All’s Well That Ends Well (Conclusion)


8 minute read

September 1, 2021

Where, oh where, did we leave off on Monday?

Ah, I think about here…

…Judy was scheduled for surgery the very next day!

“Didn’t you have this surgery already?” I asked her.  But it seems it was pushed back a couple of months, and just our luck, it was the day after this listing came out.

This timing couldn’t possibly be any worse.  I mean, I guess Judy could literally be in the operating room when I emailed her, but even then she’d be out in time to see the damn place!

What if we saw this place and liked it and wanted to make an offer?  What then?

We’d been waiting two damn years for a condo to come out in this building!  What the hell were we supposed to do now?


I could already feel the wind coming out of Judy’s sails.  She’s a brave woman and she actually downplayed the surgery, saying, “Well, it’s not like I’ll be out for days on end.  There’s a one-day recovery and I’m discharged.”

What a trooper!

I was still up north, so I set Judy up with Tara and they went to see the condo.

That afternoon, I saw two missed calls, one at 3:44pm from Tara and one at 3:48 pm from Judy.

Unless there was a fire in the building or some other monumental occasion, I was pretty sure that we had a “winner” with this unit.

I called Judy back right away and sure enough, she was on board.  The space was perfect!  Enough square footage, but not so much she wouldn’t use it.  Great layout, room for a reading area, lots of natural light, and room for a few “projects” in the near future so she could put her own stamp on the place.

Judy asked me what the condo was going to sell for, and I told her that I would be shocked if we bought it for the list price, but that ultimately we would cross that bridge when we came to it.

The listing agents wanted 48-hours on the offers, and while sometimes we consider this a ploy, and a “soft offer date,” I knew these agents and had worked with them in the past, and they explained that there was far more to the story here.

The sale was through a Power of Attorney and was incredibly complex.  There were five children who needed to be consulted by the POA and they were all in different places around the world.  So this wasn’t so much of a “soft offer date” in lieu of taking offers on, say, September 7th at 7:30pm, but rather this request for offers to be irrevocable for 48 hours was a necessity.

If you’re an agent reading this, consider that we’ve all had a listing like this where we truly need 48 hours on the offers, but then some asshole gives us an offer at 6:00pm with a 9:30pm irrevocable date.

Is this allowed?  Sure.

As a buyer agent, should you do it?  It really depends.

Here we were, on Thursday afternoon, and Judy was going in for surgery on Friday.  She would be out of commission until Saturday, so we had two options:

1) Submit the offer with an 11:59pm irrevocable on Thursday night.  Be the bully, try to force their hand, but completely destroy any relationship I had with the listing agents and risk this move backfiring.

2) Submit the offer with 48 hours irrevocable and leave it open until Saturday, thereby working with the listing agents, but leaving the door open for other offers.

“Kill them with kindness,” the saying goes.

I knew these agents and have enjoyed working with them in the past.  They needed time to deal with their seller, so trying to force this offer down their throat with only 3-4 hours on Thursday night wasn’t going to win me any brownie points.  Not only that, if they really, truly couldn’t get the five children to agree on a course of action in 3-4 hours, then I’d be screwed, and have to resubmit to a couple of pissed-off listing agents.

Judy was on board with our plan, and I asked her to go to her local bank and obtain a bank draft for roughly 5% of the purchase price so we could submit a photo of the deposit with the offer and show the POA and the five children that we were serious.  Judy wanted to show the condo to one of her friends from “down the block,” so she headed back with Tara a few hours later, and gave us the bank draft to take back to the office.

I’ll be honest, I don’t think I make friends very easily.  I know I’m difficult, among other things.  But in life, there are people like Judy who make friends wherever they go, and although she’s only been living downtown for less than a year, she literally has more friends than I do!  She made friends at her rental building, she made friends at the park, and she made friends through other friends.

Judy’s friend that attended the viewing that night gave the condo the thumb’s up, and we submitted our offer on Thursday night for the full list price, with a deposit cheque in hand, no conditions as we pre-reviewed the condominium’s status certificate and Judy was buying in cash so didn’t require financing diligence.

The listing agent and I commiserated over our client’s predicaments.

Who had a tougher hand?

The buyer would be unable to work with a sign-back or provide an improved offer on Friday if we found ourselves in competition

The seller was working through a Power of Attorney who needed to speak with five different people in order to move forward.

When deals are complicated, agents really need to work together to get them done.  Yes, the market is hot, but deals aren’t as easy as people might think, or, as agents like myself often make them seem in blog posts, conversations, or interviews.

The listing agent and I agreed that we would wait until Saturday to address the offer so that both sides could work within a timeline that worked.

This, of course, opened the door for competing offers.  But I never thought we’d be the only offer, so I wasn’t fussed.  At this point, I merely expected to be in competition, and Judy was prepared to approach $800,000.

If this all sounds complicated so far, trust me when I say the complications had yet to begin.

On Friday morning, Judy left me a voicemail and said that her surgery did not go forward as planned and that she was waiting for further instructions from the hospital.  If she didn’t get the surgery as planned or within a similar timeframe, this meant that it could change our entire timeline with respect to the offer review.

By Friday night, Judy still hadn’t gone in for surgery, and yet she seemed more worried about her impending condo purchase.  I told her, “Just focus on yourself and your health, if it’s meant to me, it’ll be.”

But that wasn’t true.  I didn’t believe in “meant to be.”

As luck (no pun intended) would have it, neither did Judy.  Because she told me, flat out, “I don’t believe in ‘meant to be,’ David.  I’d like to believe it, but I think we can just keep working at this and make it happen.”

The listing agent told me that they would deal with our offer on Saturday at noon, but at this point, another offer was coming in.  Our offer was unconditional and we had a deposit cheque, so hopefully that would give us a slight leg-up, but I told Judy we’d have to increase our price.

By Friday night, Judy was still not in surgery.  She sent me a text and said that if the surgery happened on Saturday early morning, she would be out until early that evening.

Now, we were in trouble.

With a 12pm offer presentation on Saturday, and a competing offer coming in, the timeline just wasn’t adding up here.

I started to think that there was no way to make this work.

Some of you might think this whole predicament is just ridiculous – trying to buy a condo from a hospital bed!  But this is what Judy wanted.  We’d spent two years looking in this market and here we had the perfect place.

I was a bit restless on Friday night.  I’m a control guy.  When I lack control, I don’t do well.  That’s why time is my nemesis.  I hate time.  I hate that I have no influence over time.  Or time passing.  But that’s a topic for another day as well…

In the end, it was the lack of control plus the unknown that was just killing me.

On Saturday morning, I saw a very early morning text from Judy saying, “Going in for surgery now, talk soon.”

Talk soon!

Talk soon?

This brave woman!  She played it off like it was nothing!  “Soon” we would be picking out throw pillows for the couch in her new condo!

As I waited to hear from Judy, I also heard from the listing agent, who I had actually somewhat forgotten about.  You know, that whole ‘competing offer’ situation!  Lady Luck was on our side today, folks.  The agent who was going to bring a competing offer decided not to, and thus the Power of Attorney and the five children decided that it was time to pull the trigger on our offer.

Nearly two days had passed since we submitted our offer, and that’s an eternity in real estate.  From Thursday night to Saturday afternoon, and another offer never came in.

It was a sweet sight when I looked in my inbox and saw an email from the listing agent with the subject line, “Accepted Offer.”

“Paging Judy.”

Judy had just bought a condo and she didn’t even know it.

Take this with a grain of salt if you want, but I have no idea how or why another offer, or two, or three, didn’t materialize on this condo.  Maybe it was the time of year, although the market has been pretty hot for August.  Maybe it was the fact that we worked on this offer over a weekend, and it was a beautiful, warm-weather weekend, the second-last of summer.  Or maybe this building just isn’t getting the love right now.  But honestly, I would have bet any money that this unit sold for $800,000.  Don’t get me wrong, Judy could have afforded $800,000, but in this case, she wouldn’t have to!

Judy sent me a text in the early evening to say she was out of surgery, a bit groggy, but she seemed to know where she was.

I called her, half-expecting to get her voicemail, but she answered.

“Well…..hello, David,” she said, part-question, part-statement.

“Judy, you bought a condo,” I said, not wasting any time with salutations or small-talk, as has always been my style.  Why keep somebody in suspense, right?

Judy was incredulous.

Completely in shock.  In awe.

She began to cry, and I don’t think it was the pain of the surgery or the happiness of buying the condo, but perhaps just taking the entire picture in all at once.

She thanked me profusely.

“You stuck with me for two years, David.  Two years!  You made this happen, I can’t thank you enough,” she said, and while I don’t take compliments very easily, I absorbed that one.  We did well, she and I.  We put in the time, went through the motions, and we made it happen together.

Two years is a long time, and with the pandemic, it seemed even longer.  But looking back at my time with Judy, it actually seemed to fly by.  I can’t believe we got her into the one building she wanted, into the space she wanted, both in terms of square footage and layout, and we did so massively under budget after prices had risen substantially since we first met.

Most agents will tell you that every purchase or sale is special, or that every client is wonderful, but that can’t be true.  It’s just what they say.

This experience with Judy, whether it’s the serendipity involved with buying a condo despite going in for major surgery, or just the faith and trust she put in me from the first day we spoke, well, gosh.  It was one for the books.

Buying a condo while balancing major surgery?  Easy for Judy.

Forwarding the MLS listing of her new condo to family back home in Scotland?  Slightly less easy.  🙂

Sometimes in life, strong people simply rise to the occasion.  And Judy’s strength and resolve was inspiring.

Written By David Fleming

David Fleming is the author of Toronto Realty Blog, founded in 2007. He combined his passion for writing and real estate to create a space for honest information and two-way communication in a complex and dynamic market. David is a licensed Broker and the Broker of Record for Bosley – Toronto Realty Group

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  1. Appraiser

    at 9:44 am

    Just an anecdotal observation here, but over the years I have noticed that Power of Attorney sale prices are often lower than other comparable sales. Even lower than Power of Sale properties, which are rarely a bargain after all the vultures swoop in.

    I wonder if it’s due to stigma, since the POA implies that a death occurred and that possibly the death occurred on premises?

    1. Condodweller

      at 11:42 am

      Way to stab Judy right in the heart after that great feel good story , appraiser! Do you think she might be reading this post and the comments?

      Feel free to pull the knife out anytime…

      1. Appraiser

        at 2:51 pm

        “Take this with a grain of salt if you want, but I have no idea how or why another offer, or two, or three, didn’t materialize on this condo. Maybe it was the time of year, although the market has been pretty hot for August. Maybe it was the fact that we worked on this offer over a weekend, and it was a beautiful, warm-weather weekend, the second-last of summer. Or maybe this building just isn’t getting the love right now. ” ~David Fleming

        Just adding to the conjecture about market influences. Also beats denying that stigma actually exists (not for everyone, of course).

        Still a terrific feel-good story to me.

    2. Sirgruper

      at 10:16 pm

      If the person died, the POA is void so probably alive but can’t handle their affairs.

      Nice story. Pleasure helping nice and appreciative people.

    3. Jennifer

      at 12:47 pm

      appraiser lol. ya no.

  2. Ik

    at 10:02 am

    “1) Submit the offer with an 11:59pm irrevocable on Thursday night. Be the bully, try to force their hand, but completely destroy any relationship I had with the listing agents and risk this move backfiring.”

    Backfiring how exactly? What, they’re not going to sell to this buyer after?

    This is clearly the best move for the buyer and the only downside is David “destroying” his relationship with the agents. As a client, why would I give a shit about agent’s relationships? As I client, I am only interested in my agent getting me in an advantageous position and netting me the best price.

    1. Jennifer

      at 12:49 pm

      you may still be back negotiating with same agent the next day or a few days later if they dont accept your bully. agree not interested in the long term relationship between agents, but it could still impact you.

      1. Ik

        at 12:40 pm

        I don’t see how, frankly. Seller is the one with the stick, not the agent. If you have the right offer, aka the highest one with zero conditions, you are the one buying the house, regardless of relationship, attitude, whatever.

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