People are sneaky and shady. Home sellers are no different, especially when they are bitter about selling their home, or the transaction itself. Perhaps they didn’t get as much money as they hoped (read: they had the house WAY overpriced), or maybe they were forced to move (not the case in our situation).
When my husband and I began the home search for our retirement/vacation home, we were looking in a specific neighborhood – a beautiful gated community on a lake. We perused the internet to find out what was available and we toured several homes. There was one in particular that really caught our eye. I heard it screaming my name. Really – I did! It said, “Jennifer, please buy me! Look at this big closet, kitchen and storage room. You know you want me!”.
There was a second contender too, but it needed a little bit of work, but the price was much lower. We decided to make an offer on the big, grand house that I had fallen in love with. Now let me preface this by saying we had an amazing realtor who investigated thoroughly and researched the comparable recent homes sales to come up with a fair price. The sellers had set their price so far above the assessed value, and we found out why. Their realtor was also the real estate agent in their former transaction. Yep – it turns out that they had already bought another house, most likely based on what their realtor told them they could get for this one.
A slap in the face
We made an offer quite a bit over the assessed value but also quite a bit under their asking price. To make a long story short, we did some wheeling and dealing, with about 8 offers and counter offers and finally met in the middle. Great right? We were so happy – it was almost ours! There was one little problem though – the last counteroffer they sent back to us said that they were going to accept other offers. What? It turns out that another couple happened to look at the house and they offered just a few thousand more than we did. We felt like we had been kicked in the stomach, as we had spent so much time on this already. That’s when we decided to walk. Our realtor told them we were going to continue our home search, which is exactly what we were going to do (and we did).
The deal fell through
And then we got the news – the other interested party got in a huge fight and were not going to buy the house. Ahhh, it was so satisfying to hear this. We, along with our realtor, decided that we would submit one (and only one) final offer to them. There would be no countering, and our price was the same as where we had left off. They accepted and now we are homeowners!
So what is the problem? Well. They are jerks. We bought a tv from them, that was already in the master bedroom. When we moved in, we discovered that they had unplugged every, single cord from the tv and cable box. They unplugged it from the box, the tv, the wall, etc., and wrapped the cords up tight. They had already arranged to have the power out of their names in a couple of days. Why on earth would they unplug everything – even things that didn’t need to be unplugged? They could have left the cords in the tv/cable box and just unplugged from the wall. The same is true of the family room TV we bought from them, and the whole house stereo system.
We had a home inspection of course (as everyone should when buying a home), but there are several things he missed and/or just didn’t check.
There is an indoor pool in the house and above it are three ceiling fans. After we moved in, we couldn’t get them to work. There were four remotes (why four?) on a little table in that room, but they did not get the fans to turn on. We tried every combination of light switch, remote, pull chains, etc. NOTHING. The same thing happened with the master bedroom fan. Working ceiling fans in this area are critical, as the weather gets super hot.
We asked our realtor to please call their realtor to find out which switches will turn on the fans, or if they don’t work, that’s okay, but we would like to know so that we don’t drive ourselves nuts trying to figure it out. The seller’s response? “It’s just a simple switch on the wall”. Ummm there are 4,913 switches on the wall!
Another issue we had was the wall outlets. Almost all of them were loose and our plugs would fall right out! I have never seen such a thing, but it was really, really annoying.
We ended up hiring an electrician and he found that the master bedroom ceiling fan had been “uncoded” – meaning that he had to pull the whole fan down and fix the little pins to synch it with one of the remotes (that was in the pool room). UGH. When he pulled the fans down in the pull room, he discovered that wires had been disabled/cut – so that only the lights worked. We ended up having to buy new fans. If they had known that none of the fans worked in the pool room or master bedroom, why couldn’t they just say that instead of telling us it’s a simple switch on the wall? The electrician also had to go around and replace 17 outlets. Yes – seventeen. Now our plugs actually stay in.
Although these things may not seem like a huge deal to some, it WAS a huge deal. It was frustrating, time-consuming and just rude. We are less than thrilled that the inspector didn’t catch these things, so my advice to you is below.
While the inspection is being done, have him/her check every single:
Light switch (make sure you know which switch controls which light/fan)
Ceiling fan (find out what makes them turn on!)
Outlet (are they secure? Do plugs fall out?)
There have been other things too, but for the sake of keeping this post no longer than it already is, I’ll spare you the details. All the sellers had to tell us was, “the fans in the pool room and master bedroom do not work, we are not sure why”. That would have been good enough for us – we would have known from the start that it’s something we would have to do, and budget for it. It seems to me that these items should have also been disclosed.
Next I’ll be writing a post about what you, as a home seller, can to do help the buyers of your house. These are common courtesy things that every home seller should do!
Have you had similar problems when buying a home? Were your sellers rude? Did you have a nightmare of a transaction?