27 June 2009

Buying a House is Realtor Fun

Rebecka and I are in the process of trying to buy a house. Actually, we are already in contract and have the loan ready and everything. In the contract, though, is this wonderful clause we inserted that states that the contract is "contingent on acceptable house inspection report," which means that if we do not like what we see in the house inspection report (which we had to pay for), then we can walk away from the contract and the purchase of the house.

Now we work with a realtor who represents one realty company out here. The owners of the house work with a different realtor who represents another realty company and, incidentally, is a long-time friend of the owners. (We know this because there is some kind of requirement that family or close friends of house sellers must indicate to all potential buyers about this. I wasn't entirely sure why at the beginning, though I think I'm getting a handle on it now.) Having your own realtor working for you as a buyer is probably the best thing you could ever do as far as house-shopping.

Our realtor works for us to make sure we get what we want out of the house we will buy. She gets a commission off of the selling price, which is part of the selling realtor's commission. I'm sure the selling realtor is excited about us having a realtor. So, as a result, we do not have to talk to the sellers directly at all. If it wasn't for the paperwork, I probably would never have know their names.

When we started the contract, we had just come away from a house that we liked much better and was significantly lower in price, but that was sold before we really even got our offer faxed to the realtor. So, with this next house that was high on our list of properties we liked, we decided to ask the seller how much they would be willing to take. It had been on the market for almost a year, so we figured they would be willing to drop the price a bit, which they did, but only a little.

So, the offer they accepted was in the amount of the price they wanted. They almost did not take it because they had a built-in surround sound system. Of the few manly characteristics I have, one of them is the sheer masculine enjoyment of having the voices of news people surrounding my head with the subwoofer shaking with the baritone of the anchorman. Well, that and explosions.

Oh, the audacity of us to request the built-in speakers! How dare we ask for something like that when they "came down so far on the price"! Fortunately, their realtor was smart enough to say "don't lose this house because of the speakers."

We had a qualified and very professional home inspector look at the house. He looked at every little detail, took pictures, crawled under the house, climbed on the house, opened and closed doors and windows and vents. It was amazing. Afterwards, he showed us his key points of concern and then emailed us later a formal report detailing very clearly the problem areas and what may be needed to fix them.

So, now I come back to that wonderful inspection clause. One of the major problems with the house was that the land and driveway was sloped toward the house, causing excess moisture to end up in the crawl space. This led to a build-up of condensation underneath the house and on the insulation. This problem can further lead to rotting the underlying timbers, black mold, and weakening the foundation--none of these a small problem. As any good homebuyer would do, we had our realtor ask their realtor to fix the problem or allow us money in the mortgage to fix it ourselves.

Now this is where I started discovering the reason for the thing about the realtor being closely associated with the owners. Their realtor was appalled (and possibly even asilased) that we would ask such a thing. Were we trying to get out of the contract? (Note: If we had been just trying to get out of the contract, we could have just said, "Oh, we didn't like what we saw on the home inspection: see ya!" and it would've been justifiable and legal.) Our realtor responded that there were 29 problems that the inspection found and that we as the buyers were willing to take care of all but four of them (all four of which were directly related to the water problem).

So, as of today, we are still waiting to see if they will fix the problem and we get a new home, or if we are searching again.

UPDATE: 6/27/09 7:00PM

Seller decided that it would be better for him to continue paying on a house which has been for sale--and, in which he has not lived--for a year now than to pay a little bit of money up front to fix a (bad) problem so that we could buy it. Why can people not look at the big picture of things before they make incredistupid decisions? Oh, well: now on to find another more different house.


Eugene and Tabby said...

Sorry about not getting house. It can be a long frustrating experience. I'm glad you got the home inspection, best money you can spend. You should move to my neighborhood. There's a really nice house for sale, a little on the small said, but super cute.


LeviSamJuno said...

Seems like it'd be a long drive to work for me, though. Of course, Rebecka can work anywhere.