Monday, May 14, 2012

Every Rose Has Its Thorn

This offer we got on our old house is turning out to be a thorn in my side.  I'm realizing that I'm just not up to weathering the stress of one more real estate transaction this soon.  When I was selling my mother's house, it was painful because I lost a buyer due to a harsh home inspection, I was having to pay all her household bills despite having lost my job, and I ended up losing hundreds of thousands of dollars by being forced into accepting a low-ball offer out of desperation.  When we bought this new house it was painful because the sellers were difficult, making all kinds of unreasonable demands, trying to manipulate us into giving up more money, and trying to do sneaky things that could make our contract null and void.  Fortunately, my fantastic real estate agent acted as a buffer throughout the worst of it. 

Now, not even a month later I find myself having to deal with an uneducated, lazy selling agent, an inattentive buying agent, and spoiled, snotty potential home buyers who are already making ridiculous demands because they incorrectly believe they have some kind of upper hand in the deal of buying my home.  News flash!  I'd be just as happy renting the house out, so I'm not in any hurry to sell it.  If you want it, you might consider being polite and behaving yourselves in a civilized, professional manner.

Here's the deal:  This woman came along saying she and her husband "love the house", but she wanted to pick out the colors of the interior paint and the carpet.  I explained to my real estate agent that I am already locked into contracts with the painters and flooring installers, and they have already ordered what I picked out.  Plus, I picked out what is within my budget, and I was sure that what the buyers wanted would be out of my price range.  I have to pay for these home improvements up front.  It's not like they just deduct them from escrow.  I only have enough cash to pay for what I picked out and to build a horse set up at the new house.  My dog's unexpected $5,000 vet bill has already forced me to scale way back on my horse facility.

Also, my agent's broker explained to him that it's not a good idea to let the buyers pick out paint and carpet, because if they choose something gaudy and then back out of the contract, the seller (that's me) gets stuck trying to sell a gaudy house.

I thought that problem was fixed, and then I received a contract saying that I will paint all the rooms in the house a neutral color.  I informed my real estate agent that I have only arranged to paint rooms that have not been painted in the past 10 years.  I provided a list to him of which rooms will and which rooms won't be painted, and he put together a counter offer with that information.

The original offer from the buyer's agent was loaded with misspellings, including our last name, and he got the selling agent totally wrong, so we had to write in all these corrections.  Then the counter offer from my selling agent ended up having tons of misspellings, something I've noticed in all of the ads he took out -- I mean literally every sentence has a glaring misspelling or grammatical error in it, and this time he got the spelling of our last name correct but misspelled my husband's first name.

When I called him to ask him to make these corrections to the counter offer, he was too busy watching golf on TV, so he told me to make the corrections myself and just initial them.  He told me that his wife wants him to stop working on the weekends.  I heard a real estate agent once say that if you don't want to work weekends, you shouldn't be a real estate agent.  I admit that I was hesitant to hire this guy, because he's one gray hair away from retirement and I sensed some short-timer's syndrome in his attitude.  That's why I refused to sign a 6-month contract with him and would only give him 3 months to sell my house.

Anyway, he then forwarded an email to me from the buyer that knocked the wind out of me.  That snotty woman called the color on the walls of my daughter's bedroom "tragic", and said that she and her husband "detest that color."  She then went on to say that even though I am not repainting that room, she is still willing to buy the house and repaint that one room herself if I will paint the rest of the interior yellow.

Ha ha.  Remember how my husband and I kept picking out beige paints and being frustrated when they turned out yellow?  We like brownish beige neutral tones, and ironically this home we bought here in Arizona has all yellow walls, and the potential buyers of our old home want all yellow walls, but that's not the color that's in my contract with the painters.  I chose a warm off-white that should be beige, but I'm not holding my breath since that house seems to turn everything yellow.

At any rate, I'm tired of nit-picking paint colors.  I had actually picked out a different paint color, but after two consultations and estimates, the real estate agent and painter talked me into a different color.  I'm at a point where I don't give a damn.  I just want those dirty walls to look clean and new regardless of the color.  So, I've taken a step back and am letting the buyer, the buyer's agent, my selling agent, and the painter duke it all out, but I'm not paying a penny more for the job.

Little does she know, but while this snooty home buyer is wasting time battling over colors, the value of my home is rising.  If she doesn't accept the counter offer because she's unhappy with the paint color, I might just raise the price of the house once the paint and carpet jobs are done for the remainder of the 3-month contract.  If no other offers come through, I'm sure I'll have no problem renting it.

In other news, I had a bit of a scare.  You know how I moved 760 miles in search of some space, peace, quiet and privacy?  Well, I walked past a window and saw three men standing on the cliff behind my property, and one of them was looking through binoculars at my house.  I said, "You've got to be kidding me!  I move away from one set of perverts and end up living right near another set of perverts."

Then my husband mentioned that there were some fires off to the west.  I went out front, and sure enough, the guy was probably pointing his binoculars over the roof of my house toward the fire in the distance.  Whew!  Close one.

Also, on the day the storm came through, we saw what looked like a tornado to the south, but it wasn't attached to the cloud.  It looked more like smoke rising.  We later learned on the news that it was a "gustnado", which is like a tornado that spawns from a spinning gust of wind on the ground.  It took out the roofs of several mobile homes.  I've only been in our new home one week and have already witnessed a gustnado and four wildfires.

Also, I found out from our new neighbors in the fortress that they are the reason why our property is so quiet.  Before we moved in, there were people racing around our four acres and their five acres on ATVs and hikers passing through, but the neighbors put up signs and fences, filed complaints and called the police on people who didn't respect the signs and fences.  The woman is a lawyer.  She and her husband aren't afraid to fight for their rights.

The neighbor walked the eastern property line with us, and we found that one of the ATV riders had dumped a bunch of old ATV tires on the guy's property.  We also found that someone had set up benches and a campfire on our property.  That's really scares me, because that's how wildfires start.  The weird thing about it is that the person burned some metal stakes that had been set out to define property lines.  So, he was making a very obvious statement.  I guess there are a-holes everywhere you go.  I'll do my best not to start a feud over a little patch of land that I can't use anyway, but if I see him burning anything out there, I'm calling the police and the fire department.


horsemom said...

In this market, all home buyers think that all sellers are desperate and just a couple months away from a short sale so they are going to ask for the moon. If they really like the house, they aren't going to let paint color change their mind. Stick with what you want because if they think your colors are "tragic " then they are going to pick neon mint (the color of my bathroom when we bought our house and yes that was the actual name on the paint can) and then two weeks before closing their loan will fall through. When they figure out you aren't desperate to sell, they will realize painting the house themselves will not be all that tough.

appydoesdressage said...

So sorry to hear Midge's vet bill is climbing so high! At least she waited until after you closed on the house, that was one of your big fears. Here's to hoping she recovers fast.
Buyers are crazy, they think that because the housing market is so depressed that sellers will do anything to unload a house. I'm sorry your selling agent is such a bust, as you found a great agent makes a world of difference. Keeping my fingers crossed for you!

fernvalley01 said...

Scary about the fires , but at least you have one neighbor who is as serious about privacy as you are. As to the sale and the other place,sigh hope it sorts out one way or another

Linda said...

Could you work something out where you put your contract for painting on hold until the house closes--and just deduct a certain amount from the asking price for them to complete the contract themselves? We did that at our house here with the sprinkler system. They were going to put the landscaping in for cheap because they were leaving and just need sprinkles and grass--we wanted it a bit different, so they deducted the price they were going to pay for it from the overall price and we did it ourselves after purchase.

Mikey said...

People are crazy. All this over paint.
I'm hoping Midge gets better. That doesn't sound good :(
The wildfires they are burning! We've got one over this way, it's quite the sight. We drove pretty close to it yesterday. I wouldn't be happy about anyone burning anything near or on my property at all. When our old crazy neighbor set the place on fire with his quad, none of us were very happy. Nearly burned down the whole neighborhood. I'm with you, call police and FD if you see anyone doing that.

Nuzzling Muzzles said...

Linda - Unfortunately, it's not that simple. There are a variety of home repairs and improvements that I have contracts to get done, and some of those people are waiting on the painters to get their job done before starting other projects. The flooring installers already ripped up the old carpet and won't lay down the new one until the house is painted. If these buyers back out of the deal, other potential buyers will be touring a house with no floor coverings. There are other issues too. That's just one example.

Laughing Orca Ranch said...

I agree with Linda about the paint situation. Paint colors are never a deal breaker anyway, unless the buyers aren't serious to begin with.

I'm so sorry about Midge's health issues. That's a heck of a lot of money to have to cough up right after such a big move. As much as I love our dogs and cats, our budget for emergency vet visits is not that rich. We have a maximum amount cap that we've set for each one (based on age and current health) that we are not willing to go above. It might sound mean to some people, but I have 3 kids that need a safe home, food, clothing, educational expenses and the resources to attend college one day. Unfortunately, the depth of my pocketbook is not endless.

By the way, your new lawyer neighbors sound like good ones to have. Do they also have horses?


Fantastyk Voyager said...

That is so awful about Midge. I hope she gets better. Hope the house deal works out too. It does seem too soon to be stressing over real estate again but it will be good when it's all behind you.

Around here, we call those dust tornadoes "dust devils" or are they something different? I sure hope we got some rain soon!

Nuzzling Muzzles said...

Lisa - Yes, the new neighbors have horses, but they can't be ridden. They are very old. They used to run a horse rescue.

Fantastyk V - I think gustnados are a notch more destructive than dust devils and a notch less destructive than tornadoes. The news report said that gustnados are fairly rare, so they are definitely not the same as dust devils.

achieve1dream said...

That's great news about your lawyer neighbor. At least they know how to deal with it and want privacy just as much as you do. It sounds like you can work together. :)

So sorry Midge's bill is so high. I've heard IV fluids are crazy expensive!! I hope she's doing better.

That sucks that you're having to deal with all those problems with your old house. I'll keep my fingers crossed that things straighten out and go smoothly from here on out.