I’m working with a seller who has a house that has hit the century mark and more in years. She’s a stately, beautiful house with tons of character, a gorgeous yard that looks like a park — over 2 acres of flowers, trees and grassy knolls.
The seller has loved this house. He had the vision to take it from a absolute dump seven years ago — missing walls, unplumbed bathrooms, disgusting floors and a barely functional kitchen — to a real beauty. In his eyes, the house that he is selling has a few flaws, but they’re all minor compared to the joy of living there. When you own a house built that long ago, you learn to live with the challenges that an old house brings.
But the buyers didn’t feel the same way. Where the seller saw a cellar with dirt floor barely covered by a concrete veneer, they saw a scary, wet basement. Where he saw asbestos covering over the pipes in the cellar, he just sealed them in plastic and forgot about them. The buyers saw a health threat that they couldn’ t live with.
It took weeks to negotiate the repairs. The seller was unhappy, the buyer was unhappy. But, we negotiated our way through it, settlement is in two days and I’m really hoping this has a happy ending. The loan is approved, everything is done…or wait! No, now the homeowner’s insurance wants more repairs done and a tree trimmed. The seller is so stressed he’s about to go ballistic. The buyers scrambled to work it out with their insurance agent and now we just have the walk through to get through.
Meanwhile, the seller is moving into his new home, which has not been without challenges as well. Maybe even bigger challenges that the first transaction. The seller on that transaction has left a house full of furniture and personal belongings, with no intention of removing them prior to settlement. So, instead of moving his stuff IN to the house, my client is also moving stuff OUT. We negotiated a fee for this, but it’s not nearly as much as I think it should be.
This is all very typical of today’s market. Gone are the days when the seller could set the terms and get it all his way.
Friday will be a very happy day for all of us if we make it through!
© 2006 Susan Pruden.