After two+ months of swimming in the real estate pool, here's what I've learned:
Real estate is a den of lies.
As a stickler who values truth, forthrightness, and rules, this stuff drives me crazy. Let's start with the realtors who go incommunicado on me. Even my new realtor, who I really like, is kinda flaky. I don't know how many times he's said he was going to do something and then not done it. It's mostly little stuff, and I'm hoping he turns out to be the harmless kind of flaky. When he does show up, he does a great job. But it remains to be seen whether his confidence about selling my house translates into him actually selling my house.
|No trickery please, just sell my house.|
And then there's the buyer for my betrothed's condo. She's been eight different kinds of crazy and annoying. I won't go into all the details, but let's just say that three weeks after her offer was accepted, she still hasn't signed off on the inspection or put the rest of her earnest money down. (This was supposed to be done five days after the acceptance.) And yet she's still hounding us about letting her contractor in to the place, and her windows guy, and her electrician, her accountant, her florist, her medium, her hairdresser. (Okay, those last few are made up, but that's what it feels like.) Hey, you want access to our condo? Sign the fucking papers already! Pay your earnest money! These are The Rules. She doesn't seem to understand that unfettered access to a house before she's bought it is a favor, not a right. Oh, and get this: she's received mail at the place!
|I'm not good at this.|
And there there are the flaky buyers we're competing with to find a place of our own. We've seen several houses that we were interested in go "under contract." This means that an offer has been accepted, and pending the inspection and financing, the house is off-limits to all other buyers. But in three (3!) cases, a house that went under contract was quickly not under contract anymore. Somehow, the deal fell through almost immediately. In each case, it happened too quickly for there to have been an inspection or financing issue come up. How does that happen? I asked our realtor about it, and she said that it seems like buyers are making a quick offer on something that they don't really want or can't afford. Then they get Buyer's Remorse and back out of it. Really? WTF is wrong with people?
|Here's an idea: Don't make an offer worth hundreds of thousands of dollars unless you're serious.|
Which is how we came to buy the same house twice in one week. After a week of haggling on a house we really wanted, the sellers accepted our highest possible offer. I went to the tennis workout Saturday morning telling people, "Sorry I'm late. I bought a house this morning!" That afternoon I got a call from my betrothed: Before we'd been able to sign any papers, someone else had swooped in and offered $15K more than our highest offer. WTF?
We went back to the drawing board and made an offer on our backup choice. (Another case in which it was under contract then went off it.) But then we had to deal with another annoying buyer. On the same day we made that offer, the sellers told us that they had another offer, and asked what our absolute top offer would be. They wanted us to engage in a bidding war.
|Our bidding war was not quite this sleazy.|
When we provided our highest number, we didn't hear from them for two days. Then we got a vague rejection that sounded fishy.
I'm sorry if I sound paranoid, but there's been too much weird shit going on. I don't trust people anymore. Although we were supposed to be in a bidding war, House #2 remains, 8 days later, active with no indication that it's under contract or contingency or anything. Was there really a second buyer?
Meanwhile, as we were planning to look at another round of houses, and even consider apartments to rent, House #1 was suddenly available again. Those buyers who swooped in at the last minute and offered way more than we did? They disappeared. So we made the same offer we'd made five days earlier. The sellers accepted.
We wanted to lock it down quickly, so we scheduled the inspection real quick-like. Before the inspection I asked Betrothed, "What would we have to discover that would be a dealbreaker? Termites? Mold? Dead bodies?"
Betrothed: "Well, dead bodies wouldn't really affect the house."
Me: "Seriously? You would still buy a house with fresh dead bodies in the crawlspace?"
Betrothed: "They could be removed. They don't affect the structure."
That's what I love about her: logical and practical.
Luckily, the inspection didn't turn up anything more sinister than an aging roof that will need to be replaced in the next year. We can handle that. Otherwise, the house is in great shape. It's a great deal in a great location. I can't wait to move in and make it ours. But we're scared about getting too excited.
So we're cautiously optimistic that we'll have a place to live by this summer.