Herbietown - Bumps in the Selling Process

Bumps in the Selling Process

Our home has been on the market now for about 30 days. We’ve had dozens of showings and 3 offers. The thing is going to sell – the interest has been insane – but when?

I’m not going to write about all the great features of our house. This isn’t a sales pitch. Instead, I’m going to bitch about bad manners, about people who don’t know how to conduct themselves in a negotiation. I won’t publish their names, because that in itself would be bad manners, but they know who they are.

There are rules to the home buying process. You don’t string people along. You negotiate hard for what you want, but you always do so in good faith. And you know when to listen to the professionals you’ve hired to help you, and when to overrule them.

We’ve now had 3 sets of buyers with seemingly no sense of right and wrong. They’ve all exhibited such a lack of class that I felt sorry for my neighbors, who are great people and don’t deserve to have a bad apple move into the neighborhood. But I need to sell and get on with my life, so I don’t have a choice but to take the highest bid.

The first buyers went through 5 rounds of negotiating, agreed on a price, and then backed out because the wife “didn’t want to walk to the mailbox to drop off her kid at the bus stop.” No joke. It’s like 50 yards to the mailbox. We now refer to this buyer as “the one with the fat-ass wife.” The distance to the mailbox didn’t change from the time they put in their offer to the time they backed out…she just changed her mind.

Come on, fatty, get your act together before you make a bid.

The second buyers were a nightmare. Every single counter-offer took them at least 24 hours. They negotiated hard and we did in fact lower our price below what we had previously set as our rock-bottom price. They were getting an absolute steal, and we were holding our nose and going along because we wanted to be done with it.

They wore us down. I have no objection to that; they were good negotiators.

What I object to is what happened next. They tried to insert a clause into the binder that any other offers would be considered “back-up offers.” The binder is not a legally binding document, it’s like a term sheet to guide the lawyers as they construct a contract. There is nothing preventing me from ripping up a binder in their faces and accepting a higher offer.

Still, I didn’t want to sign a piece of paper and then go back on my word, so I laid my cards on the table and proposed what I would actually do in the event a higher offer came – give them the right to match the bid. Well, that didn’t go over very well. They flipped out and threatened to walk away unless I signed the original binder within hours. That was the only time they got back to me in less than 24 hours.

As if I wouldn’t accept a higher offer if it came along! It was an insane request but I was left with no choice but to sign the thing. If another offer did come along in those few days before the contracts were signed, I was prepared to accept it immediately. I wanted nothing more than to screw these people.

The guy had spent 8 years at a large hedge fund notorious for its psychological examinations and brutally direct culture. Every conversation is recorded and stored in a central database, and people use the recordings to hold others accountable. He tried to bring that culture to our block and it sickened me.

Then came the inspection. They hired a total moron inspector who raised all these issues that were bogus. To name a few: 1) they wanted a second set of risers on the septic tank (we have only one tank, there would be no place to put a second set of risers), 2) they wanted to talk to our water company because they didn’t know what the water tank in our basement was (the large “Fe” on the tank didn’t clue them in that it was for iron), and 3) they couldn’t figure out our ridiculously simple propane delivery system, which has a main tank and a small backup tank. I could go on.

After they finished the inspection, they never gave us a list of things they wanted fixed. They just walked.

The almighty hedge fund guy chickened out. He didn’t want to buy a home, retreating instead to his luxury apartment building where everything just works. I was happy about it. Not at first. No one wants to lose a buyer. But he was such a first class asshole that I was glad he wasn’t getting our house. People like that belong in luxury apartment buildings. I bet he lives in the Trump building in Stamford, and reams out his dry cleaner for every wrinkle in his shirts. He’s the kind of guy who goes to a restaurant, makes unreasonable demands, and then gets his food spit in. He would be a disaster to vacation with.

Good riddance.

Finally, the third set of buyers walked away in the middle of the negotiations, before we even had a chance to respond to their latest offer, with no reason cited except that the pregnant wife couldn’t handle the stress of closing on a home so close to her due date. Understandable, but then why put a bid in?

Clearly December is a tough time to sell a house. There are fewer buyers in the market, compared to the spring/summer months when most people move. But it is incredible that 3 sets of buyers have walked away – none over price.

What is wrong with people?