Part of the reason that most home owners hire a real estate agent to help sell their home when the time comes is to insulate themselves from the emotion of selling your home. Regardless of the fact that their minds are made up and selling is the right thing to do; maybe it's a new job in a new city, or it's just time to upgrade/downgrade, etc., moving out of a home that they've lived in for how-ever-many years is an emotional process. Not to mention that now you've got buyers walking through your home nit-picking all of the things that they see wrong with the house and making note of all the things they would like to change. And those are just the people that are actually interested.
Throughout the process of negotiating the contract, items such as price, close date, who's going to pay for what all come into play. If we can all manage to agree on these items then we get into the inspection period and the real negotiations start. Now is when most sellers (especially in this market) feel like they've given as much as they can, and then the potential buyers send over a list of items that they would like fixed before they agree to proceed with the transaction and the home. Most of the time I advise my buyer clients to pick out the most important items from the inspection (trying to be fair and reasonable) and ask for those to be repaired. Sometimes, however, buyer's have something else in mind. Every once in a while buyers feel like they should have every last item that the inspector found during his inspection fixed by the seller of the home. Well, I can tell you from experience that all that does is really make a seller mad. The same seller who thought they had given all they could while negotiating price and terms, is now being asked to give even more. And, as much as us agents try to advise our clients to try to remove the emotion from the process, they now feel insulted and are much less likely to bend any more.
This happened to one of my clients this past week. We gave quite a bit upon presentation of the contract and then were asked to fix every last item on the inspection report. Some of the items were fairly legitimate concerns and we were more than willing to take care of those issues. So we responded with what we thought was a reasonable response and the buyers cancelled the contract. In an effort to see if there was any chance of salvaging the transaction, the buyer's agent and I tried to get down to the actual items that the buyer's wanted addressed. The buyer's agent relayed to me what she thought would solve the problem and I agreed to talk with my clients again to see if they would be willing to address these remaining items if it meant that the buyers would proceed with the transaction. We agreed to touch base the next day to see what we could come up with.
Almost simultaneously, the buyer's agent and my client called me to tell me that they no longer care to negotiate with the other party and it had now become a personal issue. Normally it's one or the other that takes a personal stance and ends up backing out of the deal, but in this case both parties were backing away from the deal on a personal front. So I guess they finally agreed on one thing......neither one of them wanted to do business with the other!