Deal going sour... so very sour.. (long rant)

aasonalkFebruary 10, 2012

Hi All,

I just wanted to talk something out that's been bothering me. Its long. And you guys are my sounding board. Apologies in advance. (But I would love to hear opinions)

Three weeks ago, we saw some homes, saw one that we liked in a good neighborhood, and were ready to make an offer. we were already pre-approved by our lender for 490K. The house was listed at 455K.

When we toured the house, our agent informed us that the sellers agent had informed her that multiple people were interested in that house, so if we wanted to get it, we should be quick. Our agent suggested offering full asking price. We said we would like to review comps and then make an appropriate offer.

We asked our agent to send us comps from the same neighborhood the same night, we would review and meet with her the very next day to write up our offer. Our agent sent us 9 comps from the last 9 months, 8 of which sold for 435K and one for 415K (short sale). Except the 415K all the others were regular sales.

We made up our mind to go in with 435k.

The next day when we reached our agents office to write the offer, she informed us that she had had another chat with the sellers agent and they informed her that the seller now had a verbal offer from someone that was higher than what we were planning to offer, and that the seller refused that verbal offer away. They could show us no proof of such an offer because it was verbal, obviously. So if we wanted the house we had to offer at least 445K. My husband and I both felt that the house would not appraise to 445K but were sort of softly pressured by our agent to make the offer for 445K to "stay in the game" with the condition clause that the house must appraise to that amount, or we could renegotiate.

We did that. Well, the appraisal came out to 440K, which I personally thought was generous. But we decided to honor it, and asked to amend our offer to 440K. Meanwhile, our loan got approved. The bank will only loan on 440K, but its approved. We're good to close even in 10 days now. Well, the sellers agent took a whole week to get back, and she finally responded that the seller has a cash buyer who he thinks will offer him full price, but will not make a written offer (even as a backup). Since he (the seller) values us being strong buyers and since our loan is now approved, (and not to mention we are in contract) the seller recognizes that we are as good as a cash buyer and wants to counter with 442,500.

I know 2,500 is a paltry sum in the big scheme of things, but its 2,500 that we must bring in cash because the bank will not loan on it since its above the appraised value. Its 2,500 we should additionally give to the seller because he thinks his house is worth that, no one else does. Also, we're a bit upset with the seller for constantly throwing it in our face that he has other buyers (with dubious timing) none of whom ever made written offers.

Today we informed our agent of our displeasure and that we want to stick to 440K, and she informed us that the seller wont go any lower than 442,500. For the first time ever, we were told today that when we offered the 445K initially, our agent and the sellers agent had agreed to cutting parts of their commissions to make that number work for the seller. They 'sorted it out' with the seller! Our agent too.

We were appalled.

We are so saddened by the way this deal has turned out. We never wanted other people involved in this transaction to cut their hard earned commissions out to please the seller. That was never our intention. We just wanted it to be straight forward in that - we offer what we think is appropriate and we are contented with, and the seller accept if he is happy with it. Otherwise we each go our ways. But this is not turning out like that. In such a buyers market, the seller is sticking to his guns to the point where other people are "chipping in" to make the deal work and all this is leaving a bitter taste in our mouths. We would never be happy accepting something like this from people. It hurts us to even think of that house in a pleasant light anymore.

I dont know what to do. I don't think we should pay 442,500 even though we really liked the house. And especially if we have to fork out 2,500 in cash in addition to the downpayment, closing costs and prepaids. And I don't think other people should "chip in" for us either. Most definitely not.

Am I being an over emotional egotistic fool, and should just stop whining and pay up? or walk away?

Does anyone have an opinion on this they would like to share?

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Sounds to me like the seller is playing a game and knows you really want the house and already have money invested in the transaction for appraisals/inspections etc. so taking a gamble on you walking. You're already overpaying on the market value so question is do you want to pay even more? Even though the appraisal came in higher than the comps doesn't mean that another appraiser would be at the 240K they could be less or more although hard to think with the comps you mentioned.

I would be tempted to walk and see what happens if you know you can find other homes that will work for you. I have walked several times with unreasonable sellers even though their property was unique and I wouldn't be able to find one like it again. I view it as a business transaction and I'm not going to overpay just because a seller thinks their stuff is worth more than it is.

One played a similar game to yours and that house didn't sell for another 6 months after we walked away and for less than our offer. Their loss.

Another is still for sale expect they have now raised the price by 35K over the price 3 years ago when in my area prices have decreased by a few percent and not increased. House now needs a roof. When we offered on it the roof was at the end of its life.

    Bookmark   February 10, 2012 at 5:15PM
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I would refuse to offer more than 440k and if the sellers want to walk so be it.

A few weeks ago we were looking at houses and found we really liked but we felt it was overpriced by about 10%. So we offered accordingly. We were willing to pay a bit more than the comps said it was worth but nowhere near what they were asking. They made a very high counter-offer (about 99% of asking). We looked at the comps and made a counter offer and they still wanted something that was at least $15k over what I felt comps supported. We were told that the sellers were getting a showing every day (but the house had already been on the market for 8 months) and had a number of second showings (but none of those people had contracted to buy the house). So we terminated negotiations.

I truly loved the house and wasn't sure if I could find another I liked as well (we have a number of requirements that aren't easy to find). But I reasoned that it is coming up to spring when there will be many houses on the market and there will be some other house.

Ironically, a week later we found a house that we overall like better than the house we couldn't make a deal on. The seller's were far more reasonable on pricing and it wasn't hard to get to a deal. In the meantime I noticed that the original house is no longer in MLS and shows as having a terminated listing....

    Bookmark   February 10, 2012 at 5:31PM
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Thanks lyfia, and kats_meow. Both DH and I think that we should just stick to the 440K and take our chances.
I was encouraged to read about both your experiences. We too have lots of parameters that need to be fulfilled and such houses are not too easy to find. Maybe that's why we are glued to this one. But I guess if we walk, I'm glad to hear it wont be the end of our search.
Lets see how it goes. I'll keep you posted....
Fingers crossed.

    Bookmark   February 10, 2012 at 5:49PM
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Comps suggest $435k, and you get persuaded to give $445k. Agreeing to this and offering $10k more than you had originally intended just gave the power to the sellers. They now know you really want this house. So the appraisal comes in at $440k, and that is all the bank will lend, so of course that is now the fair price to pay. Why would the sellers take $442.5k from you if they think a full price offer is still coming in? I think the sellers are jerking you around.

I would call their bluff and make the sellers realize who actually has the power - you're the ones with the money. In fact, I would be very tempted to drop my offer back down to $435k. It is not the least bit uncommon for a house to sell under the appraised value. Of course if the seller is for real, and the house disappears, that's just the chance you take. It all depends on how bad you want the house, and how strongly you feel this is THE house.

Good luck.

    Bookmark   February 10, 2012 at 6:41PM
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Oh - another thing - never give them a whole week to respond - that allows them to recieve other offers. 24 hours is plenty. Your offer should have a time limit on it, and once that has expired, the deal is gone.

    Bookmark   February 10, 2012 at 6:45PM
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I would stick with the $440K and not a penny more. I wouldn't have agreed to that much seeing as how the comps don't warrant that price and if I'd have lost the house so be it. Another house would come along at some time. I would never go with the word of the agent that a "verbal" offer was on the table for more money. I just wouldn't trust that information. Let them know, no other counter offers from you. Final offer. NancyLouise

    Bookmark   February 10, 2012 at 7:11PM
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Are you working with a buyer's agent? If not, then 'your agent' isn't really your agent once you make an offer - they are working for the seller and their duty is to see the sale close, not to represent your interests. That's a hard lesson we learned. I'm so sorry you are going through this - buying a house is a huge purchase and ideally emotions should not enter in to it but they always do - we're humans buying a *home*. I totally agree with cas66ragtop - meet with your agent (such as she is), tell her you are holding firm with your 440 offer, put that 24 hour limit on it (in writing) and if not accepted, it drops to 435 - in writing. I hope it works out for you - favorably.

    Bookmark   February 10, 2012 at 7:37PM
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"Oh - another thing - never give them a whole week to respond - that allows them to recieve other offers. 24 hours is plenty. Your offer should have a time limit on it, and once that has expired, the deal is gone."

Good suggestion.

    Bookmark   February 10, 2012 at 11:55PM
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I think you have let "someone" in on the fact that you'll pay more. I would NOT have gone over the comps, but certainly not more than the appraisal. If you give these people an inch, they're gonna take a mile later on down the road....

I definitely agree you need to limit their time for an answer. I would also ask your agent to make some appointments for other showings while you wait for the answer. Word will get back to their agent. Both agents want this deal to close, obviously. How does that old song go? You gotta know when to hold 'em, and know when to fold 'em!

    Bookmark   February 11, 2012 at 12:58AM
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I would advise a client to stick to the appraisal price and no more.

    Bookmark   February 11, 2012 at 7:48AM
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Ignore the seller, focus on taking care of your own needs and wants.

Do you have to buy now? Does this house have features no other house would ever have?

Price wise, obviously this house is not a bargain of the century. If this house is not that unique, and you are not under pressure to buy now, then just walk away.

It sounds like you showed too much 'love' toward this house, and shared too much with your agent. I would replace an agent who would ever try to talk me into paying over comp and appraisal value. If you and your husband are not tough negociators, you need to find an agent who is good at negociating.

Spring is around the corner, there will be tons houses come to the market. If I were you, I would find a new buyer's agent and continue looking.

    Bookmark   February 11, 2012 at 8:20AM
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Thank you for the wonderful suggestions you guys! cas66ragtop, time limiting the offer is such an awesome idea. I think we'll certainly do that in our response.
dlm2000, yes we're working with a buyers agent. At least that is what the paperwork says, LOL.
We don't have to buy now, though house hunting is such a drain that I would like to get it over with.
Redcurls, I think you are absolutely right. We definitely did show our realtor that we *really* liked this house, which is where the biggest mistake was. We should never have been tempted by her to offer more.

We slept over it last night, and I think both DH and I strongly feel that its 440 or nothing. Nothing more. Thanks to you all, I think I have more conviction in that thought.
Let's see how it goes from here. I guess it will have to be Monday to make a counter. This time we will add time limits.
Fingers crossed. :)

I'll keep you posted...

Again, thank you all for the wonderful suggestions, and reinforcing the right things.

    Bookmark   February 11, 2012 at 4:16PM
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If you think that possibly your enthusiasm for the house has worked against you, I think as suggested earlier in the post, make some more appointments to see other houses. print out a few listings and ask your RE agent to make appointments.

the sellers will come down, either for you or for the next people who won't pay above appraisal value.

    Bookmark   February 11, 2012 at 4:33PM
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Why do you have to wait for Monday to present your counter offer? If your agent says she does not work weekends, that would be a deal killer for me.
Tell her to get that counter offer over to the other side right now!

    Bookmark   February 12, 2012 at 8:17AM
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You are correct....$440k or you walk. 24 hrs for them to respond.

If you walk, fire your agent and get a different one. She is not helping you negotiate and she is being manipulated by the seller's agent. She is not a good negotiator and is a pushover.

    Bookmark   February 12, 2012 at 12:21PM
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Find another agent.

This one is not representing your best interests well.

Showing interest in the house should have been safe with your buyers agent, instead they appear to have conveyed that to the sellers, and now the seller is playing for every dime they can get.

Counter at $440k with a 24 hour 'drop dead' clause, and have your NEW agent start showing you other houses.

You need to approach home buying as a business deal.
While it is nice to find a house that you really like, having this get back to the sellers is NOT a good idea.

    Bookmark   February 12, 2012 at 12:32PM
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Here's another option. Since you already went to them for $440k(appraissed price), and they counter offered at $442.5k, per the contract, you can walk away.

I would just walk away and say "No thank you, the deal is off because the home appraised lower than the contract price, and the seller is not willing to lower the price to the appriased price. thank you for your time. We tried, but this one didn't work out. We are excercising the right to wallk per the contract. We want our earnest money back."

This would be hard ball.

During all this, your agent will be BEGGING you to come back to the table. Then the ball is in your court.

You stay firm with walking away for at least 24-36 hours and make sure that your agent doesn't see 'your cards'.

After 24-48 hours your agent will be begging you.... Then you hint that the only thing to make you reconsider is $435k FIRM.

This is easier said than done, but this is the same hardball that they are playing. It's a lot easier for me to type his than it will be for you to do it, because of the emotional factor of the home itself. But you should really consider doing this. In the end, there is a 70% chance that you get the home for $435k and a 30% chance that you lose the home.

However, even if you lose the home, the seller will likely come back to you within 10 days for a deal.


    Bookmark   February 12, 2012 at 1:04PM
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That is a wonderful approach, Sweet Tea. Since it is questionable whether the deal will go through, the buyers may as well try for the price they felt was fair in the first place.

    Bookmark   February 12, 2012 at 1:35PM
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Im sorry, I think sweet teas idea is a terrible idea and probably the quickest way to lose the house. You feel the seller is playing games, playing games back is not the way to get the house. From what I read in your post, the seller doesnt have another offer, only the hope of another offer. Most cash buyers think their cash is so desirable that the seller will take less for the house. I can't think of one time that I remember a cash buyer making a full price offer. My bet is that you will get the house if you stick to your 440k offer, but if you will be heartbroken to lose this house, pay the extra $2500 and move on. In the big scheme of things, $2500 over 30 years is about $1 a month!

    Bookmark   February 12, 2012 at 10:22PM
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Personally, I think the pressuring you to offer more in the beginning was out of line. You offer what YOU feel is fair and negotiations proceed from there.

The house has been on the market for 8 months. If they've got so many people ready to purchase, then why hasn't it sold?

I agree with SweetTea. Time to play hardball.

    Bookmark   February 12, 2012 at 10:45PM
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Many many years ago, The Late husband and I were house hunting,and came upon a similar situation. We were sweet-talked into increasing our offer, and the owners refused it anyway. A short time later, the house was off the market.

We were young and inexperienced, and I was mighty angry at the amount of time and money we spent evaluating that house. Clearly, the owners weren't ready to sell. That's what I inferred in your post, too. The sellers are jerking you around because they don't have to sell.

It would not bother me one whit to know the agents "cut their hard earned commissions" to make the deal. How they want to run their business is *their business*. And frankly now that I think about it, I wonder if telling you about it is a way to guilt you into following through with the purchase. I work in a service industry - I've yet to hear a customer ask how much of the price she pays at the cash/wrap area goes to me.

I would thank everyone for their time and walk away.

    Bookmark   February 13, 2012 at 12:23AM
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"Since he (the seller) values us being strong buyers and since our loan is now approved, (and not to mention we are in contract) the seller recognizes that we are as good as a cash buyer and wants to counter with 442,500."

Please explain what this statement means. Do you have a signed contract of sale for the amount of $440,000?

    Bookmark   February 13, 2012 at 10:00AM
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I gather that the seller and buyer had a signed contract at $445k but if the house didn't appraise for that buyers could renegotiate. House appraised at $440k and buyers want to renegotiate for that amount. Seller claims to have a full price buyer who is going to make an offer (but won't make a written offer) and has countered for $442.5k. I gather that buyers under their contract can walk if the house didn't appraise at $445k which it didn't.

    Bookmark   February 13, 2012 at 11:09AM
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Hold them to whatever they signed. if they accepted your offer and signed on the dotted line, then you have an accepted offer. They can't now change their minds, just as you can't or you'd lose some money (whatever the check was made out for you gave to the realtor when you made the offer in writing). It's a business transaction and you have to try to remove yourself emotionally. I once made an offer on a house and the realtor pulled the old oh they have a verbal offer from someone else and it's for more money, etc. So I said okay then please present them with my WRITTEN offer. He was OBLIGATED to do that. So when he called to say they verbally scoffed at my offer, I said ok well please go ahead and mail me the offer with their signature refusing the offer. He hemmed and hawed and then agreed. Guess what? They signed on the "accepted line". We got the house.

    Bookmark   February 13, 2012 at 12:32PM
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"Hold them to whatever they signed. if they accepted your offer and signed on the dotted line, then you have an accepted offer."

Except the offer was essentially voided when the appraisal came in low, so everything is back on the table.

Start looking.

The sellers may not actually have another buyer waiting, and are trying to use this along with the knowledge the buyers 'want' the house (something they should never have known).

If their are other houses that would be acceptable, it may be time to hold the sellers feet to the fire with a 24 hour time limit offer at the appraisal price.

And keep in mind that this is over less than 0.5% of the price.

    Bookmark   February 13, 2012 at 1:03PM
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I re-read the original post. I understand the terms of the contract now.

Tell the seller the bank will only lend you money for $440K and you don't have the cash to go above this amount. You should be able to walk away since you did not get the financing you needed to make the purchase.

I am skeptical the seller has another offer. Why would he accept $442.5K for you when he could get a cash offer for $455K?

Don't feel bad about the two brokers and their agents having to make up the difference of $2500. From their perspective a smaller commission is better than no commission. You don't know what is going on behind the scences. The agents may be looking to close this deal and salvage whatever they can.

    Bookmark   February 13, 2012 at 1:04PM
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I'm going to go the exact opposite direction as the other posters. You offered $445k. The seller accepted. Now you want to reduce the price and the seller will "only" drop it $2,500. And you think the seller is a jerk and playing games?

An appraisal clause only gives you the right to back out of the contract without penalty. It absolutely does NOT mean that the seller has agreed to lower their price to the appraisal. Just imagine if the shoe was on the other foot. The house appraised for 5k more than your offer. Would you think it was fair for the seller to demand you pay more? Somehow, I don't think you would think that was fair but it is the exact same thing you are doing.

    Bookmark   February 13, 2012 at 1:11PM
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I don't agree. Well, I agree that the seller is free not to accept 445k but the seller did agree that if the house didn't appraise for that the buyers could seek to renegotiate. The seller is certainly free to say no to $442.5k but the seller certainly had fair notice that they buyers did not want to contract to pay more than the appraisal value.

At this point, the seller can certainly agree not to accept less than 442.5k but the buyer certainly has no obligation to agree to pay that amount.

As for your hypothetical, it really only matters if the contract said that the contract would be renegotiated if the house appraised for more than the contract price. If the contract said that, then, yes the sellers could demand more. However, typically that is not provided.

    Bookmark   February 13, 2012 at 2:12PM
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should be

*free not to accept 442.5k

    Bookmark   February 13, 2012 at 2:16PM
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There is no such thing as "agreeing to renegotiate price." The seller agreed to release the buyer from the contract without forfeiting their deposit if the house did not appraise. That is it. That is how out clauses work.

The idea that the seller is somehow a bad person for not automatically reducing the price is absurd and insulting. If the buyer didn't want to pay $445k, they shouldn't have signed a contract for that amount. I'm 100% certain the OP would highly object to the seller wanting 5k MORE if the appraisal came in the other direction.

BTW - appraisals are just estimates of worth. On a $445k house, it would not be at all uncommon for separate appraisals to differ by a half percent. That is what we are talking about in terms of a $2,500 price difference.

    Bookmark   February 13, 2012 at 3:42PM
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Of course, you can agree to renegotiate price (which may or may not be successful of course). I also think you are missing the point. I have no opinion whether the seller is a bad person or not. The OP explained why she didn't believe that $445k was the value of the property and that she agreed to pay it subject to it appraising for that amount. The seller agreed to this. It didn't appraise.

There is no issue here of who is or isn't a good person (that is irrelevant). The seller asked based on the facts she laid out whether she should agree to the $442.5k or walk. Given the facts she gave, I would walk and not pay more than the appraised value.

The seller may say no to that. And, that is fine. Not every deal can be made. When the seller agreed to the appraisal contingency the seller took the risk that the buyer would walk or want to renegotiate if it appraised below $445k. The buyer likewise has every right to walk and not pay $442.5k. That is the issue -- not who is or is not a good person.

    Bookmark   February 13, 2012 at 4:21PM
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In an appreciating market, paying $2500 over appraisal is less of a hit to take than paying $2500 over appraisal in a declining market.

    Bookmark   February 13, 2012 at 7:34PM
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It is still a buyer's market and finding a buyer with approved funds is not as common as it use to be.
The seller's agent should advice the seller of this and make them eat the 2,500 vs. discourage a qualified buyer with ability to close within 10 days.

Additionally, if the seller has so many other offers - it appears they have no commitment except to get the highest price possible which means last minute if I walk up to them and say $450k cash they will accept it. So, I wouldn't exceed your appraised value unless they are willing to pay for another appraisal for your lender (must be approved) - I would let them hunt for another $2500.
Sometimes reality the house isn't worth it may be a shocker.

I find these tactics stupid as the amount isn't going to break a seller or commissions of the agents (13,200 each). If both agents give in another 1,250 each - the deal is done - so if they want it to happen put the pressure on them.
Also, be assure if the deal doesn't happen it is not because you didn't give in less than 1% but the seller wasn't committed to execution.

    Bookmark   February 13, 2012 at 10:36PM
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The bank would only loan on $440K, it implies the bank agreed with appraiser's point of view and thought the house is worth $440K.

Paying extra $2500.00 now, if you take out a 30-year loan at 4% rate, you would pay extra $11.94 each month. Over the life of the loan, you are paying extra $4298.4 = $11.94 x 360.

This does not include any potential property tax...etc increase based on the higher house sold price.

    Bookmark   February 13, 2012 at 11:05PM
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I, as an agent, would not offer any cut in my commission to go towards either party. If the listing agent wants to cut theirs to get a deal done, great. Agents are not a Principal to the transaction, so why bring them into it? It sounds as though neither the seller nor the buyer are in dire straits if they lose the $2500. If the $2500 difference does mean the seller is now a short sale, then I may consider helping them out by reducing the commission. Other than that, my commission does not get reduced just to please a seller who is demanding more than what the home is worth.
Why not offer the sellers the appraised price or give them the option to hire another appraiser. Agree to take the average of the two. This way you show the seller that you are offering a win/win situation for all.

    Bookmark   February 14, 2012 at 6:57AM
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So here's an update. We took all of your great great ideas, and decided to use them.
1) We asked our agent to start showing us other properties and sent her a list of properties we would like to start touring this week. We actually toured one yesterday.
2)We told our agent that we wanted to offer 440K in light of the appraisal, and to hear back within 24hours.
3) We also gave our agent a short list of the houses we would like to pursue if the contract deal breaks down.

We should hear latest by this evening. Fingers crossed.

There's a 50-50 chance we might get this house, but in the end, both DH and I are happy and at peace with the offer we have made, and if the seller is not, then he is free to refuse. We won't feel bad.

All this while, we have refrained from referring to this house as *home* just for this reason. We don't want to get attached not knowing whether we will get it or not. If we do, then great. If not, there will be another

I was feeling a bit jittery yesterday morning, due to the waiting game, but it has slowly worn on me. I now feel that if the seller wants to make the deal, he will come back within 24 hours. Its his deal to loose.

Meanwhile, I was going through all of your comments:

Thanks sweet_tea, your option is bold, but I don't have the **** to pull something off like that. Now, in the movie
that's playing in my head, I think I could. :-)

Linda117 - great point - I have also seen most cash buyers offering somewhere around 90-95% of the price just because they are bringing cash.

brickeyee -- yes, that's the plan. We'll see what the sellers say to that. Your right its only 0.5% of the price, but the appraisal report also says declining market. Not that it matters so much once we're in the house, but going in, I'd rather not pay anything extra. That too in cold hard cash coz the bank aint footing that bill.

mike_home -- our feeling too is that there really isnt a cash buyer (or one that is willing to pay the full price)...but I guess when the appraisal comes in lower, as a seller you don't have much choice but to rely on a cash buyer or someone who isn't relying on a bank's money.

Thanks Kats_meow you explained it just like I was feeling it.

Bill, the seller may not be a bad person (not judging at all) its just that their ways and their timing is very suspect. If the seller has a genuine problem, there is no harm in being honest. Saying you have a buyer with verbal offers (not once but twice on two different occasions) and getting us to react to that didn't give us a happy feeling. That's all. (and it definitely is our fault for reacting to that. No one was holding a gun!) But thanks to chatting with you all, it helped sort out things for us and we were able to make good/better)

If they can accept the lower price without it hurting their pocket, they should. Appraisals are important. If a bank will rely on an appraisal for how much money to give out, then as a buyer in a declining market we should too.

Our original contract was for 445K with a contingency that the house appraise to either that number or higher. The seller agreed to that.

rooseveltl -- thank you.

azmom, your perspective is good. Also, not to mention what 2500 in cash upfront could have helped with in a newly moved in home. I'm thinking furniture, or drapes, or some what nots.

ncrealestateguy -- we would never factor real estate agents commissions in making deals work, ever. Not once have we even eyed their commissions in the previous homes that we have owned or sold. Times today are very different, and I guess we are finding out that people are doing very unusual things to make deals happen.

So again, will let you know what happens further! Thats all I have for now...

Thank you again, all. It's been very enlightening to hear everyone, including opposing views.

    Bookmark   February 14, 2012 at 4:43PM
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Don't forget that verbal offer aren't worth the paper they are (not) written on.
Was your counteroffer in writing?

    Bookmark   February 14, 2012 at 6:29PM
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Update...The seller is a piece of work.

Terriks - what foresight you have!

We made a written offer of 440K and seller to respond within 24 hours. Well 24 hours went by and we thought it was over.
The sellers agent made contact an hour after the 24hrs past stating that her client was unreachable and out of country (!!!) up until then. He has verbally agreed but is not around any place where he can fax the signed amendment yet. They promised to do so by Wednesday morning. Well, wednesday morning came and went. And nothing. Our agent was also unreachable. We thought we were now stuck in limbo coz he "verbally" agreed but nothing on paper yet.

I thought of all of you all the time, but chose not to come over here and bore you with infinite details of the silliness that our seller is indulging in.

Finally today (Thursday) we told our agent to proceed with cancellation procedures and Voila -- our agent said she got the signed amendment back into her office around noon and would send it to us when she got back to her office.

Well, we finally got the signed amendment in our hands a minute before midnight EST.

It's ours for 440!! But what a ride it has been. Hopefully, things will go smoothly from this point on (I wish). Now to finally schedule the inspection on the house.

I just thought I would update you all before I go to bed.

Good night friends. :-) Thank you once again for all your encouragement, thoughtful strategies and perspectives.

    Bookmark   February 16, 2012 at 1:28AM
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Good for you. Good luck on the rest of the transaction.

    Bookmark   February 16, 2012 at 7:00AM
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Congratulations Cathy! I hope everything else goes smoothly.

    Bookmark   February 16, 2012 at 8:03AM
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"Hopefully, things will go smoothly from this point on (I wish). Now to finally schedule the inspection on the house."

Congratulations. However, as I infer from reading your final line quoted above...this process will almost certainly NOT go smoothly. You definitely are dealing with a piece-of-work seller, and no doubt one who will be trying to play games throughout the rest of the purchase/sale process.

As I'm sure you already intend to do, please be firm and unemotional during the bumpy ride and keep your own agent in line to represent you effectively and, again, firmly. Otherwise POW seller will keep trying to roll you again and again and again.

On that cheery note, congratulations again and hope your new home brings you much joy!

    Bookmark   February 16, 2012 at 8:52AM
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"Hopefully, things will go smoothly from this point on (I wish). Now to finally schedule the inspection on the house. "

Guess that depends on whether you wanted to use the inspection process to try to negotiate price once more.

    Bookmark   February 16, 2012 at 9:48AM
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Regarding that inspection...... do NOT use a realtor recommended inspector! Get referrals from UN-interested parties and interview homeowners who are at least 6 months out from their inspections - if an inspector missed something big it will probably have surfaced in that time. I do hope the rest goes smoothly for you but keep your guard up - past experience is your best predictor of future behaviors.

    Bookmark   February 16, 2012 at 10:39AM
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You need to realize that saying the contract is dead in 24 hours does not prevent you from extending it as you wish.

To clean up the paperwork it is common to negotiate, agree verbally, then agree in writing, and retroactively extend the contract 'drop dead' to the time required to agree.

As you have found out, it gets messy and stressful sometimes, more so for your principal residence than for investment properties (though some legal limits like Starker exchanges can create pressure there since the time limits are hard and cannot be altered).

Glad you moved forward, not you just need to deal with the inspection.

    Bookmark   February 16, 2012 at 11:36AM
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I agree. You pick the inspector. Some building depts will do inspections too, but they cannot recommend one, but will tell you if there are any complaints. (Los Angeles County will). Also if there was any remodeling etc, make sure all the permits were taken out and finalized. The inspections should take awhile. Just get everything in writing!!! Good luck
Someplace on this forum might be a list what should be covered. It is very important to have something like it. Also make sure that everything you are buying will stay (if you want them) in the house. Curtains, lightbulbs, appliances etc. Take pictures!! Again in writing.
Yep, been there and done that.

    Bookmark   February 16, 2012 at 5:30PM
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Glad it appears to be working out for you. I hope the inspection goes through without anything major as I have a feeling you'll be dealing with more negotiating tactics if that is the case.

It sounds to me like the seller is a savy negotiatior and knows how to play the game.

    Bookmark   February 16, 2012 at 11:49PM
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Thank you, everyone.
Yes savvvvy negotiator seller meets Dumbbbbbass buyers. Seriously, sometimes I think we deserve the capital "D".

Hopefully the inspection and the rest of the stuff goes smoothly. We don't expect to negotiate the price after inspection, but just hope that there aren't MAJOR issues hidden in there. Like an HVAC thats on life support.
Thanks so much for the suggestions on the home inspector. We will look for someone independent.

Every time I think that the seller has exhausted all tricks (like I thought we were being smart with the 24hr clause), he comes up with something new. Trumps us every time. Arrgh.

I was so scared to even post here during the nail biting 2 days until he signed thinking "OMG does the seller also read gardenweb posts?" He always seems to be ahead of us.

In the movie in my head, I could picture a person sitting on a laptop facing away from me, and when he suddenly turns around, flashes me a grin (and of course scary music plays in the background) I see his laptop screen surfing gardenweb !

Pardon my movie moment.

Anyway, sounds like he did NOT have that buyer after all, and had to make do with us. Lets see how the rest of the transaction goes. Fingers crossed.

Marie, Good idea about the photos. I did take lots on our visit to the house. Some credit where it's due: I have a feeling that the house will not have too many issues, it did look like it was well maintained and well cared for by the current owner.

    Bookmark   February 17, 2012 at 5:15PM
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I always thought that "verbal offer" was horse hockey. RE agents don't mess around with offers that aren't signed, sealed and delivered.

I can't believe all the paper work that was involved when we sold our house. About 25 pages to sign when a buyer made an offer. More paper work when we went back and forth with offers and counteroffers. So different from when we sold our house years ago.

    Bookmark   February 18, 2012 at 7:54PM
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The seller did not trump you. You stuck to your counter, adn he agreed with it. You now have the upper hand, and really always did. He may try more shinanigans, but you now know that he knows that you will not back down when it comes time to move forward or walk.

    Bookmark   February 18, 2012 at 10:46PM
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"seller is a savy negotiatior and knows how to play the game.", I beg to differ. The seller is not a savvy negotiator. Most posters here would see through his dump tricks during the first encounter and walk. Only because you love the house too much, are inexperienced and have an incompetent buyer's agent, you accepted his games.

Based on your "movie" comments, it seems you are still afraid of the seller. In fact, it would be better off if he surfed the GW, it would put some sense into his screwy head.

I have a feeling that the seller will continuously "be himself" even until after closing. It seems you are not aware of that in this inspection phase, and until closing the deal, you still have ample opportunities to get things right for you. I hope you have a good lawyer to protect you.

It would be an interesting movie to watch if brickeyee is the buyer, and ncrealestateguy is the buyer's agent. But then maybe it would be a boring movie, because the seller would be amazingly cooperative.

    Bookmark   February 19, 2012 at 8:23AM
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How did the inspection go? Is the seller behaving better?

    Bookmark   February 23, 2012 at 11:20AM
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Hey thanks for asking Covingtoncat. The inspection report came out on Tuesday and it doesnt look too bad. There were about 7 items including a cracked window upstairs, cracked attic access door, fireplace heating element not heating up, exterior GFI not resetting, missing vent, one safety issue with the water heater, and something else that isnt coming to my mind right now. We asked the seller to fix 5 issues ( all except the attic access door and the last one that I can't remember). We just heard back this morning that he has agreed to get all the 5 items done! Yipeee.

Yes, azmom, I used to fear him because I felt that he was being hard to work with. But now that feeling has gradually subsided. I feel like we are on more firmer ground now and that both the seller and we are committed to getting this deal through.

    Bookmark   February 23, 2012 at 2:39PM
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Good going! Make sure to do a reinspection, and a final walk through, preferably the day of the closing.
On a side note, before making that offer, make sure to pick up all rugs and look for fading or stains or damage, look behind all furniture for hidden damage, look deeply into those closets and cabinets and cupboards. Better to find out these things than during the final walkthrough.

    Bookmark   February 23, 2012 at 6:34PM
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Hi, Cathy,

So glad to hear that the seller is working with you now.

During your reinspection and final walk through, not only need to "look" carefully, make sure to "smell" and 'listen' carefully.

    Bookmark   February 25, 2012 at 12:40AM
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Another thought. You might want to pay a visit to the building dept and see what permits they have on file.

I looked at a house that had an addition. I asked the owner if there were permits on file for it. He said 'yes'. The bldg dept didn't have any.....

I have a deck that isn't up to code. I was told I would have to tear it down if an inspector came around.

Could be a good negotiating point. Plus, it would have to go on any future disclosures if the sale doesn't go through.

    Bookmark   February 25, 2012 at 3:31PM
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"We asked the seller to fix 5 issues ( all except the attic access door and the last one that I can't remember). "

They are going to do the cheapest job possible.

Unless they are expensive you should have just let them go.

Existing houses are not new houses.

    Bookmark   February 25, 2012 at 6:52PM
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Our contract states that the repairs need to be performed in a "good and workman - like manner" And the buyer is allowed to perform a reinspection.
But, you are correct. The seller will probably shop around for the least expensive repairs.

    Bookmark   February 26, 2012 at 6:09AM
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