Want to start without pissing people off

sun2007February 14, 2013

Hi,

We are currently in escrow on a new home purchase and close next week. The sellers are renting back for 30 days after close, so will be out late march.

There's a lot of remodeling work to do, and we are planning to get it done before we move in. So I've been interviewing architects, kitchen designers, interior designers and they all want to see the house as part of the initial meetings. I've been asking the sellers access to the house (they still live there and have not started packing yet, they are an older couple retiring).

I am still interviewing people but plan to hire the right people, draw up plans, then get contractor bids. So contractors will eventually need to walk through the house too.

I want to hit the ground running so am trying to get as much done as possible now. I know contractors can take time with their bids, plus everything else that can delay the start of construction.

My agent has been making me feel like I'm asking too much and inconveniencing the sellers too much by asking to have access to the house (about once a week so far).

What's the best way to approach this? How do I get started smartly during this time? TIA!
(this post cross posted on buying selling forum too)

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GreenDesigns

A one time access where you draw the floorplan to scale and take pictures (including attic and crawlspace) should suffice for access for right now. Yes, there's a lot to do, but trying to rush things won't really help you. You can do 80% of everything you need to do with just that information. IF you have the right professionals involved.

    Bookmark   February 14, 2013 at 7:58PM
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lov_mkitchenIOWA zone 6b

Why are you working on a house you have never lived in? Wouldn't it make more sense to live in it for a year, find out what works and what doesn't, what you like and what you'll keep? Looking at your list of changes, I think you bought the wrong house.

    Bookmark   February 14, 2013 at 9:04PM
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mike_kaiser_gw

Understandably you're excited about getting started but is it really asking so much to wait 30 days?

    Bookmark   February 15, 2013 at 9:17AM
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brickeyee

Hopefully you did not execute an actual lease.

That makes landlord-tenant laws applicable in many jurisdictions.

It is far better to have a simple agreement setting the date for possession, an inspection after the house is empty (expect there to be some damage you id not see that was behind furniture), and then a final release of funds.

This makes the sellers 'tenants at sufferance' with very few rights in most cases.

    Bookmark   February 15, 2013 at 10:09AM
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roof35

It hasn't even closed yet, so you have no right to the property yet.

Since you agreed to rent for 30 days after close, tenant/landlord laws apply.

If I were you, I would use "kid" gloves for the approach. Ask the tenants for access, and in return offer them a discount on their rent.

I once bought a home, and had to evict the sellers because they refused to move out after selling. Consider yourself fortunate, the sellers you are buying from have allowed you to get in once week.

    Bookmark   February 15, 2013 at 12:32PM
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renovator8

If you are in a hurry you should have already selected your design team and they should have done the measuring in one or two visits with a minimum of personal interaction with the original owners.

This is a very stressful and emotional time for retiring couples. It is best for professionals to be in the house instead of the new buyers. When I must interact with the owners I always find a way to show respect for their house and pretend there will be few changes and that's not always easy.

In my experience the real estate agents are more concerned with having to be at the house when you are there. They often act like I am costing them money, as if I should care; I'm working for the new owner and I can usually get the information I need in a few hours so I have no sympathy for them. They always take my card to schmooze me but I never get a call.

    Bookmark   February 17, 2013 at 11:53AM
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renovator8

If you are in a hurry you should have already selected your design team and they should have done the measuring in one or two visits with a minimum of personal interaction with the original owners.

This is a very stressful and emotional time for retiring couples. It is best for professionals to be in the house instead of the new buyers. When I must interact with the owners I always find a way to show respect for their house and pretend there will be few changes and that's not always easy.

In my experience the real estate agents are more concerned with having to be at the house when you are there. They often act like I am costing them money, as if I should care; I'm working for the new owner and I can usually get the information I need in a few hours so I have no sympathy for them. They always take my card to schmooze me but I never get a call.

    Bookmark   February 17, 2013 at 12:56PM
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Suzi AKA DesertDance

We just got the keys to our new house but we didn't meet with any contractors until AFTER we had posession. We are living elsewhere for 2 months while renovation is done.

We asked the previous owner if she could come and explain things to us, but it was emotional for her, and she preferred to communicate with us by phone. She is very nice and excited to visit AFTER we remodel, but I can understand her attachment to this very special place we purchased. It was a short sale, so she really didn't want to leave.

An old couple could be attached also with many memories, so it's best to just let them move out and then make your changes.

    Bookmark   February 22, 2013 at 10:20AM
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Suzi AKA DesertDance

We just got the keys to our new house but we didn't meet with any contractors until AFTER we had posession. We are living elsewhere for 2 months while renovation is done.

We asked the previous owner if she could come and explain things to us, but it was emotional for her, and she preferred to communicate with us by phone. She is very nice and excited to visit AFTER we remodel, but I can understand her attachment to this very special place we purchased. It was a short sale, so she really didn't want to leave.

An old couple could be attached also with many memories, so it's best to just let them move out and then make your changes.

    Bookmark   February 22, 2013 at 10:21AM
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lyvia

The retiring couple is probably having enough trouble packing and remembering where things are. Unless you told them when you rented to them that you would need access, a little patience would be courteous. Interruptions (do they clean for "guests"? make coffee?)and extra scheduling can make it harder for them to get their stuff together and get out.

    Bookmark   February 23, 2013 at 11:49AM
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stacylh

I have been in your shoes before and totally understand your dilemma. However, it is an invasion of their privacy every time you come in with people that they've never met before and frankly, I'd feel uncomfortable with someone asking me to do the same.

The lady we bought our current house from was VERY gracious to let us move some things into the garage prior to closing. However, she had already moved and lived in a different state.

As others have said, they are likely sentimental; being a "fly on the wall" to conversations you will likely be having with contractors, designers, etc. about everything you are going to be changing about their home may or may not sit well with them.

    Bookmark   February 24, 2013 at 3:08PM
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