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Wake Up and Smell the Closing Costs

August 21, 1994

The Wulfs ("The Evolution of Getting Escrewed" by Carrie Wulf, July 31) must be spoiled brats. We just sold our house and bought another one and are extremely grateful for all the hard work that our real estate agent and escrow company put into making our dream happen.

Ms. Wulf, why did you accept an offer at a $55,000 loss? No one forced you to take that offer just two weeks after your house went on the market.

Who forced you to use an agent? Without a real estate agent, how would anyone know about your house being on the market? Multiple listings ensure that all agents know about your listing. Real Estate agents work very hard; ours had open houses every weekend until our house sold. I never realized how much work went into selling a home. She earned every penny of her commission.

Sure, it was a pain filling out all of the paperwork. But again, whenever we had questions, we called our agent or escrow officer; everyone was more than eager to help us. We also pre-qualified for a loan, thus completing much of the paperwork ahead of time.

Tell me, Ms. Wulf, do you have time to process all the paperwork, do it correctly and on time? Surely you don't expect appraisers, pest control workers, title companies, etc., to do their jobs for free. You must live in a dream world and have no idea how much paperwork is involved in "real life."

You were very fortunate to sell your house and find another one quickly. You've gone through the experience before and should have known what to expect.

I have no sympathy for malcontents such as you two who are obviously entitled to more than the rest of us. Next time sell your house on your own.



Carrie Wulf's shortsightedness and naivete caused her to write a lamentation that does great disservice to thousands of hard-working and knowledgeable professionals in all phases of the real estate industry.

Her complaints are particularly hollow in that her transactions were completely optional. Anyone who sells their home in a buyer's market just because they "get an itch to" shouldn't be surprised to take a loss.

They then complain that their broker made a commission. A professional realtor receives no salary or wage for just showing up each day. A realtor must invest considerable time and expense to get licensed, maintain Board of Realtors and MLS membership, attend continuing education courses, maintain market awareness through review and caravans, negotiate the transaction, and then coordinate title, escrow, lending, property inspection, termite work and hand hold their client before they earn a dime and then only at the close of a successful transaction.

The writer then complains about the fact that she had to pay for her loan, escrow and closing costs. Yes, it does cost money to borrow money. Always has, always will. Yes, it does cost money to process all the paperwork required to transfer real estate legally from one party to another.

However, all of that work and expense is required to meet the countless federal, state and local rules and regulations that have primarily been put in place so that everyone in the transaction is treated fairly and everyone gets exactly what they bargained for.

This last concept is the most important of all. These people listed their house with a professional agent and got an agreeable price within two weeks, they bought another home with the help of this same agent, again at a price they agreed to, then applied for and received a new loan under terms and conditions they agreed to. She admitted that they received quick and efficient escrow and closing service. In summary, they got exactly what they bargained for.

Had they not wanted to undertake these expenses, they could have stayed in the "single family dump" (her words) in which they were living.

Her only complaint seems to be that they had to actually pay for the professional services that they bargained for and received.

Times readers interested in real estate issues would be much better served by articles explaining the complexities of the real estate transactional process. Ignorant whinings by an obvious cheapskate are of little value.

JIM TYNER, President, Independent Escrow Assn.


It is easy to understand the Wulfs' frustration in the sale of their home and the purchase of another. It can be, to many, a frightening venture. The simplest transaction would be for cash and, if the parties were prepared to complete it as soon as possible, it could be done in 24 hours. This without the interference of the lender, title company, termite man, homeowners associations, appraiser and the list can get even larger. Each one contributes to the confusion and cost, all ending up in that place called "escrow."

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