to feel him out.

He explains there is one registered offer on the property.

This is where rationale comes into play as a buyer agent. It’s my job to explain that one offer is registered and that we cannot let it cloud our vision on what the properties value is.

Fortunately, my clients were very calm and understood that there was no room for emotions in the offer process.. So, we sat down together and went through the comparables. We came to our perception of value based on the current state of the market and submitted our offer.


Fast forward a day and the agent reaches out to me and says neither offers will be accepted… He lists what he needs from my buyer to make the deal happen.

I said “Great, transparancy! I can appreciate this….”

I reach out to my clients and explain the current situation.. which they sleep on.

They reach out to me in the morning and say “Steve, we’d like to change our offer to accomodate the sellers requests.” All of which I believe are completely reasonable for the value associated with the property.

I reach out to the listing agent and let him know we will be submitting our offer with the requested changes…

He says “Great news Steve. Please send it over and we will accept it right away. I’m not going to wait for the other realtor to improve their offer.”

Although this is assuring… This is not a verbal industry… It’s a game of signatures, legally binding documents along with consideration (deposit cheques).

I made sure to let my clients know that we have verbal confirmation… but this meant very little and to not get their hopes up as the Toronto real estate market can be a bumpy rollercoaster ride!

So… I prepared the offer to reflect the agreed upon terms and sent it to the listing agent.

He confirmed receipt.


The listing agent e-mailed me, letting me know that they will be receiving the other offer from the competing buyer shortly and that they wont have an answer for another 2 days.

Wait a minute… I said “But you just verbally told me we had a deal… and that you werent going to wait for the other offer…”

Although dissapointing.. You cannot cry over spilled milk in this industry. I quickly explained the scenario to my clients and they said “you called it!”

If the deal does not happen, this is fine. Although it works great for my clients and the numbers work, we cannot get sucked into these types of games… These are all tactics to squeeze every last drop of $ a seller can from the buyer.

The next day… I got the email from the agent stating the other offer won the unit.

Early on in my career I would be upset… and possibly even let the listing agent know a piece of my mind. Experience has made my skin thick and the way I handle this situation, translates to my clients.

There is a lot of this out there folks… Make sure you get a realtor who has experience working in the market you are buying or selling real estate in…. Especially if it’s a hot market.. they will need to know how to navigate these situations without getting emotional…