Real Estate and Self-Deception – Attorneys

lawyers posing for a photo
Photo by August de Richelieu on

“I don’t want an attorney to tell me what I can’t do. I want one that will help me do what I want.”

I’m not sure where I heard that but I’ve said it lots of times to attorneys. It seems most of them want to avoid any problems at all and maybe that’s wiser but not much progress gets made that way. Real estate attorneys are a special bunch in Georgia. We can’t close most deals without them.

They manage title searches, title insurance, and lender docs, and most of the time they represent the lender in the deal, not the buyer or seller. Cash deals are done at attorney’s offices too and sometimes they represent one of the parties not always. I was at a deal like that a while back.

I was covering for another agent. She asked me to attend the closing and I said I’d be happy to. I arrived a bit early, met the seller, an older woman by herself (that’s the party I was there to help) and the buyers (a younger couple) were there by themselves. As we sat around the table it was apparent there was a problem but I wasn’t sure of the details yet so I listened.

The seller was asking questions and the attorney was agitated by them. It was about surveys and other documents but certainly not out of the ordinary to ask. Now usually, people don’t yell at a closing. Sometimes they cheer and sometimes they cry but yelling is not common so I was surprised when the attorney slammed the file on the table and said to the seller “YOU’RE SO STUPID, YOU DON’T EVEN KNOW YOU’RE STUPID!” and stormed out of the room.

Silence rang in the room for a second, the seller got up and said “I don’t need to be treated this way” and she left.

Now I’m sitting there with the buyers and wondering what the problem really was but the people who could solve it were not in the room. I looked at the buyers and asked “would you be willing to sign a unilateral extension for 7 days so we can resolve this?” and they said yes.

The attorney returned about that time and I explained the seller had left. I asked him to draw up the extension and he did. The buyers signed it, and I got a copy and sent it to the agent I was covering for. I still don’t know what the real problem was but it got resolved and they closed the next week. My point in telling this is to say, I doubt it was the questions being asked by the seller.

When things don’t make sense, you don’t know enough yet. Keep digging. It was not my place to do the digging (not my circus, not my monkeys) but had it been, I would have been in there with a shovel.

That attorney is on my ‘never again’ list along with a home inspector and a lender (bank really) but I still wonder what got to him that day. I guess I’ll never know but the experience was priceless. I won’t publish names here but you’re welcome to call me and we can discuss vendor relationships.

Thanks for listening,