Last Wednesday, we made an offer on the house we liked. Since then, I've had a bad feeling in my stomach, based purely on instinct. Not about the house, but about the agency we dealt with. As of about an hour ago, we're out of that first offer. Here's a timeline:
Friday, 15 August: We meet a rep from the listing agency to see the inside of the house (we'd already run all over the exterior). Because we had a hard time getting agents to return our emails/calls, we planned on working with this lady to look at all the houses. On those, she'd be our agent (we saw 3 others that day). On this house, however, she was a seller's agent.
Tuesday, 19 August: John sees another house with her and asks to see the inside of "our" house again to take pictures. He tells her that we'll very likely be placing an offer on Friday.
Wednesday, 20 August: Agent calls and says that they have another offer coming in that evening and suggests we place our offer prior to that. Since we're paying cash (assuming the offer is accepted), we would have a better shot. Since we don't have to have proof of the inheritance with us, and the closing of dad's house is 99.9999% sure, we go ahead.
However, one of the listings mentioned an auction and 5% premium, so we asked that they confirm or deny that little number. They couldn't, so we dropped our offer by a few thousand to make up for it. We're told during the meeting that the auction was closed and that our requests for both attorney approval and contractor inspection contingencies were no problem.
Many times during this meeting with the agent and the listing agent/agency owner, we were addressed as if we were complete buffoons. They frequently expressed amazement that we'd done some homework and asked intelligent questions. The agency owner is also a contractor and would love if we'd hire him to do the inspection (hahahahaha) and the needed repairs (rotflmao).
Monday, 25 August: Agent calls. Oh, auction is still on, so they had to submit our offer (which was to a bank, not an auction house) to the auction house, who had accepted it, conditionally. The price was okay, but we had to remove the contingencies: no attorney approval and no inspection. As if.
After some discussions with our CPA/CFA (my brother) and his attorney coworker, we have the wording to return to them with: "no." ;-) The agent kept going on about how we could lose it (we know). We had to keep pointing out discrepancies in the paperwork and her statements.
As it stands, there is no offer, and our check is being returned. Supposedly, the auction is "really" over tomorrow, and we can start again. We like the house, but don't like or trust the listing agency. We will have a buyer's agent with us next time, if there is a next time. The offer amount will NOT change, but a couple of other things will. Like the seller's name will not just be "bank" and the contingency for the inspection won't expire 30 days PRIOR* to the offer date.
*Their bait 'n switch, our bad for not catching it. There were 2 sets of documents. We reviewed the first while the second was reprinting, marked it up w/ questions, etc., but didn't compare every line between the 2 copies. The lawyer said that it's an invalid contract based solely on that, but it makes the agent either a manipulative liar or a moron.
Monday, August 25, 2008