A few weeks ago, I wrote about my decision to sell my house. You can read about it here. I did finally choose a realtor to handle the sale. Choosing a realtor is definitely a process. I feel that it is best to interview at least three realtors before choosing one. You have got to be reasonably sure that person will do their best to get you the best offer for your property.
When I sold my first house fourteen years ago, I was not as careful choosing a realtor. It was not until I accepted an offer that I found out that my realtor was also working as buyer brokers, so they were working for me and the buyer at the same time. I do not recommend this type of situation at all.
In the process of negotiations, the realtor always seemed like they were more interested in representing the buyer than representing me. This probably would not have been such a huge deal, in my case, if the buyer was not trying to screw me out of a fair price for my house. Additionally, she was deliberately delaying signing the contract because she wanted me to spend another $500 filling my oil tank and turning on the heat to see if it still works.
Usually, this is not an unreasonable request. However, the buyer first came to see my house during the last few weeks of winter weather, so I had the heat going, and the house was warm and toasty. The heating system worked wonderfully, and the reason for that was because I had installed a brand-new top of the line furnace the previous winter. It was the best furnace that money could buy for a residential home, so it costs me some big bucks, plus installation. The winter that I was selling my house was only the second winter that this new furnace was working like a charm. The buyer went down to the basement and saw that the furnace was brand new, and she experienced how nice and warm my house was. That year was one of the most bitter cold winters in the Northeast.
From the beginning, the buyer had been nickeling and diming me about how much she should pay for the house, even though I had done so many things to it during my time living there. I had spent $30k putting in a new kitchen, which included high-quality custom-made cabinetry, not stock cabinets. I also had two chimneys rebuilt that put back into commission three of the six fireplaces in the house. That was a project that cost me more than $20K.
The buyers first offer for my house was almost $100k less than my asking price. She had a lot of gall. Before she came along, I did have a previous buyer who fell in love with the house and made a full asking price offer that, of course, I accepted. The contract was signed and the inspection took place. The buyers needed to sell their home in New Jersey first to purchase my house. I had no problem agreeing to it because the buyers were a lovely couple who really loved the house and appreciated historic architecture. They were also artists seeking a slowed down lifestyle in picturesque surroundings. I wanted the sale of my house to be a win-win situation for everyone.
Unfortunately, the buyers were not getting any takers for their home. After a wait of two months, the realtors advised that I put my house back on the market. If the couple ever got their house sold while mine was still available, then they could always come back to move forward with the deal. They never did sell their home, and that is how I ended up dealing with the other buyer who just wanted my house for as cheaply as she could get it.
What I also found out is that this second buyer had already found a house that she loved, but she kept dickering around before committing, and another person came along and bought the house. If you do not put in a solid offer and sign those papers you do not yet have a deal. So, she was left out in the cold and had to return to searching for a house.
Unfortunately for me, it was a buyers’ market, plus where my first house is located, is a little sleepy town that most people never heard of, so the number of people coming to buy houses there were few. Additionally, the two months that my home was off the market waiting for the first buyers to sell their home was a disadvantage to me. We all know that the more time that passes after you list your property, the worse it is for you. People start to wonder why it has been on the market for so long and start expecting you to drastically reduce the asking price.
So along comes the buyer from hell, and I had to make this offer work somehow. I had already reduced the price significantly. By the time she demanded that I, unnecessarily, refill the oil tank with more oil for heat that I didn’t need, I had reached my boiling point. The buyer insisted that she was not going to sign the contract until I did it, and my realtor kept acting as if I was the problem and tried to convince me to do it. They had already empowered the buyer to get me to reduce the asking price significantly and now they were backing her up on her ridiculous request. I knew that it was nothing more than a power play on her part and it disgusted me.
I finally decided that I had put up with more than enough, and it was time to take a stand. I firmly told the realtor that if she did not sign the contact within 48 hours, the deal was off and they are to put my house back on the market. It was a bold move that could have sunk me, but enough was enough. I was being disrespected and getting screwed on the sale price. The buyer did sign the contract in the last hours of the deadline that I gave.
The sale of my house took place about thirty days later. The ordeal was finally over, but I did walk away from it feeling that the realtor did not do their best for me. It was a huge lesson for me.
After I moved. one of my former neighbors told me that the buyer rarely lived in the house. She would only be there for holidays and a week or so during the summer. Two years after she bought the house from me, she sold it for the same price that I was asking for, which is $60 more than she paid me for it.