The Business of Trading Properties
Well there is a whole new concept of real estate I never thought I’d encounter. In fact, to this day I have no idea of how I managed to acquire the commercial listings I did or even the buyers wanting to do business, but I did so I might as well explain my view of the concept.
See, the whole idea is that you’ve got your various properties, mortgages, money, all with buyers and sellers wanting to make a deal to their own advantage. What you do is to take all these things together and throw them all into the air. How high you throw them depends on how complicated the deal gets. Then all these things come drifting down like confetti until they all settle in their rightful (new) place. It all makes perfect sense if you look at it that way (once it all clears Land Titles). Well, that’s the concept anyway.
Enter Mel Burry, lawyer and property manager whose client wanted to dispose of several properties. I won’t go into details of how we met or how I was selected to represent his client. Suffice it to say that I was our office’s “commercial” agent.
Also enter Russ Wright, a buyer who was interested in the properties I had advertised. I call him Trader Russ. Russ had a keen interest in a medical building I had for sale not too far from the Victoria Hospital. The building was not very old and there was room for expansion. The only problem was that Russ had a number of small residential rental units he owned or had equity in and needed to dispose of in order to buy the building, but he was really keen on doing the deal.
I discussed the whole business with Mel. To my surprise he said, “Let me get back to you.” A few days later he said, “Let’s have a list of what he’s got.”
It took a couple of days but Trader Russ, obviously excited, brought me a fairly detailed list of all his properties, including appraised value, mortgages owing, equity etc. It was impressive. Well, we ‘back and forth’ed’ for a few days, getting familiar with each other’s properties, and Russ put in a complicated offer. I won’t bother you with the details, but it took some doing. Finally, all done, Mel wanted to meet together with his client to clear up some details and sign off on the thing.
We met at my office, exchanged pleasantries and got down to business. It was a fairly long discussion, what with all the details of the various properties, values etc, but it all worked out in the end, except when it came to my commission. Now with a million and a half worth of real estate, especially with such a complicated sale, my commission was to be no chump change (at least in my mind). Stephan the client however, had other ideas. In his mind I was just the clerk who had put together a collection of things he might want and by way of thanking me he would give me a measly $1,000 bucks which he thought was generous enough.
This was obviously not my way of thinking and it completely surprised me. Now I make it a point to never get angry, but when called upon I can put up a pretty good act, so I launched into a lengthy lecture about honesty and honor and the commission rate signed on the listing agreement, and how I had been convinced he was a man of his word and how disappointed I was at his character and I don’t know what all else, but when I was done I was all out of breath and pleased with my self-righteous tirade.
Stephan sat there like a log of wood, eyes somewhat glazed over as though he hadn’t heard anything I had said while big Mel seemed to shrink in his chair, turning from a swarthy complexion to a pale white by the end of it. Stephan merely said in a dead pan voice that was the deal – take it or leave it. I think I replied with something like I would take it just to get rid of this whole messy transaction and that he – Stephan could live with his conscience. He left without shaking hands, leaving Mel and me sitting there.
“What the . . . . Where did that come from?” he wanted to know.
“Not bad eh?” I asked. “What’d you think?”
“I thought I was listening to the Sermon on the Mount for a minute there and was afraid you might be tagged. You just don’t deal with these Sicilian immigrants like that. Maybe I should have told you more about them ahead of time.”
My blood suddenly ran cold. Well, you know the rumors you hear about Sicilians and the Mafia. Mel said, “I’ll see if I can fix it.”
Mel obviously fixed it because the deal finally went through and I got my thousand bucks and another listing to boot. So you see, everything came drifting down to fall into its designated place.