Would you walk away from a buyer?

palimpsestApril 8, 2013

At one of the open houses I went to yesterday the seller said that an offer was made by someone who wanted to remove a staircase designed by Henry Magaziner, a local architect, preservationist and expert on Philadelphia ironwork. He seemed relieved that the sale fell through.

I looked at a house where the seller left the table at closing because the buyer said he was going to gut the house. My Realtor related another story where the seller stood up and said "You annoy me enough that I can't imagine you living in my house".

In the recent case, the seller wants to sell to someone who keeps the staircase, but not enough to reject the offer. But the house that I looked at that the seller did not want gutted--never sold. I offered on it two years ago.

Would you walk away just because you didn't like a buyer? I am living temporarily downstairs from the unit I sold and it's as if I never lived there--I am gone. I am glad the buyer liked it as is, but if I saw the kitchen in the dumpster, I am not sure I would be upset. I would think he was crazy but I wouldn't be offended...

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I am saddened by some of the things our buyer did to the house we sold after I spent our 15 years there making it over. But because the house itself had no historic or architectural value, I wouldn't have refused to sell unless the buyer intended something that I thought was grossly inconsiderate to the rest of the neighborhood.

In that case, I'd walk away. Money is already too close to being the only value in what's left of modern civic life.

    Bookmark   April 8, 2013 at 10:26AM
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I hope once we're ready to sell (maybe 40 years from now) that I could walk away from a buyer if needed. Our house is on the national register of historic homes. I see us as caretakers - the house has been here almost 200 years and will probably last another 200. Yes, making some changes for modern living is OK but not taking out the historic fabric of the house. Open floor plan - never. The seller sold us the house because we wanted to return it to its past grandeur. He walked away from the people that wanted to mangle the house into condos.

    Bookmark   April 8, 2013 at 10:37AM
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Not in this real estate market.

    Bookmark   April 8, 2013 at 10:54AM
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I went back to the home I grew up and married in, but just once. I was heartbroken. I looked at our last home of 20+ years when they put on the market right after purchasing - they kept and were/are not yard people. Never will drive by it again. Againeartbroken. Much like a closed casket, I'd rather remember my homes as they were - living and breathing in my memories.

Neither of those homes were registered, only one historical in nature. Would I walk away from a buyer on our current home? Yes. Not going into details, but when it is for sale - years down the road - if anyone were to come to me from a certain real estate office, I would not even read their offer. Once someone starts spreading untruths about you, and doesn't even have the guts to discuss, that person is off my list to ever do business with again.

    Bookmark   April 8, 2013 at 10:56AM
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The gentleman who sold us our corner grocery store sold it to us at a reduced offer from one made by an investor (who wanted to condo-ize it) because while we wanted to "gut it" we also wanted to return it to its glory as a family home (which it was - half store, half home). The day we received our certificate of occupancy, members of the original Italian American family who first ran the grocery store came over and "toured" our renovation. It was all very emotional for us - especially when they presented us with a picture of their grandparents standing in front of the store during its heyday. We hung it, along with another original picture, in our entryway.

It was hard to sell that house, but even harder to drive by over the Mardi Gras and see the cypress doors covered in black mildew and dust hanging from the ceiling fans under the canopy. Like Allison, next time I'm in town, I'll avoid my old street.

On that note, I'd like to think that the original owners of my current house would be very grateful that we're slowly reclaiming this house back from its 1990's remuddling.

    Bookmark   April 8, 2013 at 11:12AM
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We walked away from an unreasonable buyer during the worst part of the downturn. He was taken advantage of (or so he thought) when he sold his home and was hell bent on sticking it to us.

I would be perplexed if a buyer wanted to change something in my home that I thought was well done but if the price was right I wouldn't walk away.

    Bookmark   April 8, 2013 at 11:13AM
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I would turn down any transaction that I was against, philosophically. I was approached twice by natural gas companies regarding a piece of property I own and didn't even give it a consideration. Also someone who wanted to stock animals on it for "hunters" to come and shoot. (That's not hunting however you feel about actual hunting for food.)

I would turn down an offer on a house if someone wanted to demolish it for a reason I was against.

The thing that is a little different in the cases I cited is that the offers were accepted and they were at the point of signing papers--and the disagreements were not financial.

    Bookmark   April 8, 2013 at 11:18AM
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Once you decide to sell, you need to severe ties. Not with the memories of the place, but the physical building.
Two of the houses I lived in growing up are no longer. One became a parking lot and one became an extension of the street.

    Bookmark   April 8, 2013 at 11:25AM
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Our Victorian went on the market in Jan of 2012. I would have walked away from an investor looking to turn it in to apartments back then ... probably for a few months or so.

Now, one near miss later (buyer's loan fell through day before closing) I find myself in negotiations with two investors, both looking to flip and go (I didn't ask, but given the nature of things I'm doubting it'll be single family) and it is what it is. I feel badly for the house that we so lovingly sweated, bled and cried over to restore BUT real life has hit hard and I no longer have the luxury of turning away anyone with money. I will probably avoid going down that street after it's sold though.

Here is a link that might be useful: Someone PLEASE Buy My House!!

    Bookmark   April 8, 2013 at 11:40AM
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Yes. I did just last week though it was not at the price level of real estate.

I finally had enough and politely told her that sometimes a customer and a business are not a good fit and that unfortunately this was one of those times.

    Bookmark   April 8, 2013 at 11:42AM
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I sever all ownership when I move. The house is no longer my home and I do not feel hurt or sad that someone else did not keep my changes. I have added my touch to all the houses I have lived in to make it home and I expect new owners to make changes to make it their home. I would object to someone who were to purchase it to turn it into a gunshop or brothel or crack house but shy of that if I have moved out I have also moved on:)

    Bookmark   April 8, 2013 at 11:45AM
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Chardie said: "Not in this real estate market."

Don't forget real estate is very local. My market, so. Cal, is very active right now and many properties are getting multiple offers, over list price. So right now, many sellers here do have the option of walking away from a buyer, if they wanted to.

As a buyer, you never ever tell the sellers that you might be gutting or tearing down the house! The less said the better.

    Bookmark   April 8, 2013 at 12:11PM
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The original owner of the house I currently own did that in 1983 when it was a buyer's market. It's hard to believe today but in 1983 mortgage rates were 15% and sellers were offering all kinds of deals to sell their homes.

The owner had accepted a bid at his asking price. But on a subsequent tour of the home a few weeks before settlement the buyer's wife insulted the interior decorating (by Dorothy Lerner of Philadelphia) and the home owner canceled the deal.

It worked out for us because the homeowner had already moved into his newly constructed home and time was running out - if he didn't sell his home within 3 months he would have had to pay capital gains. He lowered his price and gave us a 10% mortgage. And then we spent the next 2 years ripping out the 'interior decor' that we absolutely detested.

    Bookmark   April 8, 2013 at 12:25PM
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This thread reminds me of....

Here is a link that might be useful: a favorite song.

    Bookmark   April 8, 2013 at 12:28PM
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I don't know what I would do. Obviously, it's easier to be picky if you have the financial resources to do so. Since I don't own an historic home, I would probably only walk away if the buyer was contentious and unreasonable. According to my realtor, the original owner of my current house supposedly chose to sell to me over another buyer because the other buyer wanted to gut the kitchen and open up a wall between the kitchen and dining room while I loved the house as it was.

This post was edited by Fun2BHere on Mon, Apr 8, 13 at 21:57

    Bookmark   April 8, 2013 at 12:34PM
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One of my friends had a MCM home in Seattle that he grew up in; the architect was of some local notoriety with an almost cult-like following. It sits on a piece of property which is an oasis in the city, with fabulous water views. When he decided to sell, he kept being contacted by developers who could envision 3 new homes on the property (razing the home). He held out and eventually a local professor, who was writing a book about the architect, heard that the home was for sale. He bought it immediately and had it registered as a historic home! My friend is so happy he didn't go for the swift sale and the house will be preserved.

    Bookmark   April 8, 2013 at 1:22PM
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No. My home is nothing special to anyone but me. It is planned out and decorated for us and no one else. I assume that whoever buys it in 15-20 years will decorate it and plan it out for their family and their needs and tastes. Those will be different from mine. For me, a home is about the life and memories that you create within it and not about the bricks and mortar.

In my neighbourhood houses are beginning to be torn down and rebuilt. Most houses were built in the 60's and early 70's in a variety of styles and are on good sized city lots. The rebuilt ones are in keeping with the neighbourhood and the current size of homes. If that were to happen with this house that would be up to the new owner and I'm ok with that.

I also live in a city that doesn't have a lot of redeeming qualities about it's residential architecture. We're too young for that.

    Bookmark   April 8, 2013 at 2:12PM
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i have never moved locally- have moved several times around the country for job changes, etc... but i cannot imagine walking away from a sale which was at a price i was happy with just because i was annoyed at the buyer or they insulted my decorating style.

i can imagine feeling very choosey with a vacation property perhaps--- especially if it was something i had grown up with that had been in my family for years and i was very attached to.

    Bookmark   April 8, 2013 at 2:14PM
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I would like to think that I would refuse a buyer due to philosophical reasons but I really don't know.

Our first/previous house is in complete shambles. We took an old dilapidated rental house and completely renovated it all by our young inexperienced selves. We over-improved but didn't care since it was a labor of love. In fact, we won "yard of the month" the last month we lived there. Today it's a mess. My plants are dead, window screens are broken and there's a couch on the front porch.

Heartbroken doesn't even describe how that house makes me feel today.

    Bookmark   April 8, 2013 at 2:31PM
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Absolutely I would walk away from the wrong buyer. We've owned two homes with wonderful original features that were worth preserving: an Art Deco home from 1939 and a 1956 blond brick MCM ranch. Fortunately, the people we sold to appreciated those things too.

Our former home in NOLA was flooded in Katrina long after we left, then sat for several years as a weedy, mildewy mess. The new owners, a young Russian couple, gutted it down to the studs, removing the original MCM features. They were unsalvageable though, and I can understand the new owners' predicament to remodel affordably vs. an expensive restoration.

My current home, though, is no architectural gem. If someone wanted to knock it down, fine by me as as long as they don't subdivide the property and upset the neighborhood.

    Bookmark   April 8, 2013 at 2:53PM
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It's funny, isn't it, how for some of us the lives we live in our houses seep into the walls, and we attach to the walls ourselves, like cuttings rooting in a glass of water on the windowsill. I suppose we manage transplanting like that, too, thriving or not, depending on the nature of the soil we put those roots into.

    Bookmark   April 8, 2013 at 2:57PM
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I've never sold a home with any historical significance, so it's hard to say how protective I would feel if it were more unique. In the houses I have owned, I'd have to say you have to sever ties and put your emotion into creating the next home.

Like Allison, I saw the home I bought myself before DH and I were married and wanted to cry. I am hoping it has changed hands, but the landscaping was gone and the garage looked like it was about to fall down. The owner before me had done such a nice job on the perennial bed on the side of the house that people would stop to check it out, take photos. I even had a college professor ask to come with some students. All of that was gone! I shudder to think what the interior looks like now. Broke my heart too.

Fortunately, I have a contrary experience too. DH saw our first house with the new owners living in it. They were actually having an open house when he drove by to see it. He took some photos and it was very different, but they hadn't done a lot to change it. It was also less than 5 years old when they bought it. The most gratifying thing was that they appreciated and were enjoying what we had done with the yard -- fruit trees, etc. They even sent DH home with a bag of apples. Couldn't ask for more there.

I would have walked away from our last home's sale if I could have, just because the guy was a cranky and unreasonable SOB. But we were already living in this house and under contract --all we could do is not cater to his every whim and hope he would walk or risk getting tied up in litigation, He certainly seemed unreasonable enough to do it.

    Bookmark   April 8, 2013 at 5:02PM
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Our last home was over 100 yrs old. It had been designed by the architect who did Saks in NYC and a few other famous buildings. It was on a double lot, and close to "downtown". We did have a developer interested in it and the adjoining property. We fought to keep them from putting in townhomes, and we refused to sell (but it was not even on the market so that's a little different).

Like Grlwprls, we had three different families come to our home when it was on the local Historic Tour. ALl of them were so happy to see how well take care of the house was, and that we had not done any structural changes at all. It was fun to hear their stories, like the trios they would have on the second floor landing for music at parties, and the wedding that Thomas Edison attended there.

I've now bought three times (almost four --- arggh!) and only sold once. I like to do it through attorneys now and not know the other side at all, lest it color my feelings...

    Bookmark   April 8, 2013 at 5:24PM
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Palimpsest, bless you for turning down natural gas companies. I wish the owners of the 7 once hilly and wooded acres behind my house had down that, after promising they wouldn't, since the parcel was all they had left of their families estate (generations). But they sold out to a gas company, and now we live with fracking new wells every few years, 12 huge emission-spewing gas storage tanks, semis coming in and out 24/7, and a huge compressor that never shuts off. We can't sleep, we can hardly breathe.

I would take any offer for this house now, because I'd be so lucky to get one, as long as it wouldn't further harm my sweet neighbors. We've all suffered enough.

Sorry to vent my personal story, but it made me feel good to read your post, that you turned them down. Thank you.

    Bookmark   April 8, 2013 at 6:09PM
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Beth, I love your home but I am a long distance away.

I doubt we would turn turn an offer for our home that was in the ballpark. It has no historical or land value.

What is it about gardens? My previous townhouse was once owned by a horticulture major and he/she did plantings in the front that would bloom at various points of the season. The single guy who bought it ripped out the daylillies and put in tomato plants! Yes, in the front.

    Bookmark   April 8, 2013 at 6:16PM
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There is a tendency here, particularly in certain neighbors to pave over any hint of a lawn or garden. We did a project that was a package of five narrow, non buildable lots, three of which had no houses anymore so they became lawn. There was a huge magnolia tree in the center. The neighbor expressed huge disappointment that they didn't take out that "filthy tree" and cover up the "mud". She suggested nice clean concrete. Her yard was concrete with evenly spaced planters of plastic flowers.

    Bookmark   April 8, 2013 at 6:46PM
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cyn427 (zone 7)

I would only walk away if the buyer showed himself to be such stinker that my wonderful neighbors would suffer with him/her in the neighborhood. Otherwise, I am with those who say that is isn't my house anymore. I just hope the new people would be as happy as we have been.

    Bookmark   April 8, 2013 at 6:47PM
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Ms_M, I can imagine your disgust having fracking in your back yard. Good grief.... I'd want to strangle them. One of our neighbors bought land directly North of our home and built a large hotel. Funny how we were never notified of zoning changes.

This thread reminds me of my childhood home. My parents created beautiful gardens during the 30 years they lived there. Fond memories of df taking us on expeditions in his truck to find large interesting rocks for the rock gardens.

When dm sold the house about 15 years ago, the new owners insisted that all of the gardens stay intact. Our family has a quirk about rocks (lol!) so mom had the brothers come take their favorites along with select perennials that are now planted in our own gardens. Shhhh! The new owners never noticed.

My sil took this pic last year. It looks almost exactly the same as when I grew up there. The exception would be the patchy grass near the driveway. Df would have found that completely unacceptable!

Hope you all don't mind me indulging in a bit of reminiscing.

    Bookmark   April 8, 2013 at 8:28PM
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We live in our first house. We built it in 1989. My DH cut down all the trees, we did a lot of the work ourselves. We have almost 2 acres and like fools, 1 acre is lawn and pool area. It is a lot to maintain. As we get older, I'm sure we are going to want to downsize, but I think we would hold out for just the right buyer. DD has aspirations of buying it from us someday, but she's still in college so it may take a while. :)

It is weird to think of someone else living here.

Beth P.

    Bookmark   April 8, 2013 at 9:06PM
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I have a older home that is historic to this area and it would be a shame to see it tore down but realisticly we live in what is now a high end neighborhood and if the economie comes back up then this home is more valuable for its land than the house. The person we bought it from sold it to use because we planned to remodle it and turned down bigger offers. I don,t think I will be in the position to do that but will if I can. I hate to see older homes tore down.In 1915 this home was a school. Many of the older people in this area remember it as a school but by the time we sell they will have passed.

    Bookmark   April 8, 2013 at 9:10PM
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For wanting to tear out a staircase? No way! Whoever buys my home(s) is welcome to do whatever they like and legally can. I don't believe in preserving buildings in all circumstances, and no building can be preserved forever. Many buildings and structures were ugly to begin with, or become structurally unsound or impractical and need to be replaced.

Now if they were going to do something that somehow harmed others, like some of the examples given, then I would have an issue. But not due to aesthetic preservationist issues.

    Bookmark   April 9, 2013 at 12:22AM
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A few months before I bought my cottage the OP turned down a cash offer for $40,000 more than I offered. I"ve always wondered why. I'm very grateful whatever the reason. I couldn't have afforded more than I offered.


    Bookmark   April 9, 2013 at 12:55AM
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We haven't ever owned anything of particular historic significance. I would not turn down an offer because of the buyer's plans for the house. And we took an offer from a really annoying couple on our last place and managed to close when even our agent felt the buyers had behaved quite badly--our agent commented to us several times that he would understand completely if we walked away. As we told him, in the end this is business and it's about money. Their "negotiating" style sucked but the price was right considering the market and how badly we wanted out. Of course, I didn't leave them any information about the house or any of the manuals for the new furnace, appliances, etc. . . . .

    Bookmark   April 9, 2013 at 2:18AM
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Unless it would break me financially, I would walk away from a buyer if I thought they would not preserve the structural or emotional integrity of a place I was selling. I can see myself being that way about the house we are building, should we ever need to sell it.

    Bookmark   April 9, 2013 at 7:12AM
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Depends on how desperate I was. When we sold our last house, it was the height of the market (multiple offers, bidding wars, etc.) We had listed the house and put the sign in the yard, but stated that showings weren't going to start for another week to give us time to clear out the clutter. We had several sets of people knock on the door and beg to see it so we ended up giving them tours (clutter and all). Two of them gushed over the house and how amazing it was (it was a 200 year old farmhouse - quirky and not for everyone for sure, but wonderful for what it was). The third couple talked about how they could tear down walls and open this room up to that room and get better flow. I was appalled at the time, though looking back, I can appreciate what they wanted to do (the kitchen was cramped, the dining room was small, opening them up to each other would probably have made for a kick-butt eat-in kitchen but still - you shouldn't turn a 200 year old farmhouse into an open-concept floorplan!)

We ended up getting one above-asking-price offer which we accepted (from one of the gushers) so the house was basically sold before it ever officially hit the market. But had it been a multiple offer situation, the tear-down-the-walls people would have had to beat the others by far for us to consider them.

On the other hand, the people who bought that house from us have been trying to sell it for a couple years now - they were transferred for job-related reasons and are carrying the cost of the house (and maintenance on a 200 year old house, which is always a gamble!). Were I in their shoes, I think I would sell to just about anyone by now -- maybe not if they wanted to tear it down to build a parking lot or something, but probably just about anything shy of that.

    Bookmark   April 9, 2013 at 7:33AM
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Wow, this thread has been heart-stopping. I have always persuaded myself that no one would want to purchase our house unless they loved it for exactly what it is -- old, lots of natural wood. Our house was built in 1927 and we purchased it from the estate of the original owner builders. Those first owners never revised their original view of the house and so it was as-built when we bought it. We have updated the baths and kitchen, with the intent of keeping everything vintage/consistent in appearance. All of the wood is still natural unpainted gum wood. I confess that there were times when I myself considered making unsympathetic changes, even painting the wood -- which would have been such a mistake. Fortunately and with the help of wiser family members, I outgrew these dastardly impulses and have come to love, even be chauvinistic, about preserving the house. But I can conceive that someone else, probably younger, may want to paint the woodwork some day. I hope I find the right buyer but I guess I can only feel grateful to have had the house while I had it.

    Bookmark   April 9, 2013 at 8:11AM
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Only if I lived in a home of historical or artistic significance.

Frankly, I hope the new owners of our last home (sold it last week!) WILL change a lot in the house. It needs so much work. They got it for a great price so should have the $ to invest in it.

    Bookmark   April 9, 2013 at 10:19AM
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I have to admit I have made extensive changes to each place I have lived and plan to make extensive changes to the house I am moving into.

However, in the place I just sold, a number of people (including those who had other units in the complex) commented on "how lucky I was to have a unit with so much original detail" and that "I didnt have to do much"

I did a Ton, but I made it look like it was supposed to look (for the most part)--and this is what I plan for my next house. I will make it look like the architect would have for an individual client--not for a builder who was looking at profits. This type of intervention I philosophically have no problem with.

In the two apartments if someone wanted to buy the building and turn it back into a single-family full on Greek Revival, I would agree with that philosophically too.

But mostly I don't think I have agree with what someone is going to do to the inside of a property I owned--I don't know that I "attach" that way. I am attached while I am there, but not after I have moved on.

    Bookmark   April 9, 2013 at 10:42AM
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it would bother me a whole lot more to see someone neglect a home and let it fall into disrepair rather than alter a home significantly/drastically to fit their needs, tastes, style of living etc...

    Bookmark   April 9, 2013 at 2:59PM
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I think if we ever sold our original home, built in the early 1970's and not very architectually appealing but upgraded in a big way, I would be more upset if they didn't appreciate and care for my old garden roses (about 50), and my yard which I dote on.

That would be hard to find someone in this neighborhood; I just wouldn't go back to see it.

    Bookmark   April 9, 2013 at 4:04PM
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I have a contract on my house and IâÂÂm so happy itâÂÂs going to a younger couple with two boys. My husband and I had two boys here as well. They love the kitchen I put in but IâÂÂm sure they will make other changes; people do need to make it their own. I had an offer before this couple that was lower than my now price and I would not even negotiate because they annoyed me. They were interested in a home up the road that had the same nasty builder grade stuff I have been ripping out but it did have an average open pool. They wanted my house with all the new stuff and then wanted me to take off retail 2013 prices for a new pool. I expect low bids in this market but its how they went about it.
There is nothing out there for sale that is worth me buying right now. Today I sent two letters out to owners that have homes that I like. I made sure that I mentioned that it was fine if the house needed minor remodeling or updating but I would be careful to keep the homes character and personality it has now.
Hopefully I will get lucky with that.
I once remodeled a little house near the beach that was the eye sore of the road. Old appliances and old window unit a/câÂÂs hanging in the front yardâ¦such a mess. I put all new windows in, a new kitchen, central air, brick driveway , professional landscaping ectâ¦it was so cute and charming. The guy who bought it was so very anal and a pain to deal with. Several years later my husband and I drove by the little house and couldnâÂÂt believe it looked like the garbage dump it was before remodel. He was still the ownerâ¦so much for his picky little self.

    Bookmark   April 9, 2013 at 6:08PM
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I hope we will be in a financial position to do so. Both my husbands and my health has started to fail, so the number of years we have left in this house might be limited. Our home is a local historical site, but is not registered. It was built in 1868. When we purchased it there had been a previous offer by a business to purchase it and use it as a business (title company). Luckily the PO turned that offer down. He requested a meeting with us prior to accepting our offer. It was an interview of sorts. I am hoping we will be able to do the same when the time comes.

    Bookmark   April 9, 2013 at 6:58PM
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I'm curious, in all the transactions I've been involved in, I don't think I've ever actually met my buyer or seller .... and if I did it was in passing and never to the point of discussing plans.

The only reason I suspect my lovely old painted lady may be in the noose for being turned in to multi family rental is because the bid we're considering is from a property investment LLC. Of course I don't know what they're going to do with it, nor am I in a financial position to ask. Even if I did ask, why would they tell me?

Of course it's different if the offer is from a gas company or something like that, but if it's from a person, how would you ever know?

I'm going to go in tomorrow and happily accept this offer provided nothing changes. I can't afford not too. I've already purchased another home and sold my coop townhouse, I have to be out of it this week and going back to the other house isn't an option. I NEED this sale.

I probably won't drive down that street again though, just because I'd rather not see it if that's what comes to pass.

    Bookmark   April 9, 2013 at 7:57PM
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When we sold our previous home, I would have walked if we could have afforded to financially, not because of something they might do to the house, but because the wife was an absolute b___ch. We had done every little nitpicking thing on their list, and then at the closing she started in with a whole new list. It was the first (and last!) face to face closing we ever did, and we have bought and sold 5 homes.

Anyway, our real estate agent stood up during the closing, said we had already done everything requested and in the contract, and she, DH, and I walked out. We waited about 5 minutes, came back in and signed the papers. Not another peep out of her.

We still live in the same city and same area of town, and I saw her at kids' baseball games a few times after the closing. She acted like she didn't know me. LOL

    Bookmark   April 9, 2013 at 8:20PM
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Texanjana, I never go to closings for the reasons you wrote of. I always sign my papers ahead of time. I will never ever sit at a closing table with the buyers again in my life time...haven't done so on the last three homes.

    Bookmark   April 9, 2013 at 9:16PM
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It's one thing if someone wants to gut my home, undo what we have done and make it their own. That would generally mean they are willing to invest in it, and that's far better than a lot of the other scenarios.

I do feel like home ownership is a civic duty, though. That might seem odd, but it's kind of my brand of patriotism/community/environmental spirit. I take care of our place not just for us, but because of the neighborhood, the wildlife/ecosystem, etc. If someone isn't going to value it and will let it become an eye sore, a toxic wasteland or drag the neighborhood down with it, I wouldn't sell to them. I would also not put them on the will to get the house if/when I die. It just would really violate my sense of purpose and responsibility, and I recognize that might sound corny.

When my parents divorced and sold the house, my mom drove me by later when I was back visiting. I sat in the car and wept. They did not care for the house, it was so apparent. It just broke my already fractured heart.

    Bookmark   April 10, 2013 at 1:13AM
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Yes, and I have. Though not at the closing stage, of course.

But I have declined offers. (I have always sold FSBO, so no agents' issues.)

Most recently, I was selling property in VA. It is a special place, with a house my Mother designed and built for herself. I refused to even discuss a price with unsuitable prospective buyers. I didn't take a hit economically, though it did take longer to sell, and the eventual buyers were unsually annoying to deal with. But I was sure that they "got" the house and would protect the parts of the property that were very important to my Mother. (Plus I had time to ensure that would be the case forever because I slapped a conservation easement on it, as well.)

My childhood home had a really ugly full-facade,later-addition, enclosed front porch on it when my parents bought in 1954. They tore it off, returning the facade to its original, plain, late-19th c New England farmhouse looks. I went to see it a few years ago and, to my surprise, they had demolished the spare front door surround, and they had put up an ugly full facade, modern vintage enclosed front porch. My late Mother would have laughed for days, had she seen it.

The present owners were very gracious and proudly showed me around. I had a hard time however when they pointed out to me the exquisite woodwork in the dining and living rooms where there are raised panel cupboards. My Father made them in 1958, (I still own the Dewalt radial arm saw he used.) but the new owners were ab-so-lutely sure they were original to the house c 1810. I didn't know what to say since I have a copy of the building's construction contract in 1880. I haven't any idea where they got the idea the building was so old; certainly not from my Mother so it must have been from some intervening owner. Probably on the strength of the now- removed, plain New england farmhouse front entry, currently reburied under the full facade porch, etc.

Which only proves that the things we "know" and highly value about our houses may not be what they seem.


    Bookmark   April 10, 2013 at 1:24AM
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This is all so timely for me.

After 15 months on the market and a 30% price reduction, I actually have an appointment at 3:30 today with the realtor to sign the contract to sell my beloved painted lady. She's going to a property investment company. They have close to a million dollars in property assets (they had to provide a balance sheet to us with their offer as proof of funds) so I'm guessing the chances of her becoming someone's beloved long term family home are slim. Her fate is more likely a rental, or worse, being chopped in to 3 or 4 studio type apartments.

It makes me a little sad, but the dire financial situation this whole divorce/sale ect has put me overshadows all of that. I NEED it sold.

I hadn't mentioned anything to my realtor about how I was feeling. Last night on the phone he said to me, you know, every Sunday I'm going to force myself to not look at the house when I got to church (his church is directly across the street). It'll make me too sad if it becomes apartments. He went on to say he doesn't get emotionally attached to properties - he's one of the highest grossing realtors in our metro - he can't afford too. This time he has. He's gone to that church for many years and always admired the house. When we bought it, it was covered in various colors of vinyl siding with half it's fishscale siding missing or covered. It had drop/grid ceiling tiles and 70's wallpaper everywhere, but you could still see how pretty she was underneath all of that.

I'm very excited about my new little cottage. It's no where near as grand as the victorian, but it's very "me" and it fits my lifestyle as it is now quite well. I haven't even moved in yet and it already feels very much like home. I will probably, however, not drive down the street where the victorian is, again.

    Bookmark   April 10, 2013 at 8:09AM
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My first apartment here has had three owners since me, and the last one paid 8 times what I paid for it. It's been interesting to see what other people have have done and undone. Some of it has improved the apartment, some of it has been stupid missteps, as far as I am concerned. The seller who benefitted the most actually did the least work, the market was just hot at that point. You can't worry about it.

    Bookmark   April 10, 2013 at 9:01AM
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I wonder if my buyer would notice if I went and swapped out the dining room chandy in my old house for something else, It was over 3K ....

Now wouldn't THAT be a shame if indeed they do covert the home in to studios and it ended up in some $350 a month apartment.

    Bookmark   April 10, 2013 at 9:07AM
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I am in the process of slowly switching out fixtures from my parents' house that would probably end up in the trash or at a thrift store.

I usually recommend to clients that they remove fixtures that they want, rather than just saying "Does not convey" --it may be the general attitude of people around here but that almost guarantees the buyer will insist on having it.

    Bookmark   April 10, 2013 at 9:24AM
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Oh I was just thinking outloud. I wouldn't really go take it - it "fits" the house. I was just thinking since it's probably going to be turned in to apartments, it seems a shame.

Oh well, too late now, we're accepting their offer today.

    Bookmark   April 10, 2013 at 9:26AM
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beth, very best wishes to you.

I didn't like my buyers or my sellers in past transactions (though I'm not sure that's unusual, ha ha), but really tried to keep my eyes on the prize and not let the personal stuff get to me. My sellers at one point told me that they couldn't sell my current house to me at a proposed price, because they "just couldn't do that" to the neighborhood. Turned out they could when it was clear I could walk away. ;)

My current place does have some historic details, which I love, and I would be saddened to see someone take them out. But, at the end of the day, the house is neither unusual nor particularly remarkable, so it wouldn't be the end of the world if it were gutted. (I just don't understand why people buy ~100 yr old places and turn them into open-concept-of-the-moment houses!)

I *do* think about the more recent versions of my plain jane old house -- like, will someone someday be saddened by a former owner ripping out "original" details from the 1980s?

This post was edited by StellaMarie on Wed, Apr 10, 13 at 20:37

    Bookmark   April 10, 2013 at 7:47PM
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We bought our house from the son at an estate sale. At the closing he handed us a gallon sized bag half full of keys. He went around the house trying every key and marking them. We still had over 15 unmarked keys. I figure we have keys to most of the neighborhood (lol)! His father and mother lived here for ~55 years and usually the only way into the neighborhood is thru an estate sale. I figure neighbors have been giving their a spare house key over the years.

Every XMAS I send the son a long detailed letter of what where doing. He really enjoys it. He buried a time capsule under the outdoor stove in the 1950's. He's bringing his grandkids this summer to dig it up.

    Bookmark   April 10, 2013 at 9:52PM
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May I ask what an"MCM" house is? I've seen it mentioned a couple of times above.

    Bookmark   April 10, 2013 at 9:53PM
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Mid- Century Modern

    Bookmark   April 10, 2013 at 10:13PM
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So, to imagine it..kind of like "The Brady's" house?

    Bookmark   April 10, 2013 at 10:27PM
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