This isn’t an indictment of all lawyers- I work with excellent attorneys. This is a lesson about how emotions and egos of the parties involved caused a deal that was perfect for all to slowly sputter and die like an out-of-gas SUV 100 yards from the gas station – and how not let it happen to you.
Summary of the facts: Local Natick businessman wants to sell and retire. We go to work and find another Natick businessman who wants to buy. This is a match made in broker heaven- successful business for sale, buyer hard and honest worker, understands the business, and has the cash.
Price and terms negotiated between parties. THEN I find out who the seller has retained as counsel. Blowhard lawyer most interested in proving that he’s the smartest guy in the room.
He stirs the pot. Changes this, red-lines that. Seller relies on his advice. Buyer attorney starts to push back. Poof! Deal vanishes.
We come back in, reunite the parties, and put it back together. Yeah, you know it. Attorneys mess with it. Buyer and seller extremely frustrated, emotions and egos get engaged, and personal attacks begin. Parties estranged, sale completely unsalvageable.
Who won the most? Lawyers. They get paid whether the deal closes or not.
Who lost the most? Seller. He’s starting from ground zero- and I’m confident he will get a lot less than he was going to get if he manages to find another buyer.
Buyer? He lost a fair amount of money- but got an education that will net him tens of thousands in the years to come.
The big lesson? Whether buyer or seller, choose your attorney carefully. There are many competent Wellesley and Natick real estate attorneys. Make sure he/she not only protects your interests but also helps facilitate the transaction. Your attorney works for you- not vice versa.
When a deal that should have taken three months drags on for nine months as the lawyers haggle and the meter runs, the odds go up exponentially that it will never culminate in a sale.