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Payback Never Pays

The real estate business brings a lot of opportunities for pain from other people. The hardest lesson I have ever learned, and still fight with, is letting go.
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Walter Sanford.jpgby Walter Sanford

Regardless of your religious beliefs we can all learn from Leviticus 19:18a: “Do not seek revenge or bear a grudge against one of your people, but love your neighbor as yourself.”

The real estate business gives a lot of opportunities for pain from other people: sellers who waste your resources with unrealistic expectations, buyers who cannot pull the trigger, cooperative agents who don’t do their job, and peers who usurp your clients.

Many times, you cannot foresee the pain from a client, and it becomes a necessary part of our business that comes from us working for free until closing.  Coping strategies become necessary.

Get over it as soon as possible.

Ephesians 4:26a: “Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry….”

Don’t seek revenge or hold a grudge.  Personally, I must tell you it has been the hardest lesson I have ever learned and still fight with it!  When I follow God’s Word to love my neighbor who I perceived has wronged me, the pain goes away and God provides other opportunities.

“But Walter, you are a business man.  What if we are talking some real money that you are entitled to under contract?”

Paul gives instruction to that question also (I Cor. 6:7-8): “The very fact that you have lawsuits among you means you have been completely defeated already.  Why not rather be wronged?  Why not rather be cheated?  Instead, you yourselves cheat and do wrong, and you do this to your brothers and sisters.”

Your options are settle out of court demonstrating “love for your neighbor” or do your best to stay out of trouble in the first place.

Here are some rules to implement, ensuring better quality clients and quality transactions:

  1. Don’t take overpriced listings. When I did take an overpriced listing, it was because there might be a “chance,” but I would not become attached to the outcome.  Isn’t taking an overpriced listing without disclosure of it being overpriced a lie anyway?
  1. Get the inspection done after taking the listings. It makes sense to get the repairs done before a buyer has input.  Not being in rush to close will allow you/the seller to obtain numerous bids and conduct contractor negotiations to benefit the sale.  After the inspection, you will find out if the property can be sold at the marketed price and whether or not the seller will take care of the problems.
  1. Take large deposits from credit-worthy and pre-approved buyers who have verified down payments and jobs.
  1. Work with buyers who answer probing questions, get pre-approved, and sign a loyalty agreement, in that order and prior to going to see property. Of course, you need to provide a value proposition for each of these requested steps or the buyer will balk.
  1. Shorten pending times as much as possible and keep the client involved in weekly follow-up. If the co-op isn’t getting the job done, ask for help.  If none arrives, go to his/her broker.

The Scriptures are wise in how to avoid and (when needed) how to handle conflict.  Paired with good systems, you’re on your way to avoiding “payback.”

Recommended Resources:

Walter Sanford still coaches some of the top agents in the world.  He can be reached at 815.954.9545 or  He has discounted his library of systems for us, go to Walter Sanford’s Library.

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