The Time My Seller Refused The Proceeds


Birth order matters. Being the youngest of three with two older sisters has proven good training for many things in my life, including refereeing the recent sale of a home owned by a divorcing couple.

There was nothing easy about this transaction from the get-go. I suppose that’s why I got the referral. I don’t mind being the guy you know you can send challenging situations to.

I certainly thought I was in the clear a few days before closing rolled around when I got a call from escrow. The wife is refusing to sign for her proceeds.

Wait, what???? She isn’t willing to accept the money from the sale???

This had been an emotionally charged situation from the start and I had circumvented that challenge with compassion and over-communication. I immediately reached out to the wife. And I couldn’t get her on the phone. She had gone radio silent.

Think we could just extend escrow a few days? Nope.

Our buyer had an interest rate lock expiring on the date of close and rates had moved 2 points during our escrow. If the buyer couldn’t close, they could lose the interest rate they locked in the previous month, the buyer couldn’t afford the new mortgage rate, the sellers could lose the buyer and have to start all over again, and the seller would be sued for their actions. Yours truly would probably be named in that suit. Great.

Two days later my client returned my calls and texts, letting me know she had waited until the last minute to negotiate an IRS lien pending against the soon-to-be-ex, and needed a few extra days. After letting me know, I was able to figure out a way to close escrow only one day late, keep the buyer’s interest rate, and get the seller an extra week to see if they could work some magic with the IRS.

Crisis averted!

In reflection, I guess these are the kinds of deals that showcase my Baby Brother diplomacy. If you have a tough real estate deal, I’d be happy to discuss it with you. Better yet, if you have a softball, I’d enjoy the break and take that referral too.