How to respond to "I'm not sure. I want to run this by my Attorney"

First off let me state that my business is honest and reputable. We do many deals in the area. However until we recently learned the hard way of it’s importance, we had not been collecting testimonials. We follow everything legally and confirm this with our lawyers.

However from time to time I get the following response from people: “I’d like to run this by my attorney.” And nine times out of ten, they come back with “We’re going to pursue other options.”

This is usually in cases where we discuss owner-carry financing or signing over the deed, or lease-optioning. The average homeowner is not used to these strategies and gets very concerned. And the ones who are business savy are usually used to bringing everything to their attorney first.

I’ve heard it’s best to try to convince them not to mull over it, not to go to their attorney, etc. But how you do that is difficult.

Any advice?

I haven’t had to cross that bridge yet so I can’t really speak from experience but I understand the pickle your in. If and when the same situation does finally happen to me I think I would ask the homeowner some questions before he went to talk to his atty such as:

“I understand you have to do what you have to do Mr Homeowner but if I may make a suggestion that your attorney is a real estate atty who knows and understands RE rather than your cousin Bob’s bowling captain who happens to be a probate atty and more than likely wouldn’t understand a creative real estate transaction any more than a bowling pin would…” …in so many words.

I’m sure you’ve asked but what is their main concern when “going to their atty?” Is it they’re not familiar with all the legal blah or they don’t quite trust doing a deal with you for whatever reason?

I’d be inclined to think that if there was any way you could provide your atty’s testimonial to a homeowner with your other paperwork that it might ease his mind. Documentation of some sort from your RE atty, like a testimonial possibly. It’s been proven in studies that when people read something their more inclined to believe it than if someone “told” them that exact same thing.

Your post brings up a good braintease. I think what I’m going to put together is a small page or two FAQ’s of homeowners objections/concerns and then provide them with the answers so they can read over the info (yeah, sure) to have some kind of understanding of whats going on. I’d have to think that the more answers you can provide to them right up front in a 1-2 pg FAQ in your “intro packet”, and a couple of your atty’s business cards if they’d like to get some RE legal advice, that they’re uneasyness would diminish significantly.

Give it a try once and see if it drops your client’s “red flag” concerns. I’d be willing to put $2 on the barrel head that your closing ratio would increase if you try that. I don’t know, it’s just a hunch.

I am not an atty or a guru so anything I say can be held against you.

Thanks for getting me thinking ahead of time…for a change.

Age old question. Attys are notorious as “deal killers.” It never comes back to “haunt” them. So the question is, how motivated is the seller?

I’ve asked would-be sellers if their attorney was going to buy the property if I didn’t. In other words, if I didn’t buy, who would? Do they want to sell or wait to loose their property? Some will; some won’t; so what; someone’s waiting.

Thanks for the replies everyone.

I guess I need to do some testing of responses to those responses and see what the results are.

Unfortunately up here in Massachusetts, it’s “generally” the case that people are more suspicious, cautious and less trusting. Perhaps rightly so, but nonetheless it’s usually a lost opportunity if someone insists on bringing it to their attorney.

I was an attorney for 17 years, then became a f/t r/e investor doing short sales, so I’ve seen both sides of this. In my experience and opinion, & at the risk of being strung up by my chest hairs,
–if your prospect brings your short sale deal to an attorney, it will likely be killed or die a slow death;
–most attorneys are too un-creative and risk-averse to “OK” their client’s short sale deal, let alone encourage it; and
– your prospect’s debtor-side bankruptcy attorney will likely be clueless and hostile to the deal and unable to conceive how it could benefit his/her client.
Just my 2 cents. Good luck.

IMHO, you should attack the situation head-on and have a written explanation of all of the risks that your seller would face if they use one of your strategies. And you have to admit, there is a definite down-side for a seller if they agree to owner financing, subject to, or a lease-option. It is not as clean and tidy as a traditional sale.

In that same written explanation, though, you should also outline the risk of doing nothing, as well as the risk of waiting for that more traditional deal to come along.

Before you leave the seller, you might also say something like, “If you find that I have been honest with you about the risks involved, I like to think that we can work towards a deal together.”

And drive home the point that the attorney is not the one facing this financial problem, so s/he has no real incentive to make something happen.