Last Tuesday, I wrote an offer. It's a really good offer on a house that's been on the market for a while. It had nice, but messy, tenants who made it challenging to get into. The listing agent had a terrific virtual tour posted, and I had some buyers who were very interested in seeing it.
Finally, last Sunday, the tenants allowed an Open House to be held between 4:30 and 6:00 PM. We got there at 4:30. It took a couple of days to get stuff together, and Tuesday afternoon, the listing agent picked up the contract at my office.
Now, this was not going to be a normal situation. You see, the seller lives in Sri Lanka. The agent, who is one of my favorite colleagues, explained to me that there could be some unusual communication challenges.
I had no idea.
So here's the story -
I did an email scan, in addition to giving the listing agent the hard copy. I sent it to her so she could forward it easily to the sellers.
When she, didn't hear anything after a day, she tried to call but couldn't get through. Her seller finally called her on Thursday to say his electricity died while he was downloading the file. He only got 8 pages of the 35 page contract downloaded. He couldn't get a kerosene delivery for his generator until probably Friday morning, so he might go into the nearest village to try to find a Kinko type place.
This agent is very wise, and thinking this scenario was a possibility, she sent them a detailed summary of the offer in a first email, followed by my file. So at least he got the gist of things.
She had another conversation with him late yesterday. Still no kerosene. No Kinkos or Internet Cafe in his part of Sri Lanka. He's working on it.
He did tell her over a crackly phone line that he liked the offer. We've sort of got agreement on everything, and we're waiting for the papers to come back, perhaps by carrier pigeon.
With a slightly different cast of characters, I'd be pulling my hair out right now. I'm working with a great listing agent, and fortunately, I know her well enough that I'm sure what she is telling me is absolutely true. And my buyers are patient people, although I'm hoping I won't have to try it beyond some time Sunday.
When I read John Adams a couple of years ago, I was struck by how we take for granted instant communications on telephones and email. During the Revolutionary War, with Adams in Paris and messages from his wife or Congress taking between 6 and 9 months to cross the Atlantic, problems worked themselves out somehow.
This could take between 6 and 9 days, and I think we should be able to work things out in that time frame!