Last week marked the culmination of the Mock Real Estate Transaction–a training program designed to give the summer associates exposure to the full life cycle and many phases of a real estate deal. The summer associates were divided into two teams, buyers (Team Captain America) and sellers (Team Iron Man).
Weekly sessions led by Adam Lustig and Phil Sosnow covered each phase of a real estate transaction, from Letter of Intent to Closing. Coaches Manny Gonzalez and Kent Koch were assigned to each team to help us understand and draft documents, as well as advise us in conducting negotiations. After the informative introduction, the teams would conduct a negotiation, attempting to reach a compromise by the end of the session. Buyers and sellers were given unique fact patterns for each phase, highlighting needs and wants to drive negotiation priorities.
The path to closing was not always smooth. In fact, during the Contract Amendment phase, our deal almost broke down entirely. Buyers and sellers fully embraced their roles and negotiations for an extension of the property inspection period got very heated. Personally, I learned a valuable and mildly embarrassing lesson about the importance of stepping out of the room to confer privately. Thinking aloud in role of the seller, I blurted out “what do we think of $X for Y weeks extension?” Buyers enthusiastically embraced my suggestion, my team shot me looks of stunned disbelief, and Adam declared “that sounds like offer and acceptance!” I frantically back-pedaled and thankfully we were permitted to disregard my comment and move on.
Negotiations didn’t improve much from there, with seller Frankie and buyer Geoff locked in a standoff for so long that we were told that walking away from the deal was an option. (Apparently, we are the first summer class that needed to be informed of this option.) However, after learning that failing to make a deal meant we wouldn’t get to have a closing party, we were somehow able to reach common ground.
Despite a few bumps in the road, the sellers and buyers closed the deal last night. A celebratory happy hour followed at Sugar, the new rooftop bar in Brickell East. The new hot spot is extremely popular, and boasts a wide variety of cocktails and sweeping views of the city. Overall the mock transaction was a great experience. We learned about not only the phases of a transaction, but also about the challenges of balancing representing a client’s interests with the need to compromise to close a deal.