Why Did You Back Out of the Offer?

neighborwilsonMarch 2, 2010

Why did you back out of an offer you made on a home?

I am looking to put in an offer but I want to cover all my bases to insure that there are no skeletons on the closest.

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I didn't, but probably should have. My gut was telling me to exit the deal, but other family members wanted that house. The seller was being a jerk about fixing some minor things. In some ways, the house has been adequate, no major problems, but in the two years, there have been other houses that may have been better suited for us.

I think that in the stress of the transaction, you can get swept up in the emotion of the whole deal -- also you probably have a realtor who is pushing to close the deal.

I would definitely suggest to go with your gut. Get a good inspection and make sure the house appraises for the price agreed upon. If you don't feel like you want to go through with the transaction, don't.
Good luck

    Bookmark   March 2, 2010 at 8:35PM
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We backed out on 1 deal after our inspector pointed out that there was no sheathing between the roof framing and the shingles. Some previous owner had taken the insurance proceeds from storm damage and done a really half-a$$ed repair.

    Bookmark   March 3, 2010 at 5:08AM
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I backed out of one offer when I got to reading the legal descriptions on the deed and figured out myself that the house I was buying was not located on the land in the description. It was located in no-man's land that nobody was sure who really owned it. How it ever passed numerous title searches is beyond me. I requested a survey and the selling agent was so sure I didn't know what I was talking about he said he'd pay for it. Uhm. I was right. It was on property under dispute for ages. He reneged on paying for the survey and I was stuck with it. It was the best money I ever spent, as was my attorney's fees when I told them what they could do with their house. LOL.

    Bookmark   March 3, 2010 at 10:56PM
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calliope, I once sold a house (cute little 1930's brick Tudor-style cottage) that had been moved onto rural land back in the late 1960s or early 1970s.

The sellers had bought a chunk of land from a huge parcel.

A few years later, they bought another, smaller chunk so they could have a garden.

When my buyer looked at the house, she & I both thought that the fence on the side line marked the edge of the property.

The driveway was right next to the fence.

The survey showed that the fence was on the property that belonged to the estate of the person who originally sold the first chunk of land.

The house had no driveway.

The sellers insisted that "he (estate's executor) can't make her move the driveway" because they had been using the driveway all these years.

In other words, the sellers *knew* that their driveway was on someone else's land, but they thought they wouldn't get caught, & when they did get caught, they tried to get the buyer to close without title to that part.

Sellers had to buy a strip of land from the estate, instructed title company to not disclose how much they paid.

Bad thing was that the buyer had agreed to pay for the survey, which involved 3 separate parcels, all of which were metes & bounds.

She had expected to pay about $250 (this was a long time ago), & ended up paying $800.

She said she was going to frame that survey & hang it on the wall;
it was the most expensive piece of artwork she owned.

    Bookmark   March 4, 2010 at 3:43PM
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Yep - the house had a badly cracked slab foundation under the carpet. We offered a reduced price and we were refused.
We did end up buying a different house in the same neighborhood. Years later, after very heavy rains and what looked like a massive plumbing problem, the slab in the house we did not buy, got repaired.

    Bookmark   March 4, 2010 at 4:12PM
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I backed out of one house when the inspection revealed that there were no hardwood floors under the owner's gorgeous Oriental rugs -- only carpet padding.

We backed out of an earlier deal when the inspector rated the construction quality as 'fair' and I pressed him for details of exactly where 'fair' fell in his vocabulary and ranking system. (Synonym for garbage.)

Never regretted either cancelled deal.

    Bookmark   March 4, 2010 at 5:04PM
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We backed out of two offers. One, we were torn between two places, same price, same neighborhood, very different spaces. We put in a bid on the first one and the developer accepted the offer. While the contract was being drafted, the developer called and said his buddy was interested in the place and he could get $5K more from him. If we would up our offer by $5K, he'd sell to us, but our offer which he had accepted earlier was now no good. We withdrew, put in a bid on the second place, and lived there happily for almost nine years.

Second one was the house of my heart, on the market for a year, lots of structural problems which we were willing to take on. We offered 10% below ask and were told that was insulting and the seller wanted asking or nothing - after a YEAR on the market. From us, they got nothing.

    Bookmark   March 5, 2010 at 9:08PM
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I had a contract on a house that had some water spots on one of the bedroom ceilings. They were small and looked fairly old. Easy to think the roof had been fixed. My inspection was scheduled, but before that day we had a huge storm - 6" in 24 hours. I asked my realtor to go check out the house...part of the ceiling on the first floor had fallen! The owner was definitely willing to fix the clay tile roof, but I imagined that water had gotten into places I didn't want to know about. The walls for instance. What a shame though - it was a great old house.

    Bookmark   March 6, 2010 at 8:58AM
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We made an offer that was accepted last summer on a 6yr old foreclosed home in a nice neighborhood built by an upscale builder. Inspection showed radon but the bank did mitigation (very common in MN) so OK. Had the loan lined up, closing scheduled. However the title search showed that there was a $150,000 + IRS lien on the home! The agent/bank tried to say it was no problem, we would have title insurance. What about when they go belly up? Or you want to sell the place? And the lien was not even on the previous owner--it was the builder. Some "funny business" or gross incompetence on the part of the bank(Countrywide now BOA) resulted in the last owner getting a loan when he only had a contract for deed that was unfiled so no real proof he owned the place. After that contract date, the IRS slapped a lien on the house (legal records showed the builder as the owner) due to the builders unpaid taxes. LATER the bank gave the last owner a huge mortgage apparently overlooking the lien. The neighbors report the last owner is now in Mexico. The builder has no incentive to pay on a property he does not own (and he's lost other properties to foreclosure in this downturn). Now the bank does not want to pay off the lien and is looking for a sucker. Nope, I'm not making this up.

After we pulled out they lowered the price a bit and tried to sell to another couple. Sale fell through presumably due to the same issue. House went off the market for several months so the problem could get resolved said their agent to ours.

It recently went back on the market just when we were looking again. So our agent checked and was told things had been cleared up. He insisted we would need proof the lien was paid before we would proceed. Guess what? After a week they admitted nothing had changed. So they are still looking for a chump and not revealing the issue to potential buyers.

Meanwhile, the house is empty, and the bank responsible for taxes, HOA fees and utilities.

This is the kind of stupid, unethical behavior that is causing people to mistrust banks.

    Bookmark   March 6, 2010 at 10:37PM
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We backed out of an offer when, during inspection, we found (among other things) evidence of termite damage. They hadn't mentioned it. Their excuse was that they had "taken care of it". Not very well apparently. While in the basement we asked our inspector how he could tell the place had had termites. He took his pencil and pushed the point lightly against the stairs. It went right through, easy as that. We were all very careful walking back up those stairs!

    Bookmark   March 13, 2010 at 4:17PM
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I backed out of purchasing a house when I found out that there was a registered sex offender living across the street. I checked the records to figure out whether we were talking 19 year old with 17 year old girlfriend or a serial child molester and discovered it was the latter. It seems that my neighbor would have been a young man (recent Stanford grad, even!) who molested a series of young men while pretending to be a university football coach. Apparently, he was arrested for impersonating a police officer to lure a young boy into a vehicle. Smart and evil and seriously sick. Bad combo, IMHO.

My realtor (at the time) tried to talk me out of backing out of the deal by saying such nonsense as "Well, at least you have a girl so you don't really have to worry much" and "Well, you never know whether or not a sex offender is going to move across the street after you buy a home." She even chastised me for contacting the listing agent to find out what the deal of the sex offender was (I think I broke the cardinal rule of realtor protocol, wherein all communication is supposed to go through the realtor.

Long story short, be backed out of the deal and found another realtor.

    Bookmark   March 18, 2010 at 9:26PM
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Wilson, there are a number of contingencies that your agent can put on the offer to ensure that you have a way to back out if certain conditions are not resolved to your satisfaction. A competent real estate agent should be able to provide with contingency clauses to best protect your interests throughout the transaction. Good luck.

    Bookmark   March 19, 2010 at 4:41AM
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In short, they refused to tent for termites.

Slightly longer, inspection revealed infestation. They wanted to spot treat.

We walked and have been thankful ever since as in retrospect it wasn't the house for us!

    Bookmark   March 19, 2010 at 3:26PM
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We liked the house pretty well, but were "settling" for a couple of negatives by choosing this house. We decided to offer, based on our realtor telling us that we could, "of course" fence the backyard in a corner lot with privacy fencing.

Early the next morning I called the City. Nope, I had read right, you CANNOT fence the side of a corner lot with privacy fencing. Privacy fencing must be 30 feet in from the sidewalk. Essentially, if you want privacy fencing, it must extend out from the side wall of the house and back to the property line, thereby cutting off the entire side yard. If you fence the side of the yard out near the sidewalk, you must use a see-through fence and it cannot be more than four feet high.

My dogs can jump up and snap at someone over a four foot fence. I called the realtor and canceled the offer before she got a chance to meet the other realtor to present it.

We ended up buying a house on a corner lot in the same city. This house had a 4 ft chain link fence at the sidewalk, and a huge hedge inside of that fence. It later turned out that the previous owner had put a farm utility (wire) fence on the inside of the hedge, to keep his dog from getting into the hedge and jumping at passers-by. In the summer, you can't really see either fence for the foliage on the hedge. We have our privacy fence, it is a living hedge!

No one has ever explained to me why about a third of all corner lots have the illegal privacy fencing at the sidewalk line in this town. I didn't want my fence to be the one they decided to enforce it on!

    Bookmark   March 24, 2010 at 12:51AM
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I'd guess it has to do with obstructing the view from the street, making it dangerous for autos.

    Bookmark   March 24, 2010 at 5:11PM
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Appraised value was well below agreed-upon price. I was willing to cough up 2/3 of the difference in cash; seller refused to put up the 1/3 gap. Deal fell through. House eventually sold for far less than what I had offered.

    Bookmark   March 24, 2010 at 8:14PM
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We backed out of a brand new spec house in a development when I went back all by myself and sleuthed out the neighborhood. One, I discovered that though you couldn't see the fact from the house, it was only a few houses from the development's community center with pool, club house, etc. Even though nothing special was going on that day I could hear some radio music from the pool area at the house. We love our peace and quiet, so that was that. Driving around I also discovered that the neighborhood wasn't as nice as I had thought it was.

We backed out of another house-to-be-built by a developer (in another city) (and this was a dream house on a perfect, treed, lot) when I started to have intuitions that all was not right with this builder (AKA "gut feelings"). There were little signs that accompanied these intuitions though I cannot remember them now as it was 15 years ago. So we bought a 12 year old house instead and it was great. A couple years later out of curiosity I checked, and this builder was no longer in business. I would always follow intuition.

The other house we backed out of was in another city (we've lived in a lot of places) -- again, beautiful brand new spec house in nice looking neighborhood out in the country. We found out there was a Pepperidge Farm factory behind the development, with a gate that big trucks etc. were using all the time. Again, noise.

Sleuthing the neighborhood to make sure it's up to your standards is one of the most important things to do.

    Bookmark   April 12, 2010 at 12:21AM
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I just terminated the contract on an offer I placed for a 4200 sq ft walkout. The seller had reduced the price about $45,000 since it needed 'cosmetic' work. Upon walking through the home I was prepared to install all new windows, flooring, and updated baths.

What I couldn't see:

41 steel pier posts and tiebacks installed in 2005 to stabilize the house were actually failing

The roof had undergone significant displacement

The crawl space was full of water

A pipe had been completely sheared off

Standing water in the garage and wet drywall that was so soft you could easily push it in

A floor that had teeter tottered about 2 inches up and 2 inches down.

I didn't even bother to complete the home inspection so the inspector never made it inside to check any other issues. I backed out as soon as the inspection report hit my inbox.

    Bookmark   April 13, 2010 at 1:53PM
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I backed out on a house 11 years ago because I just felt weird about the whole thing. THe house was basically empty but the things the seller had left behind were really strange: 1/2 empty bottle of antibiotics on the counter, spoiled food in the fridge, child's baby book and Mother's Day handprints on one of the bedroom floors, lots of family photos. All of the furniture was gone though. It just made me feel uneasy and I asked the realtor if something had happened there and she said "not that was disclosed to her". HMMMM. Very evasive. I wasn't from the area so I wouldn't have known if there had been something. Then our inspection revealed structural problems with the roof and a really deep hole under the house that they couldn't tell what caused or where it went. By that time I was thinking "portal to hell" so I paid for the inspection and walked away from the deal. Gut feeling. I'm sure it was probably fine but who leaves their child's baby book behind?

    Bookmark   April 22, 2010 at 12:06PM
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wickedgrace22: that was quite a story! I think I would have done the same thing you did.

    Bookmark   April 22, 2010 at 10:24PM
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