Wednesday, August 7

The Worst Real Estate Client Ever

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The title of this article was from a query I got from Help a Writer Out. The author wanted stories from realtors. I figured that since I couldn't send in my story because I'm not a licensed agent, I'd write about that worst client ever here. Me.
Yep, I am one awful client when it comes to house hunting, and that's partially because the last two homes we had to buy were basically supposed to be sight-unseen. That wasn't a big deal in Kansas because our agent was unbelievable. In Florida, however, it was more of a challenge, and I don't necessarily blame the realtor. I am the one who made it tough as much as anything. And Florida.

First off, I went and found all kinds of data, but I also wanted opinion, especially about crime. The realtor was hesitant to provide a clear answer on this, and maybe there's some kind of law, but whatever. For every property, I needed to know proximity to water treatment plants, high voltage lines, main thoroughfares, and anything else that might alter the resale value in my book. And that was just about anything, including airport flight paths.

For one house, I told the realtor to download a meter for her phone in order to tell me what the electromagnetic field near the home would be. She thought I was joking, but I wouldn't put an offer in on that house because she never did it.

I also went on sites not part of the realtors official whatever page she wanted me to use, trying to get in on one foreclosure. That didn't end well. Neither did our first actual purchase. The inspector found termites and still recommended we buy the place. But I'd already been disappointed by the house being on a main road and poor workmanship in a flip that I did blame my realtor for not seeing before I took a drive from KC to see for myself. The termites were just the easy way to get out of it.

Many of the offerings were shot down by me as soon as I used Google Streetview to see the block where the house was located. My realtor thought I was joking when I said that I wouldn't move onto a block with pickup trucks parked in front lawns. But we did avoid several offers based on this methodology.

We also had financing issues. The realtor tried all of her contacts and failed to secure us a loan. Luckily, the bank in KC we used came through, but I also hid how much we really had to spend from the realtor for quite some time. I am sure that decision pissed her off a bit, but we wanted a good deal. Also, we pushed her to low-ball every offer, which meant I took her best advice for an offer and slashed $5,000 or so off of it, especially if a place was sitting for a few months.

After she'd put hours and hours into self-guided tours that I deemed inadequate, I eventually showed up again and said that I was going to stay in town until I had a house. That meant many hours of dealing with me and my opinions. In one house, I wouldn't make an offer because it was all tile, everywhere, and most of it was laid crooked. I'm sure she was just hoping I wouldn't notice or decide to carpet a couple rooms myself after the purchase. Another low-ball offer got a counter that didn't meet me where I wanted, so it expired. Probably $5,000 or less. I'm sure there was some eye-rolling from my realtor on that one, but the house had been on the market for five months, and I was told the seller had to get x dollars or could not sell. Not my problem

When I was in town for the five days, I stalked neighborhoods all hours of the day and night to get the feel for each and every location. Luckily, I didn't have to call my realtor to bail me out of jail for casing neighborhoods. Plus, after dealing with jax traffic, I also made our realtor narrow the search to anywhere within maybe five miles of where my wife would be working.

Unbeknownst to my realtor, I had also posted a Craigslist ad looking for someone willing to sell by-owner at a cut-rate if we could make it happen quickly and without a realtor. That probably crossed a line, and I was only half-serious, but I was disappointed in that first offer that fell apart, so that's the way I roll sometimes.

Even the house we finally bought involved me ripping every aspect of it to shreds, then offering like $15,000 under asking price, even after she provided a market analysis that said the asking price was already low. She was surprised as all get-out that the seller countered at $10,000 under the price. But then she had to deal with me and another inspection. She told me to limit the items to cure because we got such a good deal, but I still pushed for two more from the list, just to see if it would happen. We got lucky, I suppose, but I sensed I was dealing with a desperate seller. That's the best kind. For buyers, not realtors who want to maximize commissions.

To make it even more fun, our KC bank messed up the closing, so our realtor had to sit at the closing with us for an extra two hours as we waited for funds to come through. She probably thought the whole deal was going to be lost along with her commission for all the time she had to put up with me.

I even made it uncomfortable later, asking to get keys and codes from the PO. And she had to hear us complain about the hot and cold water being hooked up backwards, as well a bug issue, and a few other complaints before I realized it was time to let her off the hook. I kind of just wanted to let her know the go-to inspector and bug people she told me to hire were not people I'd hire again, even after I had to pay full price for two inspections from each. And we' will obviously never work with any of her lazy mortgage recommendations, either. Or care about the home warranty thing she said was a good deal but turned out the be a waste.

So I'd like to take this opportunity to thank my realtor for putting up with me. We really are happy with our purchase, and it's worth at least $30,000 more than we paid for it two years ago, so that's cool. Not that we're selling it after how much effort I had to put into annoying our realtor to get it.

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