“Real Estate Food Poisoning.” This is a phrase that I thought of years and years ago when I started understanding the psychology of negotiations and the contract of sale.

If you have ever had food poisoning, or you’ve ever known someone who has had food poisoning, you can probably relate. Let’s say it was that chicken that was so delicious at around eight o’clock at night, a really fun dinner, and then by midnight, you were deeply upset because the chicken did not go well.

It takes a lot to go back to the chicken, right? So it also takes a lot to go back to that very dish at that very same location, etc.

Bottom line, you’re going to have an aversion to it.

The same thing psychologically basically happens with home ownership, and therefore with real estate.

If someone were to have a water heater burst in their attic that dripped through the second floor and then the first floor, causing them to vacate the property and file with their insurance company, etc., that is no really different than having that bad chicken dish. Therefore, they end up with an aversion to water heaters up in the attic.

Let’s say you had experience with artificial stucco, which is a fine product if it’s installed correctly. But, if it wasn’t installed correctly and you had damage on the inside of your home –a window fell out of the wall, for example – then you end up having an aversion to that product moving forward. It is stigmatized in your mind.

Real estate food poisoning. Why does it matter?

It matters because a seller and-or a buyer in the transaction might be bringing that experience to the table. And it might be part of their psychology in the deal. You might have a hard time separating them from that.

Let’s say that you have a water heater in the attic as a seller, and you come across a buyer who has real estate food poisoning about water heaters in the attic. Even though you’ve never had a problem with your water heater up in your attic (maybe it’s a marathon water heater that’s fully encased, guaranteed never to leak), getting the buyer to come to terms that it’s an okay thing, i.e. getting them to have a chicken dish again, can be challenging.

So, you might have to work around that situation.

And same thing with the seller, by the way. You might have had a seller who had a buyer that walked away from a transaction the day before closing, and there was just a little bit of earnest money down. As a buyer, you might face that seller asking for a more sizeable earnest money deposit with their transaction.

This is the give and take of a real estate transaction that helps everybody get psychologically comfortable with how things are going to move forward.

Being able to navigate through the real estate food poisoning is something a skilled real estate agent can help with. It might come up in your next real estate transaction. You’ll want someone on your side who has experience with negotiating through these types of issues.

Chip Collins is the broker-owner of Collins Group Realty chip@collinsgrouprealty.com or collinsgrouprealty.com