How to Avoid Great Real Estate Deals Falling Apart

How to Avoid Great Real Estate Deals Falling Apart

  • Matt Shrake
  • 12/6/23

In an era when real estate deals are tougher than ever -- low inventory, high-interest rates, competition from institutional investors, questions about the economy, and on and on – making the right real estate deal stick is more important than ever.

Whether buying or selling there are multiple reasons a seemingly good deal falls apart. Every once in a while, it’s unavoidable. But most deals that fall apart are avoidable with forethought, experience, and sang-froid.

From Matt Shrake’s nearly 30 years of experience, here are a few tips:

1. Going the Extra Mile

This may seem obvious, but not everyone is willing to do it. That goes for real estate agents, title companies, inspectors, vendors, escrow firms, or lawyers.

Shrake said he remembers a deal that he saved for a client who may have backed out of the deal – and regretted it. The client was a buyer going through a major life transition, but was out of town on a business trip when the perfect multi-unit property came on the market. He competed against 6 other buyer offers and put the property under contract, without even seeing it. He later told Shrake that he was on the fence about whether to stick with the deal. At a crucial point in the deal, a contractor didn’t show for re-inspection of a problem revealed during the inspection contingency period, and his client was so overwhelmed with everything else going on in his life that he was going to cancel the deal. Matt found another contractor and waited 4 hours for him to show up and give an opinion. His client closed the deal. When his client returned to town, he thanked Shrake for going the extra mile, but that wasn’t the end of it. Shrake for years thereafter, he’d call to say, “...thank you for making me buy this property, you knew it was the right property for me at that stage of my life, and you stuck with it to make sure I made the best decision.”

2. Staying Calm

Despite what some might think, real estate deals don’t close themselves. Often, it takes level heads between a buyer and seller, or even simply level heads on one side of the transaction to bring a deal to conclusion.

Another story Shrake told was a seller who had moved from Chicago to another country. The deal started fine, but while in escrow, the seller suffered some personal setbacks and was very on edge. Shrake said his client was stressing about things more than usual so he calmly handled many of the issues without bringing too many details to the client. Afterward, the client brought him a present and said, “I’m so lucky to work with someone like you who had the knowledge, patience, and people management skills to get us through.”

Said Shrake: “In a real estate deal, lots of stuff is going to happen, let me take stress away.”

3. Knowing Deal Context

Often an experienced, knowledgeable real estate agent can help a client get across the finish line (Closing) with expert information. It may mean giving context to their own client – or the opposing agent and client.

To do that, it’s important to understand the market. How does the current deal compare to what is likely to happen in the market? Better? Average?

It’s also important to understand location very well. Sometimes what may seem like a problem to an out-of-area buyer, might actually be typical for the location. And sometimes a deal “problem” – say, for example, an inspection, vendor, or seemingly missing amenity – can be easily remedied if your agent is a local expert on the area who can explain regional differences.

Finally, the context of the strength of your position. If your agent has been through a lot of deals like this, they’ll be able to guide you on how strong of a position you are to say, “No,” when the other side is pushing a bit too hard.

It’s context that closes deals – and saves money.

4. Understanding Lenders

Because many real estate deal hiccups can involve financing, it’s important to have an understanding of the current lending environment, and hopefully, the specific lender being used in the transaction.

Lenders’ underwriting requirements, while often transaction-specific, definitely follow trends. An experienced agent will see lenders increasingly asking for new things on certain deals, and be alert for it. Surprises happen. But trying to avoid lending surprises comes with understanding ever-changing mortgage lender guideline trends.

5. Thinking Ahead

Nothing saves more deals than thinking ahead. You might not even know your deal was saved if you have a real estate agent who thought ahead.

And thinking ahead requires experience.

For buyers, thinking ahead often means an agent who is willing to fully inform the client about the market, the neighborhood, and what to expect in advance of the transaction. But even more importantly, once escrow is opened it means flagging and contextualizing potential issues.

For sellers, thinking ahead often means an agent knowing how certain features of the property will play in the market and strategizing around them – good or bad.

Be Prepared For Anything – With Matt

If a problem can happen in Chicago in real estate, Matt Shrake has likely seen and conquered it. You don’t survive for nearly 30 years in Windy City real estate without weathering the squalls.

Put that experience to work for you, contact Matt via email: [email protected] or via phone: 773-294-2667

Matt is a 2023 Real Trends Award Winner, in the Top 1.5 percent of Real Estate Agents Nationwide, A Certified Luxury Home Marketing Specialist, and a member of Coldwell Banker’s International President’s Elite, reserved for their Top 5 percent globally.

He looks forward to establishing and maintaining great communication to get to the closing table with you.

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