Thursday, June 12, 2008

We're together everybody knows, and this is how the story goes

So I was already writing a post along the lines of "Dammit, would somebody please sell me a damn house, dammit?" I had reached a point yesterday where I thought maybe any slowdown in housing sales was due to crazy sellers not actually wanting to sell their damn houses to buyers who were offering damn full price. But never mind, because I'm now under contract to buy a damn house.

There was much gnashing of teeth involved in getting said contract. Here's a little tale about how to make a potential homebuyer cry. The seller (of House 3, the one I made the offer on yesterday morning), had been left at the alter by a previous buyer. The house had been listed a few weeks ago and went under contract in a couple of days, with a quick closing date. It went through inspection, had a requested repair made, and they were all set to close. Then at the very last minute, the buyer jumped ship, apparently for first-time-home-buyer cold feet.

The house was back on the market for a day or two when I saw it, liked it and made my (damn good) offer. We got word from the selling agent of another potential offer, and I decided I didn't want to wait for that offer to come in and than maybe get into a bidding war. (Especially considering that we could have been waiting for days ... if I had $5 for every time an agent told my agent that someone was going to make an offer on our house and then it never materialized I'd have, like maybe $15.) So I sweetened my offer and put a 1 pm deadline on it to prod the buyer into responding to me before the other offer came in (IF it even came in).

The seller, gun-shy from having just been ditched, was reluctant to take my offer so quickly without some insurance against getting jilted again. She countered that she wanted me to remove the home sale contingency (i.e. my "out" of the contract if for some reason the sale of my house falls through). Never mind that removing my home-sale contingency wouldn't keep me from quitting the deal for cold feet. All it would do would make me responsible for circumstances entirely out of my control, like some mortgage company that's been burned by a few years worth of crappy loans deciding not to lend my buyer money. There was no way I was going to take on that kind of risk when there's no way I can buy another house if ours doesn't close.

My agent went to work trying to convince the seller that I'm a motivated buyer and the contract on our house is about as solid as a contract on a house can be. The seller apparently also looked me up on the Durham tax records and started asking about our other house (the one that s.t.b.-ex Mr. Pants' mother lives in, which he is going to buy me out of ... or should that be "out of which he is going to buy me"?) and what's the deal with me buying a house without my husband, etc.

I was about to call my agent and say "Shut it down" when I had a flash of brilliance: Throw a little money at the problem! Specifically, offer a little bit more earnest money to assure the buyer I really want to buy her house. My agent said it's worth a try, and the seller's agent said it's not going to work but let's try it anyway. Damned if it didn't work. I added and extra grand, making my stake at this point $3,000. I'm going to buy this damn house, dammit. Inspection is Monday at 9 am.


Sarah said...

WOO!! Post photos!

Anonymous said...


And when my time comes, I may ask you for advice.

Looking forward to details, photos.

--Lisa S.