Rookie Diary: Lori Moreno Tackles Lost Commissions

In the third month of the series, the rookies tackle lost commissions, new niches, and personal fears.

April 1, 2004

Lori Moreno, 30

ERA Sunrise Realty
Cumming, Ga.

April 2004

I had a big mess this month—three of my listings fell through. Talk about disappointing. And it's not over yet. What happened was, I had two listings from the same couple.

I also had a listing from a woman who wanted to buy one of those two listings but needed to sell her current house first. So everything was fine. Mid-month, my husband and I decided to take the kids down to Disney World for a week. Halfway to Orlando, I got a call on my cell phone. It's the wife of the couple with the two listings. She told me they're having family problems and are going to have to take the houses off the market. I say, well, okay, let’s talk about it when I get back.

A few days later, I got a call from my friend in the office who’s taking care of my business while I’m gone. She told me she drove by one of the listings and saw somebody moving in. It turned out this couple went FSBO without telling me and sold both of the houses behind my back! Is that unbelievable or what? I mean, we have a listing agreement!

And we're talking about a lot of money. One of the houses went for $170,000 and the other for $120,000. Taken together, I'm out $14,500.

So I call them and say, look, I know what you did, but we have an agreement and I expect to get paid. And the husband goes crazy. He calls my broker and starts yelling that he's going to report me, get my license revoked, blah, blah, blah. My broker, thank God, stood behind me.

So now, it looks like we might go to court. I've offered to settle for a reduced fee but they're not having any of it. What a disaster. I didn’t know people could be that deceiving.

Everything else this month has been kind of anticlimactic. I did, however, get a terrific new listing from an Internet site where you buy referrals for $35 a piece.

The referral was for a couple looking for a "million-dollar" home. When I saw it, I thought, there's no way this can be true. But I bought it anyway, and it turns out it is true!

Actually, it’s even better than that. The couple does indeed want to buy a house in the $1 million range. But first, they have to sell some property. They own eight acres in Tucker, which is north of here. It's got a house and a 2- or 3-acre lake on it. The real value, though, is the land. It's in an old subdivision and could be redeveloped.

To do that, though, it would have to be rezoned, which I don't think would be a problem because it's adjacent to land that has the kind of zoning a builder would need to do a project.

They want $1.4 million for it. That seems a little high to me. I'm trying to get them to reduce it to $1.2 million. But we've had a ton of calls on it.

Meanwhile, I'm also showing them $1 million houses. They have five kids and want to be in a new house by August so the kids can start school. A lot of things have to fall in place here, but after the last month, I feel like I'm overdue for some good luck.

Robert Sharoff is an architectural writer for The New York Times, Washington Post, Chicago Tribune, and Chicago Magazine. With photographer William Zbaren, he has produced books highlighting the architecture of Detroit and St. Louis. He is a former senior editor with REALTOR® Magazine.

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