What’s the Problem?

(Originally written April 2016)

NOTE:  Rant attached!!

“Someone wants to sell a house.  Someone wants to buy a home.  I want to make it happen.”  That’s the “headline” on my website.  It sounds like simple concept, and it is – usually.  By nature, the buy-sell process is an adversarial process, but the “degree” of this can vary greatly.  The vast majority of my transactions have closed without a significant or out-of-the-ordinary hitch.  I’m all for a win-win situation, which is reflected in the headline.  What is frustrating is when the other party doesn’t have that mindset.  It costs everyone – buyer, buyer’s agent, seller and seller’s agent – lots of time, money, effort and grief.  In fact, I just had my first transaction that didn’t make it to closing.  I’m not sure if it was an uncooperative seller or their agent, but there was no desire at all for them to work with my buyer.  Here’s what happened…

The home was on the market for around $160,000, with the seller offering a “flooring allowance” of $5,000.  We got into a multiple offer situation, and my client ended up offering $4,000 more than what the seller had originally asked, and we went under contract.  That didn’t even account for the flooring.  Part of the process after contract involves a through inspection of the house. The home inspector found termites and related damage, a leaky dishwasher, problems with the stove, some non-functioning electrical outlets, and an HVAC system near the end of its life.  There were lots of wood rot issues and more.  Now, in general, most of these are fairly typical problems, and a good seller will take care of getting these items fixed for the buyer – or make some other arrangements, like paying a buyer’s closing costs instead of making repairs.  We got quotes for the work, and the total sum was well over $3,000 – and that wasn’t including repairing or replacing the dishwasher or the stove, which the buyer was willing to replace.  And the house didn’t have refrigerator, but the buyer knew that going in.  And remember, the buyer was still going to have new flooring installed.  The buyer was going to be putting in $8,000 for appliances and flooring.  The buyer asked the seller to pay $3,000 towards closing costs in lieu of making repairs.  The seller countered with $600.  When I called the listing agent to confirm his email, he said yes, that’s the right amount, and then hung up on me! That’s not just adversarial, that’s confrontational!  My buyer had already spent over $1200 in this transaction, and the seller and/or her agent weren’t willing to work with us.  So much for win-win.  This ended up being lose-lose, at least for us.  The house went back on the market and is under contract again, but those problems didn’t go away.  It sounds like a set-up for yet another lose-lose situation. Someone wants to sell a house, and someone wants to buy a house.  Why is there a problem???