Buying a New Home

Written by Zac Johnson
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My girlfriend and I had started searching for a house to buy a few months ago. After going to several houses and checking them out we had come across an extremely nice house on the lagoon. The house was torn dorn and completely remodeled by the owner a couple years ago. What I really loved about the house was that it had a "Florida" type feel to it, and the house layout was perfect. Upstairs was even a loft, which would have been perfect for running my business. In short, the house was perfect for the both of us. After seeing it the first time we were hesitant because it was priced at $755,000. We decided to wait and still see what was available in the market.

Some time went by and we went through a few more open houses and nothing compared to the original house we looked at, and everything in the same price range did not impress us. A little less than a month ago I called my realtor up and told her I wanted to make a bid on the house. I told her $650k, then she said it would be better to start at $700k since they probably would not take $650k seriously. We submit the bid and did all the necessary paper work. Soon enough it was negotiating time with the owners. After talking with the realtor over the phone and having her go back and forth between the owner’s realtor and pricing, we negotiated on $715,000. More than I had originally expected to pay for our first house, but we both really like this one.

More time went by and we were having all the necessities done, which included setting up mortgage loans, house inspections, insurance and estimates. The owners already had a house in Florida and were ready to sell the house and leave. II had previously asked if they would sell the furniture with the house as well. Everything inside was brand new and Ethan & Allen type quality. The owners said they would take $20,000 for everything inside (which we felt was a bit high). The day of the inspection, Reena, my father and the realtor were all there. In addition to the inspection, we were looking over all of the furniture and making estimates on the value of everything. For the more part, everything checked out fine at the house for the inspection, but the inspector also pointed out that the bulkhead (wall separating the land from the lagoon) was old and on a 10 degree angle and probably only had a few years left on it’s life. This was a major deal as it can get costly. We soon had a marine construction company come over and do an estimate on the bulkhead and they said it would soon have to be replaced within the next few years, otherwise the whole backyard could fall into the lagoon. The price was quoted in the area of $25,000.

This was a completely new and unexpected problem for the house, and one that I did not want to have to pay for. More time went by and I had my attorney write a letter to the owner’s attorney about the problem. I talked to my realtor, who talked to the owner’s realtor and they said they had their own "opinion/estimate" given on the bulk from some other researchers. We were even thinking/considering the idea of the furniture in exchange for taking care of the bulkhead ourselves. Their final letter from their attorney stated they would not pay for the bulkhead to be fixed, nor negotiate on any deals or pricing to make up for the deal.

It was now my decision to take the house as is and take the $25,000+ hit, or close the deal out. I talked to my lawyer and he said I was under no obligation to go ahead with the buying of the house, since inspection found this problem and only the initial home sales papers were signed. After talking with Reena and thinking about what we should do, we decided to tell the attorney to send over a "Kill Letter", which basically read "Mr. Johnson has advised me that he is unwilling to accept the property and the home inspection report since the Seller is not willing to repair or allow with respect to the bulkhead repairs or installation. Accordingly and under the terms of the home inspection clause, the home inspection is deemed unsatisfactory because of the bulkheading issue and the Contract declared null and void." The same day, I had left a message for my realtor about the kill letter as well.

The next day, later that night I received a call from a David at Shopzilla, who I met at Affiliate Summit. He said he sent a package to my address that was on my business card, and that UPS was told there was no "Zac Johnson" at the house. He told me the package was still outside the house and I could pick it up. The address he mailed to, was the address of this new house that I was expected to be moved into at the end of the month. I had ordered the cards right before Affiliate Summit, as the deal seemed like such a sure deal and both parties were ready to buy/sell. We wanted to move in and ready to buy, they wanted to move out and ready to sell. Never did I think their ignorance to negotiate would stop this deal, especially since I was paying pretty much TOP DOLLAR for this house. The worst part of that night was we went to the house and it was no longer "Under Contract" and was "FOR SALE" again. This was the first time it really hit hard that we weren’t getting the house.

The next day I had talked to my realtor and she said she ended up talking with the owner’s realtor and wanted some "proof" on their bulkhead estimates/inspection, which they never provided. Apparently it was a heated discussion and she ended up hanging up on him. I had then told her about the "FOR SALE" sign being listed on the house already. She said this was definitely not supposed to happen, as she hadn’t even received a copy of the "Kill Letter" before this new sign was put up.

Looks like we are now back to square one. I was originally set on buying a house on the water, but now open to a few more options… possibly a brand new house with more land and will build a nice in ground pool and deck area that Reena would love to have. It’s quite upsetting, as I was excitedly telling everyone about the our first house and how we would have some networking parties there. As frustrating and disappointing it has been, I am now confident that we will find something even better for us.

As for everyone that received my business card at Affiliate Summit, please contact me and I will send you my current address. If you happen to send anything out (which is usually unlikely), please also contact me. I will be going to the post office tomorrow to make sure any mail sent to the house with my contact name will be forwarded to my current location. I will keep you updated on my housing adventures… or drama.

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14 Replies to “Buying a New Home”

  1. That does sound frustrating. It sounds as though the owners felt you were trying to bilk them out of $25K by lying about the bulkhead. Otherwise, it would make sense for them to renegotiate the deal rather than having the whole thing slip through.

    1. The owners are better of waiting for a buyer who doesn't know about that bulkhead problem though. Heaps of people buy without a proper professional inspection.

      1. btw. I would never get a house with a pool – waste of time. The amount of effort and energy required to keep the pool clean is just not worth it.

  2. Zac, while I mentioned in my email to you that you shouldn't let a house that you really like slip away for $25k (b/c you may come to regret it), after reading about the whole saga, I'm changing my tune. I wouldn't want to do a deal with those people either.

    There's always going to be other house. So, hang in there!

    Best,

    David

  3. I had a similar experience with a house my husband and I tried to buy two years ago, the house looked great, even had some leftover liquor in the cabinets, but when we got it inspected boy were we surprised!

    We backed out after having screaming fights with our realtor (a ZipRealty agent) and the shady homeowner said he wouldn’t fix anything or drop the price. What a headache. Homebuying is such a milestone that when other people’s ignorance of reality affects your dream, it’s so very devastating. But we found a much much better process in buying a new home, complete with a ten year warranty on everything. No worries now!

  4. for some reason i never really read personal posts on blogs i read for information… however yours always seem to lure me in!

    im very sorry to hear about not getting the house. Im sure something bigger and better will come along

  5. I just went through this same thing; albeit it on a lower priced house. It always seems that the inspection is the most difficult part of the home buying process. But oh well, it is worth it in the end…

  6. compare condition and amenities of real estate to see if your getting a bargain or getting ripped.

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