|A few months ago, we completed the purchase of our second house. It was a trying experience, for a variety of reasons. Of course it meant selling our first house, moving all our stuff, paying the ridiculous fees that go along with buying a house, and whatnot. But it was made much worse by the sellers of the house we were buying, and really the entire process in general.
After a few different tries at it, and months of looking each time, we found a house we liked for a price we could afford in an area that was convenient for us. Standard hurdles, made more difficult because we had preferences that included things like having a garage and not living on a main road. The house had been put on the market in January, and the price was lowered in March. We put in an offer in May for under the asking price, and there just so happened to be a higher offer at right around the same time. I still have a hard time believing that was an actual offer, and not the seller's friend pretending to put in a higher offer so we would increase our offer. On the market for four months and suddenly you get two offers in one week? Regardless, we increased our offer and they accepted, and they also offered to sell us stuff from their house -- standard stuff like a washer and dryer, curtains, etc. But they also offered a big ugly shelving unit in the basement that they didn't feel like moving out, plus a generator hookup, which was physically wired to the main circuit breaker box. I questioned how they could sell us the house then charge us more for the actual contents of the house, but I was told this is an acceptable practice. Already feeling slighted, I rejected all their offers, hoping they would be pissed off at having to clear all that stuff out of their house.
So we put in the initial paperwork and waited around for a while. About a month later, our realtor asked us if we secured a mortgage yet. We thought we were still in the negotiation process and needed to wait until after the home inspection. (Side note: This is the second time we've done this process in a decade. We can't remember what happened last time, and we won't remember what happened this time. You'd think a realtor would understand that.) We hadn't even started the paperwork and document-collecting. So suddenly we had to rush around and try to get a mortgage, which was no problem and we were already pre-approved for. But the actual process takes time, and suddenly people felt the need to rush.
The home inspection went fine, except for one little detail: The home inspector initially said he'd never seen such low numbers on a radon test, which suggested to him that the test had been tampered with. He didn't note this on his report, since the actual numbers fell within the acceptable limits. But his feeling was that the seller moved the radon test kit so it wouldn't show the actual radon numbers in the house. Since it wasn't official, nothing was done about it. So that's cool.
At some point in the process, the potential buyer of our old house hit a snag with finances or something, so the closing date had to be postponed a few weeks. Our seller sent along a nice little threat saying the delay was unacceptable and that they could simply accept one of the other offers on the table. I was pretty sure that wouldn't happen because we already had a signed legal contract, but that didn't make the threat any less threatening.
Next up was the home warranty. The real estate listing said there was a home warranty, which is a pretty cheap thing for the seller to pay for in case of unexpected broken appliances or whatnot. In the signed contract after submitting our official offer, the seller said they refused to pay for a home warranty. I went to our realtor and objected to the seller's habit of offering something for free and then reneging. Realtor-to-realtor discussions proved I was correct. The seller still refused to pay for the warranty, so the seller's realtor ended up paying for it. This is the type of person we were dealing with.
A few weeks before our scheduled closing date, I decided to do a quick drive by the house just to make sure they didn't decide to steal anything else from us. What I found was a giant pile of trash and household construction debris on the curb. Like a ridiculous giant pile of garbage. I figured that was gonna be my first home project, so I kept driving and hoped the issue would take care of itself. By closing time, the pile had magically vanished, but not before the seller's realtor received complaints from neighbors for the giant pile of trash in the otherwise nice neighborhood.
At the official closing at the lawyer's office, the seller didn't show up because they had already moved to Texas. The seller's lawyer signed the papers and said something along the following lines: "Not to be racist, but I've dealt with people from that culture before, and they all tend to be like that." The seller's realtor had a similar comment: "Most real estate negotiations are win-win: Both sides come out on top. This seller was the first person I've dealt with who was a win-lose negotiator."
So there you have it. Three months of my life questioning if I would have a house to live in. I'm sure all real estate transactions have their complications. I feel like it shouldn't have to be that way. #money