Wednesday, October 29, 2008

House Selling Saga Part Two

So we FINALLY sold that old house.

I thought, initially, that it would be easy to sell. It was completely updated, in great, move-in shape, and priced at the very low end of comparables for our neighborhood. Yeah, it was a crappy neighborhood to me, but tons of people live there and seem to like it so surely some saps would fall in love with it instantly.

So we bought the new house and started paying two mortgages.

And we kept paying two mortgages.

Yeah, maybe it was the housing market. Could've been the mortgage companies. Might have been the lookers didn't like what they saw, you know, if they actually saw the house.

Because, really, I think it was the realtor. And here's the story:

Back in April before we'd even decided to buy and sell, I got an email from a semi-sorta friend who was just starting out in the real estate business. And by semi-sorta I mean the wife of the husband's co-worker who sent me mass evites and emails to come purchase baskets, candles, stamps, and even electricity each month. We went to the same college and sometimes I'd see her at the alumni functions, but my kids seemed to make her nervous, so we never got together any other time. And yes, writing this, I realize she was just another face in the crowd, but we went to the same college! And we live far away! That makes us friends, right? Sorta?

Anyway, where was I? Oh yeah, well, back in April I got another mass email. She was trying to sell her own house and not having much luck (can we say WAY over-priced?)and was wondering if any of her "friends" were on the house hunt and, of course, if you knew anyone who needed a realtor she was available. I know. I should have pressed delete but instead wrote her a complete saga about how we'd found a house we loved that we couldn't afford and, really, couldn't afford what we liked so we were staying put. To which she instantly replied inquiring about our needs, wants, and price range, and, of course, I instantly answered. And we played a little game of email tag where she'd send me links to homes in our price range and I'd tell her again how we weren't interested but thanks anyway and eventually they tapered off to nothing.

And then we drove by this house.

And decided to buy it.

And then I got another link to an okay home in the neighborhood across the street. And I didn't delete that one either. I shot back another saga about how, WOW, we can afford that awesome house after all and we'll be signing the papers TOMORROW, thanks a lot, but we're good.

And then I started getting frantic emails about how we shouldn't sign anything without her. We need to be represented by a realtor. Do we need her to call an inspector? Since the emails contained CAPITAL LETTERS and words like, OH MY G*D, I HOPE IT'S NOT TOO LATE!, I forwarded them to the husband who told me that part of the reason we were getting the house cheaper was because we weren't using the builder's realtor and, yeah, she could represent us, but then we'd be paying her about 12,000 bucks for sitting in a meeting with us. So we signed the papers without her and pretended I didn't get the email until a few days later. By then she'd worked up all the comparable lists on both homes and had the email equivalent of the Amway man's foot wedged into my front door jamb. Let me show you this.

Well, to make this long story as short as I can, Because I am such a stupid idiot nice person, I convinced the husband that we should use semi-friend to sell our house because if either of us were in the same situation, we would want someone to do the same for us. Plus, I figured, if she only had ONE home to sell, she could really work to sell that ONE home. That, and the realtor he wanted to use once lived three doors up and never spoke one word to me, yet when she came to our house she acted like we'd been dear friends even commenting on how she couldn't believe how much Jacob had grown since she'd seen him last. And they moved before I was ever pregnant. Wow.

So Semi-friend brings her boss over to check the house and we like him immediately, kinda a grandfatherly type who at one point balanced both littles on his lap while dodging attempts at a lip balm makeover. Sold. We'll take him.

So Semi-Now Realtor-Friend makes a date to come sign the contracts and take pictures and when said time arrives, her boss came instead. Something came up for Semi but he didn't have a problem taking care of it. Okay. Whatever.

So now our house is on the market. We've moved to new house. Let the buyers line up!

Semi holds an open house. Five families showed. All of them our nibby neighbors. She couldn't figure out why no one came. Couldn't have been the fact that she didn't advertise it on the MLS site or only put a sign in the front yard. We lived at the end of a cul-de-sac, how was anyone BUT the neighbors supposed to know about it? But we were nice, gave her some tips about signs and the internet and waited for the next open house.

But Semi didn't show up for the open house. Her boss did. Seems Semi went on vacation. Might've been nice if she'd given us a little heads up about that. But it was all good. The boss put out street signs and an ad in the newspaper. More lookers, but no takers.

When the friend returned from vacation she called to let us know that we had an offer on the house (didn't pan out). We were shocked because we never even knew it was being shown. We really expected a heads up each time she (or another realtor) showed it. Maybe she figured she didn't have to call because we weren't living there, but still. She could've just emailed me. That always worked before.

The next week it was posted at husband's work that Semi's husband had taken a transfer to Ohio effective the end of June. It was, like, June 18.

A few phone messages and emails later, my husband finally contacts her and very nicely gives her an out on the deal by telling her we would just let Boss-man handle everything and didn't even add the part about how he was pretty much already doing that anyway. She seemed offended. We didn't have to worry. She wasn't going to Ohio until at least September. She had to sell her house. And see all the friends she was going to miss. Okay.

Then husband went to her husband's farewell party where they announced that they'd be having another baby. In December. Uh-huh. So he approaches her to congratulate her and ask how she's doing and, of course, she's sick as a dog and SO tired, and he, again, gives her an out, and she assures him she'll sell that house soon. She was going to go with her husband to Ohio for a week to look at houses, but she'd be back and we'd meet and strategize the sale then. Okay.

That was the last time we ever heard from our Semi-Sorta Realtor.

The next week I went back to old house for more stuff and noticed her name had been removed from the For Sale sign. The husband thought maybe the neighborhood kids had stolen it, but I knew. Her boss would tell us every time we asked that she was still working on our house just "behind the scenes". Supposedly she came back in late August to pack up her own home and Boss-man asked if we were able to get together with them before they left and seemed a tad confused when we told him we hadn't spoken to her since June.

I still can't believe she did that.

Once she found out she was leaving town she was done with us. Totally blew us off personally and professionally. I don't even get the mass emails anymore.

I really did like her boss. I'd use him again. In fact, we might even have him over for dinner one day. My kids miss him. He's a good guy. I sure hope he kept the entire commission.

So the lesson for today children:

Don't do business with your friends. Even your sorta-kinda friends. It's more hassle than it's worth.


Aunt Becky said...

*nods head*

Years ago, Dave had a friend who was becoming a financial planner. And so he hired her, despite the fact that he had nothing really to plan for. And she sucks.

I've pretty much insisted that we stop using her, and we have.

Your story made my angry, dude. I want to punch that lady for you.

Lynsey said...

Agreed. Good story!

Jennifer, Playgroups Are No Place For Children said...

Oh my goodness. What a jerk. I don't understand how realtors don't understand how to market a home, especially in the age of the Internet. It's not hard!

Miss Hope said...

She just flat out sucked.

Crazed Mom said...

Oh yeah, good advice. Nasty way to learn it though. Hug.

Dana said...

I can't even believe this story! What a crappy thing to do to someone! Some people are just jerks.

Tracey said...

Especially the kinda-sorta friends. I have no problem with friends or family that are good ones, and that have experience. But when my sister and her new husband were buying a house a decade ago, they used Patrick as their mortgage guy and some things didn't go as planned. Yeah. THAT was fun. They almost lost the house (not Pat's fault, but it always comes down to feeling that way). Imagine how awful THAT would have been! He actually ended up buying them a Home Depot gift card for $500 from his earnings to soothe feelings (though they didn't know it was out of his pocket)...

Lynanne said...

Unbelievable! What a nightmare! I'm so happy for you that it's all behind you in time for the holidays.