I just finished closing on the house we’ve pursued for the past several months. It took 3.5 hours. There were the 6 amendments to compile and review from the past two months. There was the fact that the roofer has yet to be paid. And someone forgot to get a termite letter. Mostly, there was the tension of having fought for the past several weeks over whether or not this would be fixed:
The past owner had 4 satellite dishes, and HF antenna, a skylight, and solar cells on the roof that caused leaks. Lots of them. And the seller, despite my suggesting that it might be covered by homeowner’s insurance, refused to fix these leaks, even though the mortgage appraiser wouldn’t allow a loan without a new roof. But once the insurance appraiser said it could be replaced via insurance (due to visible hail damage), the seller decided the price should go up to account for the deductible and the insurance premiums paid. Somehow, this totaled $9,000. We told our agent there was no way we were doing that and started looking elsewhere. Except, there wasn’t anything of comparable size, location, potential, and price. So we agreed, and I started getting estimates.
In the meantime, the sellers (executors for the past resident’s estate) took out things we’d expected would stay (and had voiced as much). Like, the 70” TV on the wall, the refrigerator (who does that?), the window treatments (all of them), the grate over the fireplace, and other items one would normally consider fixtures, but since there was no disclosure statement outlining what was and wasn’t a fixture like there is with a normal sale (since it was estate-owned), we couldn’t say anything but repeated “WHAT THE FUCK?” exclamations. Then we learned the furnace was dangerously outdated and screwed up, but there was no way in hell they would replace it (even though one of the 6 amendments said they would), so the two realtors agreed to pay to replace it if the sale would JUST GO THROUGH.
And just about the time we gave up on their returning the giant TV and the refrigerator, or their replacing the furnace, or their providing the home warranty we’d contracted for them to provide (the listing agent paid for this, too), I reminded them on the 6th amendment that the original contract provided for 4% of the loan to go to a contractor for renovation to the kitchen, and since the price had gone up $9,000, we should get an extra $360 toward that 4% figure. This was more of a formality, really, as everyone had previously agreed to the percentage, and we really didn’t need to lay out that a measly $360 would need to be added to the other total, because who cares about $360 on a house that’s several hundred thousand dollars with no mortgages on it, and all the money from it is going to a single heir, and we’re supposed to close in a couple days–the fifth closing date (10/28, 11/11, 11/21, 11/23, 11/28), right? Wrong. The seller said to forget it; they were walking away over $360. But, once again, the listing agent ponied up to cover her client’s greed and try to make the deal happen. So, today, it finally did.
The most important lesson I learned (and would recommend anyone reading heed) is this: don’t ever share the appraisal with the seller, if you’re the buyer, and it comes back higher than the contracted price. I was busy the day it came and just forwarded the email to the agent, so that the required repairs could be seen and completed. The tenor of the negotiations changed drastically once this was shared, as the seller appeared to no longer wish for our contract to close, presumably because she thought she could sell for more to someone else.
In any event, it’s over now. We went over tonight to hide some of the Christmas presents we got via Craigslist last weekend in the new garage. The painting and renovation start later this week. That’s when this space becomes a home improvement blog!