Friday, August 21, 2009

House Sale Update

I just realized that I hadn't given an update on my house sale status.

It fell through, but in an interesting way.

The story starts two years ago, when I put my house up for sale before the big trip with my mom. I had already listed the house with a realtor but wasn't ready for the sign to go up. On one particular day I was outside pulling weeds from in front of the house, when this realtor asked me if I wanted to sell my house, because he would sell it without charging me a commission.

Now, I'm no spring chicken who was born yesterday by falling off the back of a turnip truck. I knew he would add his commission to my asking price and charge the buyer for both. The guy just struck me as being as slippery as the day is long. And I had already decided not to use his agency, because almost every house in the neighborhood that was for sale was through him. I figured he'd be dividing his time among everyone, rather than giving me great service.

I told him the house was already listed, and he left.

So last month, when my realtor told me she had talked to Mr. Slippery Realtor (SR), who was asking about why my house was priced so low (he had one listed for almost 3 times what I was asking and way over the market rates), I hoped that someone--anyone!--would come in with an offer so I wouldn't have to deal with the guy.

But the only one to come through with an offer was SR, whose buyer offered only half of what I was asking. I was insulted and refused.

Eventually, though, SR convinced his buyers that my house was a steal even at a higher price, and we settled on a price. He wrote up an offer, and when my realtor presented it, I noticed that SR had ignored the listing and included the washer, dryer, and refrigerator in the sale price. I had my realtor write up a counter-offer without those appliances. When she called him to present the counter, though, he didn't call her back.

She tried to reach him for a couple days, and then the buyer called her and said he couldn't reach his realtor, so she tried again and got hold of a woman at SR's office. The lady there said SR had an emergency in the family and wouldn't be able to check his messages until the following Wednesday.

We tried to figure out where SR could possibly go that he couldn't make any phone calls, and all we came up with was jail or the deepest, darkest jungles of Mexico (SR is hispanic). But I didn't want to assume bad things about even a slippery guy, in case I was wrong, so we waited patiently for Wednesday to come around.

By Thursday or Friday, the buyer called my realtor in desperation. He hadn't been able to reach SR, so he asked my realtor to put the deal together. She had a bit of scrambling to do in order to write things up so they matched what SR promised his buyer plus took care of what I needed out of the deal, but she got it figured out, written up, and signed by both parties on the same piece of paper.

I live in a mobilehome park, and any buyer has to apply to the park management to be allowed to move in and pay space rent. When I was hanging out at the mailbox, I told the assistant manager that I had a buyer, and SR's name got mentioned. The assistant manager said that SR was in jail and apparently hadn't been let out on Wednesday.

At about same time, my realtor heard from the buyer that SR was in jail, but we didn't get any details until a day or two later. SR was charged with embezzlement, including ripping off his clients. I was thankful that they threw him in the slammer before he could ruin my house sale. Within a couple days of my learning that, all of SR's For Sale signs in the neighborhood were replaced with other agencies.

When the buyers (one guy with cash and his brother) went to the park management to apply, they were upset at having the rent raised, and they came away angry at the way they were treated by the manager and assistant manager (both of whom, unfortunately, come across as a first impression as anywhere from angry to nasty). Even after I offered to pay for 9 months of rent increase and my realtor would pitch in another 3 months, the buyers said they refused to live anyplace run by those people. Their refusal happened this past Sunday, my first day on my new job.

So Wednesday, I went over to the office to talk to the manager and asked her to PLEASE be nice to any buyers I get. She didn't think she'd been rude and said it was like pulling teeth to get the buyer to even say who would be living in the house. First it was just him (the one with the cash). Then it was him and his brother. Then it was him and his brother and maybe his brother's wife and two kids. Then there was the chance that the one with the cash might return to his own wife and kids (his wife had thrown him out), leaving the brother and his family in the house. But according to a combination of park rules and state law, this last scenario wasn't allowed, because nobody living in the house was on the title or an immediate ancestor or descendant. That would be sub-letting, which isn't permitted.

When the manager started to cast aspersions on my realtor, who is also a friend, I explained the whole SR-related situation to her, and she relaxed. She said that every single buyer that SR brought into the park has been trouble.

She promised to smile and be friendly and even welcoming to any future buyer of mine, and she even promised NOT to raise the rent (which she's allowed to do), after I pointed out to her that our rents are among the highest in our area and that I'd already had people refuse to even look at the house because the rent was too high. Thank God for small miracles!

So now I'm back to needing the big miracle of a house sale in this market. Before I run out of money.


Bekah said...

It amazes me to see how much trouble some people can get themselves in!!!! I hope that you can get a GOOD person in there to buy your house!

Malott said...

Do these things come in threes?

SkyePuppy said...


Perhaps these things do. I now have another offer for a little more money, and I've accepted it. The waiting/hurrying game begins again...

Malott said...

It's on my prayer list.

SkyePuppy said...

Thanks, Chris!

Tsofah said...


Praying you have a trustworthy realtor working on behalf of you and the potential buyer/s the next time. Do the realtors do background/credit checks? It might be worthwhile to keep you from being cheated out of the price???? (from one who knows little to nothing about selling a home)