The deal is dead. All the stress, running around, the sleepless nights…wasted. I am disappointed, to say the least, and very annoyed. I worry that I lost sight of the big picture, cut off my nose to spite my own face, and maybe erred in sending an email that I wrote after I had a glass of wine. Not a good idea. But I don’t think I’m the only one to blame, I also question my realtor, their realtor, my buyers’ commitment and the home inspector, but I’ll let you be the judge.
Enter a family of six, relocating from another state, looking for a five bedroom house with a nice piece of property. They see our house, not once, but twice, and make an offer contingent on the sale of their house. We, being the owners of said house, eagerly accept after a long six months of showings, and only one other ridiculously low offer. The buyers’ offer is not as much as we had hoped for, but in the interest of wanting to move and recognizing that it’s not about what we think our house is worth, but what the market dictates, accept. The closing date, July 8th.
July 5th, the buyers have not yet sold their house and want to extend the contingency. The new settlement date, July 29th. We have nothing to lose, and again, accept. July 6th, they change their mind and decide not to extend the contingency. They haven’t sold their house, we figure they found something they liked better. We’re disappointed.
July 10th, we get the infamous email, “start packing, they sold their house.” Our response, “Wahoo!”
Things start cruising along at breakneck speed, surveys, title searches, house hunting, and then comes the home inspection, and with it, the home inspector from hell. The inspection does not go smoothly, they give us a laundry list of repairs and requests, some things we had expected like a few issues with some windows, some things we did not, like rotted fascia and rake boards, a leaky pipe, a pilot light that won’t light on the upstairs heating unit, a dehumidifier for the crawl space, a pending mold report for the crawl space, and more venting in the crawlspace. Damn the damn crawl space! Is someone going to be living in the crawl space?
We counter with credits because we are scheduled to settle in two weeks. They say no to what we’re offering. They up the amounts on some things and demand we fix everything else, including a sidewalk square that has raised up an inch or two, probably from an underground tree root.
We counter with more money, specifically, $5,000 and say, we don’t have time to make the repairs, but in a show of good faith, here’s a credit.
They again say no, and then got even more specific in their requests, not only do they want everything fixed, but they want it done by a “licensed and mutually agreed upon contractor.” At this point, we are a week out from settlement. We start to get suspicious, are they trying to back out?
Regardless, we say what the hell, we want to move, so we start lining up contractors to come in and at least try and make all the repairs. Who knows? Maybe we’ll even come in below $5,000. Then, the mold report comes and with it, the kiss of death. They found mold on the floor joists in our crawl space. A big surprise? Not really. It’s a crawl space, our house sits below the water table, there was evidence of previous water intrusion, part of our property is protected wet lands. We tell them we will remediate the mold. They send us an email with an attachment that has an estimate from a waterproofing company for $5,000, with a message that says, and we want the carpets professionally cleaned too, because our daughter has asthma. That was Friday night.
Now, here’s where my judgement becomes questionable. Like I said, it’s Friday, I’ve had a glass (or maybe two) of wine, my husband, who doesn’t drink too often, had a drink (or maybe two), when we get this last email. We feel incredulous. How dare they ask us to clean the carpets? How dare they be so unwilling to negotiate? Here we are, ready to lose a sizable amount of money just from the sale price and commission alone, and now they expect us to give them another $10,000?
Contrary to how the home inspector made our house sound, we don’t live in a dump. Is my house perfect? No. Could it use some updating? Yes. Wasn’t that reflected in the sales price?
So, I fire off a terse email to my realtor:
We will not clean the carpets (laughable) or pay to install a french drain in the crawl space, or fix the sidewalk. We will remediate the mold, but we max out at $5,000 total. We can credit them the five thousand (which we think is more than fair) and they can do with it as they wish, or we can go ahead and make repairs up to that amount. The fact that the list of demands is getting longer by the email, as well as more absurd, indicates to me that despite what their realtor indicated, they are in fact looking for a way out of this deal. (Seriously, who asks for the carpets to be cleaned? Would they like us to paint for them as well?) We, too, have a son with asthma (that did not begin when we were living in this house) and he is a very healthy, active child. We very much would like to make this deal work and have tried to be reasonable in meeting their unreasonable demands and time lines. If our offer is not satisfactory then they can find another house.
By mid morning the next day, I’m already questioning my judgement. Maybe it would have been wiser to have waited for the estimate of the other repairs before having responded. Maybe, I shouldn’t have sent an email after having two glasses of wine. Maybe, I was missing the big picture, that I really wanted to move. Maybe, I was missing the other part of the big picture, that now the mold will forever be on our disclosure, like a scarlet letter for every prospective buyer to see.
Enter, idiotic realtor, the professional, the man who claimed to be an expert negotiator, a full service entity…”You don’t have to worry about a thing.” You know what he does? He forwards my email to the buyers’ realtor. Yes, the above email, in all its sarcasm and bitterness, except he leaves out the phrase, “despite what their realtor indicated” which I included after my realtor told me that he had talked to their realtor and was assured that, no, they didn’t want to back out of the deal.
Not only was forwarding my email so inappropriate, but the fact that he made an effort to change that one phrase tells me that he never had the conversation that he claimed he did.
You can guess what their response was. They cancelled the contract. My realtor didn’t even call us, he forwarded the email and waited for us to call him and then of course, launched into an immediate, “can you believe this,” type of spiel. He suggested we immediately relist the house because they may be bluffing. Bluffing? If they were bluffing wouldn’t they have said something like, if you refuse to fix everything we’re walking? Not, [thank goodness, they finally gave us an out] we’re walking. I think the former.
There’s plenty of blame to go around. My realtor is still an idiot. I have contempt for the buyers, whose children may end up in the same elementary school, or possibly the same class as my son (awkward). The home inspector, ok, he was doing his job but I hate him too, talk about dramatic license. My husband, he’s trying to claim he didn’t know I was going to send the email, whatever, I read it out loud to him, he even made a correction. I did mention he doesn’t drink that often, right? He thinks we did the right thing, though. He doesn’t like to dwell on the past, even if it was less than twenty-four hours ago. As for myself, well, I vow to never send an email after a few glasses of wine.
Am I sorry? Yes. I’m sorry that I’m not moving. Am I sorry that I put an end to these people trying to suck us dry? No. Is it possible that had I not sent that email that something could have been salvaged? Well, like I said, I’ll let you be the judge.
So, that’s it. The deal is dead. The end.