“Hey Matthew, we just finished the inspection.”
The voice on the other end of the phone is the buyer’s agent. I am representing the seller. I remind myself to start taking deep breaths, as I always do at this moment in the transaction. Is there a major issue we have to deal with? In my judgment, the seller had maintained the home well, but no home is perfect, and inspectors are trained to find problems. I listen for any nuances in the agent’s voice that will alert me to what’s coming.
“There have been… some unwanted guests partying in the house, both upstairs and down. Some of them partied so hard that they couldn’t find their way back home!”
I stifle a laugh and my gut tells me this transaction is going to go through, but sure enough, the inspector found something. The “unwanted guests” are rats; “upstairs and down” means both the attic and the crawlspace. And we’re not just talking “droppings” here. “Couldn’t find their way home” means there are carcasses. This could be a major problem, depending how long the rats were there, and whether their waste has saturated the insulation.
But the humor in his voice hints that the problem is relatively minor. “It looks recent, not too much, and nothing the buyer can’t weather. Other than that, the house is great.” he continues.
My day just got a lot better. The seller’s maintenance of the home was overall sound, just as I thought it would be. Just some particularly pesky rodents. I can now make my own call to the seller.
Managing human responses in real estate negotiations is what I do every day, including how buyers will react to “unwanted guests”.