The Relevance of the Closing Date

Here in Tennessee, Line 142 of the standard Purchase and sale Agreement reads:

“A. Closing Date: This agreement shall be closed (Evidenced by delivery of warranty deed and payment of purchase price), and this agreement shall expire, at 11:59 P.M. local time on the ___ day of  ____________, _____ (“Closing Date”), or on such earlier date as may be agreed to by the parties in writing.”

This “closing date” is one of the most important terms of the contract to both the Buyer and Seller. The Buyer has great angst and anticipation and excitement associated with the move . . . as does the Seller.

Buyer and Seller are BOTH turning a page in their lives . . . a VERY significant page . . . as they pull their roots from one place and move to another.

I’ve heard the statistic that as many as 42 people are involved in the typical real estate transaction – Loan originators, processors, underwriters, appraisers, inspectors, Termite Companies, Title companies, Real Estate Professionals etc.

I’m a believer that each of these 42 people should have ONE thing on their mind when they agree to play a part in the process of consummating this transaction between the Buyer and the Seller . . . That one thing is a commitment to meet the closing date.

I say if you’re not willing to whatever it takes to meet (or beat) the closing date, don’t accept the responsibility.

I cannot think of a SINGLE valid reason (other than death, natural disaster, act of God) for a deal to get within a week of closing and be delayed.

I say again . . . When you agree to the date, you MUST solemnly swear that you are accepting the responsibility of honoring this closing date and this responsibility is to the BUYER and SELLER who are both packing everything they own into trucks and turning their lives upside down . . . and providing YOU a job.

What’s complex about this?


I do hear excuses . . . couldn’t get the appraisal in time . . . credit blips discovered at the last minute . . . too many refinance loans in the lender’s pipeline clogging the system . . . Repairs not completed in time . . . Failure to order Termite letters or inspections . . . and the list goes on.

Folks, we are ALL busy, right?

Are we so busy that we can justify the turmoil that is created in the lives of the Buyers and Sellers (without whom the deal wouldn’t exist) when we fail to meet the closing date?

My practice is a “First 10 Day – Last 10 Day” routine.

For the first 10 days after the Binding agreement date, I make contact with EVERY person involved in the transaction EVERY business day to ensure that EVERYTHING is complete per the contract in terms of inspections, completed documentation, appraisals ordered . . . every i dotted and every t crossed.

Then I flow along with weekly contact.

10 days prior to the closing date, i go back to the DAILY contact with the sole purpose of getting a settlement statement (approved by the lender) in my hands at LEAST 48 hours prior to closing.

My batting average is darn good with this first 10/Last 10 routine because most of the vendors I work with know that I am going to be in their face every day until the deal is done.

So here’s my message . . . If you accept ANY “job” relating to a real estate transaction, your responsibility is to the CLIENT to perform said job not only thoroughly with just the right mix of “feel good” but also ON TIME.

Do I sound like I’m yelling atcha?

Well . . . I’m only yelling atcha if the shoe fits.

and if you’re doing business with people who are not all that concerned with the closing date, I would venture to say that you might consider developing some new vendor relationships.

I’m just sayin’



This post comes on the tail end of me (As Principal Broker) observing several recent deals with completely unecessary delays to the degree that one of my associates asked me: “why do we even write in closing dates? Because the lenders don’t even pay attention to them.”

Scrubbing your database for the new year

How clean is your database?

If you are seriously in business (ANY business) I’m assuming that you have a database . . . and that you actually USE it at least occasionally but hopefully systematically . . . such that it will generate sufficient leads to sustain good momentum for your business through all “times/seasons” (up and down) of the market.

Is everyone in your database aware that they are in your database or are you a “secret agent” for your business?

How many people are IN your database?

Is it like your Facebook Page where you have a bajillion “friends” but only REALLY know a handful of them?


Most folks I know and coach detest “working on the database”.


Because is entails (perhaps) calling people they don’t know all that well . . .

or haven’t talked to in such a long time that they believe those people don’t want to hear from them . . .

or they are uncertain that they have anything of value to share . . .

or they are “too busy” with the business at hand to be calling a bunch of people who are not likely to need to business with them any time soon . . .

If any of the above shoes fits you, I have a homework assignment for you.


Do this NOW . . . in Mid October . . . because any contact you make with anyone in the next few weeks will do wonderful things for the flow of your business at the beginning of 2011.

I promise!

How to do this . . .

Print it (the WHOLE database) and keep this printed copy with you as you go through your days.

Make contact with EVERY single person SEQUENTIALLY in this database by phone or visit and follow up that contact with a handwritten note – mailed with a business card and an inserted “up-date” brochure about your personal and business accomplishments in 2010.

The SCRUBBING part is this . . . When you run across a person who you dread calling for any of the above reasons, PAUSE and think about this person. Make a conscious decision as to why the discomfort.

If your discomfort is your “fault” and you know and respect them and would like to keep them in your life, then “eat the frog” and make the call.

If during the pause you come to the realization that this person just doesn’t fit as a “know me and love me” kind of person, but you believe they have value as a Vendor or business ally or loose personal acquaintance, keep them in your database but move them into a category you might call “Network Group”.

Within that Network group, I have sub-groups . . . Local REALTORS – Out of area REALTORS – Local Vendors – acquaintances.

If the person doesn’t fit the above and you are dreading the call because you don’t like the person or do not believe their relationship has value in your life . . . DELETE!

If you don’t know the person at all? DELETE!

Your goal?

Create a category in your Database called your “Inner Circle” . . . these are the people you know and love who know and love you who would be pleased to hear from you on a regular basis. These are “real relationships” whose loyalty and friendship all by itself will create a quality of life and business flow for you that self-perpetuates . . .

For most humans, this inner circle won’t exceed 250 people . . . EVER!

Make personal contact with every one of those 250 people a minimum of once every 30 days, and your business will yield @ $250,000 per year in gross commissions . . . I promise!


So, I just revealed the Holy Grail of any sales professional’s success strategy.

Make personal contact every 30 days with 200-250 people who know you and love you.


None of this possible if you don’t have a database.

I’m just sayin’



Monday Morning Coffee – Doing 1 thing more? or Less?

Good morning!

Woke up thinking about a little simple math this morning.

Seth Godin dropped a line to this post entitled “The N+1 Theory” by Fred Wilson.

“The N+1 Theory states that there is always one more of anything.”

Which ends with the author’s final statement: “I find the N+1 theory very inspiring. It is pure optimism sprinkled with tenacity and we need that in our work and our lives.”

I like it!

I especially like that optimism part . . . being the diehard optimist that I am. If a real estate deal is going South, I always start looking for N+1 . . . What is the missing piece (the 1 more thing) that can save this deal that we have all failed to see and plug in?

More often than not, we find it and revive the deal.

This optimistic tenacity is critical in today’s business environment and in our every day lives. If we were to throw the towel in every time the way got rocky, we’d never get ANYTHING accomplished . . . akin to slogging through “The Dip”.

Seth Godin makes a good point in his post. “N-1” . . . doing 1 LESS thing . . .

He says: “What would happen if you did one fewer thing? What if leaving that off the agenda allowed you to do a world-class job on the rest? What if you repeated N-1 thinking until you found a breakthrough?”

Back to Fred’s post: “John had a theory he called ‘the N+1 theory’ and while he applied it destructively in his own life, I have often found great inspiration from it in mine.”

so . . . there’s more to this than simply doing 1 more (or less) thing . . . taking N+1 too far can be destructive (addictive behavior) . . . and taking N-1 too far can be debilitating and render the effort impotent.

Which should it be?



Are we looking for BALANCE?





Hmmmm . . .

Let’s consider something a wee bit simpler . . .


What is “N”?

The goal – Vision – Task – Mission – List – ToDo????

Is “N” in alignment with your purpose (personal or organizational)?

Doesn’t really matter if it’s “+1” or “-1” if your vision is blurry, does it?

I’m just sayin’



BTW . . . In my real estate deal example, the vision that provides the foundation for success is quite simple – Buyer wants to buy THIS property and Seller wants to sell THIS property . . . each one has “N+1″‘d and “N-1″‘d himself into the deal . . . completion stalls out because the other players (Lenders, REALTORS, Inspectors, appraisers) lose focus on “N” . . . and therefore have no basis for +/- 1.

Coffee cup’s empty . . .

1+1=3 & 3+1=7 & 7+1=13

What kind of crazy math is THAT?

Well . . . Walkin’ the dog this morning I was thinking about how great ideas come together. Often, there’s a person who conjures in her own mind what she believes to be a great idea. She thinks about it and chews on it and starts adding form to it inside her head for a while until she becomes such a believer that she cannot keep it inside any longer . . . She must SHARE her idea lest her head explode.

She is “1” looking for validation from another “1”, So she calls a trusted friend to discuss.

Friend likes her idea, and they together add lots of aps to her idea. They have a very fruitful meeting and emerge from it with an amazing number of new and interesting ideas and they both (at the same time) giggle with pleasure.

Stephen Covey is the first I have read to do the math that 1+1=3 . . . Those two “1”s got together and created a “3rd mind” (us) which took the formulation of the idea to a level that neither of “1”s could have gone without each other.

What happens when you add another “1”?

Here’s where the real fun begins because it grows exponentially . . .

Keep adding “1”s and more gets done in phenomenal ways.

The average bear would think that there might a “point of diminishing returns” at which the benefit of adding another “1” might get to the point of “too many cooks in the kitchen”.

I say that without “appropriate structure” this may be true . . . but we humans are infinitely qualified to self-organize around common passions.

The Chilean Government “gets” it – 33 miners find themselves trapped in a mine 1/2 mile under the surface . . . No-one started finger pointing  . . . they didn’t let their egos con them into thinking that THEY were the only ones who could rescue these guys . . . They called out to world:

“HEY WORLD! Does anyone have some ideas as to how we can find these guys and keep them alive until we can figure out how to bring them back to the surface?”

The world answered the call . . . and great minds came together in a magical way and created a solution that succeeded FAR ahead of “schedule” even to the degree that they physically conditioned the miners to be the right shape, size, and mental health to ride in the specially built capsule that could travel that 1/2 mile through a shaft drilled through bedrock . . . Medical doctors, engineers, aerospace designers, logistical supply line experts all gathered together and derived a plan that WORKED even though many of them spoke different languages and came from different cultures.

Simultaneously, a veritable small town emerged in a matter of days surrounding the entrance of the mine to support the rescue effort and give family members of the trapped miners a place to stay . . . They worked out the logistics of feeding them, schooling them, entertaining them . . . It all just came together.

Why did this work?

Every one of these people had great passion for their roles in the solution. The goal was clear – Save the miners . . . ALL of the miners and they took responsibility for this passion by taking ACTION.

All those people were generous and supportive, but none of that would have been possible had the Chilean Government not been willing to “allow” them all to step in.

It’s up to the LEADERS to accept their own mortality (that they are not omniscient Gods) and to be willing to be vulnerable enough to rely on the power of group think – Braintrust – collaborative effort . . . and to give it enough leash to form without restriction.

I know that when this happens . . . regardless of the size of the group . . . When the purpose is clear, the people with passion for that purpose will show up (The RIGHT people) and they will come without personal agendas . . . with open minds such that the “right” things will happen . . . and when they gather, things will happen exponentially faster and more effectively than they ever could if the Leadership thwarts their creativity.

So . . . Remember this the next time you get a great idea . . .

Your odds of success increase significantly with every new brain who comes by choice.

I’m just sayin’



PS – As we developed Pareto Realty, we relied on the brains of many people . . . we invited everyone we saw to the conversation and listened intently to the ones who showed up and participated. We also know that we ALL will continue to improve as long as we continue to talk . . . and so we keep on inviting . . . and people keep on showing up . . . and we’re all reaping benefit.

How to build a bigger, more reliable real estate sales business without blowing your budget!

How are you doing with respect to leveraging your business relationships?
Are you and your vendors “Co-Marketing” such that you ALL generate more business?
If you are scratching their backs, are they scratching YOURS?
We are offering this FREE presentation entitled:
“Taking REALTOR/Vendor Co-Marketing To The Next Level”
Master Marketer Scott Layden will show you how to build a bigger, more reliable real estate sales business without blowing your budget.
He has some pretty unbelievable tools and techniques that his company uses to help their REALTOR partners close at least 10 extra sides per year.
He’s giving this information away AND feeding you lunch . . . along with his co-sponsor Quenn N. Crum with Clarity Title, LLC
You can pick and choose from his bag of option or go apply them independently, or find out if you might qualify as a partner with Scott.
You have nothing to lose and EVERYTHING to gain by attending this event.
Pareto Reatly coordinates these Lunch & Learn “Vendor Spotlight” events in an on-going effort to bring REALTORS together to learn from each other . . . meet new vendors . . . get new ideas . . . and have a nice meal together.
These are NOT . . . and never will be . . . “Recruiting” oriented . . . nor are they high pressure sales pitches by the vendors.
Hope you’ll join us on the 27th @ 11:30 . . . Location TBD at a local Brentwood or Cool Springs area restaurant
Seating will be limited, so RSVP by email to me . . . I’ll return email the location.
Scott and Quenn’s contact information is below.
Scott Layden
Mortgage Planner / Branch Owner
O: 615 550-5626 x 121
toll-free 800-300-0995
Quenn N. Crum
Clarity Title, LLC – Partner
Phone 615-448-6494

Barry Owen
Principal Real Estate Broker & Founder

Pareto Realty, LLC
The Vital Few
102 Woodmont Blvd Suite 242
Nashville, TN 37205
Call me: 615-568-2123

Connect with me @ Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin, Plaxo
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