Let me get this straight, you will pay me if it rains???

If you live in Seattle you will understand what I am talking about here. We had a client flying in to relocate to Seattle and with the weather we have been having, they have already had to cancel a home buying trip already. So watching the forecast the past week we decided this would be a good weekend to come buy a home in our beautiful city.

They flew in Friday night and we double checked with our local weather hero Walter Kelly (Q13) to make sure it would be ok for Saturday. About noon on Saturday we came to find out the 1000s of web sites out there that were predicting for mostly sunny skies all weekend were WRONG. Not only did we not have mostly sunny skies (like we did on Sunday) we had snow. That combined with the cold snap, our roads were not incredibly safe for driving all over the city. We did make it around and were able to make a joke out of it and were laughing about the fact that the weather ‘pros’ may very well be for pure entertainment. No matter what anyone says, it seems like there is never a 100% guarantee (actually, not even 75%).

Not only was it difficult for us to get around, but some the houses we were showing had tenants who had to leave while we showed. I started to think about my obligation to the client if we would have been snowed in and could not drive around. Of course I could not be held liable for what WE all felt was a good weekend, but you want to keep your customers as happy as you can.

[photopress:weatherbilllogo_sml.jpg,full,alignright]Then came as an answer to any agents prayers (or person with a wedding, outdoor BBQ, garage sale, etc), Weatherbill; a Web 2.0 launched today. They essentially are creating a market for that which cannot be controlled… weather. Their site puts it best and says, “WeatherBill sells Weather Contracts to eligible buyers. Weather Contracts can be used to protect your business from adverse weather conditions, by paying you when those adverse conditions occur.

Commission double-take

Ok, for those of you thinking from the title that I’ll be going back to the subject of dual agency and taking a seller and selling side of a commission this is about something else. What I’ve got a question about as well as a big concern right now is that I just got mutual acceptance on a deal for a client and I’ve just noticed that the listing agent has changed the commission on the listing data. It was at 3% on the day my clients saw the house and now, tonight when we got MA, it is at 2.5%. Anyone have an idea how the local MLS views this kind of thing? I have a feeling that she changed it just because an offer finally came in (it was full price on a big price tag) and as of 01/06/2007 it was at 3%.

[photopress:washer_dryer_photo.jpg,full,alignright]Considering the listing agent screwed up and had posted a washer/dryer as part of the listing also and then she couldn’t work that problem out with her client (happens to be her father-in-law) I was planning on using part of the commission to buy a set for my clients. That may be shot now with the reduction although (the set they want is $2600) [photopress:pennies.jpg,full,alignleft] but I’m planning on pointing out the change and requesting that she pay the amount she originally noted and submitting the printed copy of the listing as my documentation with the disbursement form. The MLS rules as I see them state that the “commission shall be paid as designated in the listing (or any change thereto).” Which this could mean that I’m hosed the money, BUT, I can’t tell if she changed it before or after we got mutual acceptance – which I find to be a possible ethical violation if it was the agent’s choosing. Furthermore, which rate would apply if it was changed after the fact? The same section of the rules states “consent required to change other member’s commission”. I’m pretty sure the seller or the listing agent decided to drop it when faced with an offer and for no other reason than to save the money even though this has been the SOC for months – this place had been on market for over 100 days. Anyone got a clue on this one?