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Don’t Let a Deal Drag

Recently, I had the pleasure of visiting a large art museum, and I saw some very famous pieces up close and personal. And I saw some real “pieces,” too.

One exhibit in the Modern wing was a polished fiberglass plank approximately seven feet long painted bright red leaned up against the wall. Next to the plank was a card with this typed on it: “This is an archetypal example of the blurring of the line between traditional art and utility.” I read this in the voice of a cravat-wearing balding man with a monocle and aristocratic English accent, but what I pictured was a shady character explaining, “I swiped this from the bleachers at the high school football stadium, painted it red, and sold it to a snobby Brit for five large. I’m no Van Gogh, but I sure am good at shellacking, right?”

In the Early American wing, I noticed that all of the paintings of women looked like men in really bad wigs and ill-fitting dresses. I wouldn’t say they looked like drag queens because drag queens try much harder to look like women. Either there was a movement afoot in those days to seek out and only paint extremely homely women, or cross-dressing had much earlier (and uglier) beginnings. Either way, the artists must have been much more talented at painting a picture with words than with oils: “Dear sir, I believe I have captured the strength of your wife’s character through the dominant and handsome lantern jaw. And if you will notice, I subdued her bosom to assure you do not attract the attention of ungentlemanly oglers.” Perhaps in that exchange, the patron might say, “I’m no artist, but could you ‘subdue’ the Adam’s apple on her neck?”

The Sculptures area had me scratching my head, too. More than one of the female statues was dressed in a traditional robe slipping off one shoulder and exposing a . . . this isn’t like the Super Bowl and Janet Jackson’s split-second “wardrobe malfunction.” To the best of my knowledge, an artist will spend weeks if not months transforming a chunk of marble into a lifelike representation of the model – during that length of time, don’t you think the young lass is going to notice a draft and do a little adjusting? As they say, beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

As it is in art, so it is in real estate: What one person finds beautiful and priceless, another finds it ugly and overpriced. Like art dealers, real estate agents can’t control the inventory. The closest thing they can “control” is the deal itself – and there are still a lot of factors that could go sideways at any moment, so the sooner they can close the deal, the better. (Let’s not fool ourselves: in about 95% of real estate transactions, it’s an emotional decision.) So, the more factors that can be controlled, the better – and one of the biggest factors, of course, is money.

Any agent who was half awake during real estate school knows that before taking a client out to look at properties, the client needs to contact a mortgage company and get prequalified – and any agent who has done more than three transactions in his entire career knows that a prequal is NOT a guarantee that the client will ACTUALLY qualify. After the offer is made and accepted, there are still SO MANY things related to the client’s loan application that could go sideways and blow the deal. Wouldn’t it be nice if something existed in the lending world that was FAR MORE SURE than a prequal – something similarly sure as cash itself? Wish no longer: we have it. So, when your clients want to buy the real estate equivalent to an overpriced fiberglass plank, you can be sure they can afford it and the deal WILL close – even if you’re questioning their choices.

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