Selling Soulfully with Jennifer Allan


Jennifer's Open Checkbook Policy

Don't be afraid to throw money at a problem to make it go away.

I call this the Open Checkbook Policy. If you've read Sell with Soul, you're already familiar with it. The Open Checkbook Policy means that you, as a buyer or seller representative, are willing to throw money at a problem to make it go away. Maybe the problem was your fault to begin with. Maybe it wasn't. Maybe it's even the fault of the agent sitting on the other side of the table!

Some agents are vehemently opposed to giving up even a little piece of their commission check to solve problems, even problems that they created. I think that's bad business. More than once, I've sat across the closing table from an agent who screwed something up and written a check myself to salvage both our reputations. Never got a Thank You from the other guy. He probably thought I was a wimp.

And maybe I was. Maybe I don't have the gumption to make a stink and create a confrontation. Maybe that's the introvert in me.

Or, maybe I realize that I have the potential to make a whole lot more money in one month than my client made last year... and that my $300 contribution (which is barely noticeable to me) means the difference between whether or not he makes his car payment next month.

Okay, so maybe that's a little too melodramatic. So I'll get practical. I Open My Checkbook because sometimes I have better things to do with my time and energy than start a fight I might lose. Maybe I'm not willing to let $100 stand between me and a $5000 commission check. Maybe not even $800. Maybe I don't want to put that buyer back in my car for another tour of the city.

And {gasp}, sometimes I even mess up. I forget to share a disclosure with my buyer. I mis-state the HOA fees. I forget to exclude the washer and dryer from the purchase agreement. In these situations, I can't Open My Checkbook fast enough.

As an introvert, I'm not a natural fighter. I can't sweet-talk or hard-sell someone into doing something they don't wanna do. So, sometimes, I take the easy way out, for me. It's only money. I can make more.

Peace of mind? That's a little harder to come by!

copyright Jennifer Allan 2007

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The More Fun You Have Selling Real Estate, the More Real Estate You Will Sell! 
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Comment balloon 12 commentsJennifer Allan-Hagedorn • June 08 2007 09:09AM


Great post!  I know of a few agents that do this as well, not only does it show your true dedication, but also the good person you are for this.  I think it is a great thing you do.

Posted by Provadus Home Loans, Technology bringing you home. (Provadus Home Loans) over 12 years ago

I agree with you. I practise this philosophy. But sometimes it stinks (ops, can I say that???)

Not only have I opened my checkbook to make my problems go away, I've got physical labor involved too - cleaned, wiped, etc.


Posted by Loreena and Michael Yeo, Real Estate Agents (3:16 team REALTY ~ Locally-owned Prosper TX Real Estate Co.) over 12 years ago

Hello Jennifer,

Not one of us is perfect... We all make mistakes... much like you, we believe it wise and prudent to quickly confess, correct and move forward, learning from our errors.

Thank you for sharing...

Posted by Wayne and Lynda Gomillion (Real Living Hagan Realtors | Pinehurst ~ Southern Pines, NC) over 12 years ago
Jennifer- I hope that I can adopt this policy too some day!  Right now there is rarely enough extra in my account too do things like this... but if there was, I would feel the same way you do!
Posted by Christina Lackey, Syracuse Central New York Real Estate (Coldwell Banker Prime Properties) over 12 years ago
I am so happy to have come across your blog. Your positive attitude is uplifting. We are all responsible for our reputations as Realtors, and as human beings. I'm looking forward to reading your book.
Posted by Cait ODonnell Donohue (Red Key Realty Leaders) over 12 years ago

It amazes me when I have some final touch ups on a HUD and there was an error made and I Can't get anyone to take a cut off their fees...

  • Title is way too high (SBA)
  • Appraisal company that I didn't choose came in too high (a favor)
  • There's a Transaction Fee on top of Commissions (why why why?)

... and I've scraped my fees down and even my commission down as low as I can comfortably go but someone has to stick to 3%... "I deserve it!!!"  Yeah... but only if it closes!!

Posted by David A. Podgursky PA, THE PODGURSKY GROUP - Make the Right Move! (THE PODGURSKY GROUP @ Re/Max Direct) over 12 years ago

I couldn't agree more Jennifer.  We make good money for what we do and if sharing a little will result in a win-win situation and everyone can move on happily, I bet you have happy (repeat and referral) clients and you can close that chapter and move on to the next.  I never can understand why someone might give up an entire commission to stand their ground on a much smaller percentage.  Good post (PS we did the same thing JUST THIS WEEK and have a happy buyer, seller, and landlord ;-)



Posted by Janie Coffey, Uniting Extraordinary Homes w/ Extraordinary Lives (First Coast Sotheby’s International Realty) over 12 years ago
Janie - I love the way you think! Uh, well, maybe that's cause you think so much like I do...
Posted by Jennifer Allan-Hagedorn, Author of Sell with Soul (Sell with Soul) over 12 years ago


We all have faced this issue, some more than others.  Yes, my checkbook is going to write a check in 2 weeks.  What for?  Well, I have buyers who wanted an escrow check put into an interest bearing account and the listing company didn't provide that service.  So, I'll probably treat them to something special to make up the difference (although it was minimal.)

Posted by Diane Bell, Hilton Head Real Estate, Bluffton (Charter 1 Real Estate, Hilton Head, Bluffton, SC) over 12 years ago

I have had more success and repeat business for my "out of the box" thinking and way I practice my profession.   My checkbook is open..... sometimes more than necessary... but life is short... I am not going to stress over pennies...   I'll cover it... problem solved... people happy.... and I am the hero!!  I'll take that everyday over losing a transaction cause we can't work out a couple of hundred dollars worth of repairs etc.

Thanks for sharing.

Posted by Desiree Daniels (RE/MAX Tri County) over 12 years ago

I agree with your policy, Jennifer.  Sometimes a person just does not have the time or energy to deal with a fight.  Quite often, it simply isn't worth it.  Like the saying goes you have to "pick your battles".

Posted by Jamie Carlson~Prince Albert, SK Real Estate (Century 21 Conexus Realty Ltd.) over 12 years ago

Jamie.....And we introverts need to pick our battles even more carefully! We need to conserve our energy for when it matters. Not that we're lazy, oh no! But social energy is something we're a little low on...

Desiree - I LOVE IT. Yes! You said it very well. And I bet it's working well for you...

 Diane - that is a perfect example. One thing about the Open CheckBook Policy is that it forces you to actually look at the cost as opposed to the "principle". I once had a rookie agent threaten to terminate a deal (I bet she hadn't even asked her clients though) because my seller wouldn't agree to pay two day's worth of rent for a delayed possession. I did the math and came up with $110 for the buyer's out of pocket. I DID not offer to pay for it, but I did casually point it out to the buyer's agent... She apparently hadn't thought to actually figure out the dollars we were talking about!


Posted by Jennifer Allan-Hagedorn, Author of Sell with Soul (Sell with Soul) over 12 years ago

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