THE ONE THAT GOT AWAY - Jill Sackler, Long Island's South Shore Agent Laments a Transaction Gone Bad
A couple of months ago, my daughter and brand new son-in-law thought they had found the perfect house and, with my help, entered into negotiations with the homeowners (and their agent.) Several weeks later, after some intense back and forth, the deal fell apart and it was all over a Jacuzzi.
In the end, it all worked out just fine as the newly married couple found another starter home, perfectly suited to them, and closing took place a couple of days ago.
But this is the story of the first house in question - the one that got away!
The owners had renovated the space beautifully and, as such, decided they wanted top dollar for it. The kids made an excellent first offer and the homeowners countered within $4,000 of asking.
They were $20,000 apart.
The kids increased their offer by $10,000 and the homeowners countered by reducing the price another $5,000.
We were now $5,000 apart.
At this point, I started counseling the excited young couple that they couldn't afford to go much higher. They would never get their money back. The house was really at the very high end of the market comparables - but you already know how this story goes - they were so excited to have found something they loved and because they could already envision themselves living there, we decided to go up another $5,000.
We were now in agreement on the price.
So, what happened? Why didn't we end up in contract?
The homeowners decided they wanted to take their Jacuzzi with them and, in the end, made this the deal breaker.
This, of course, made no financial sense as this is an incredibly heavy piece to move. Not only that, but the owners would be forced to fix the hole that was left when the Jacuzzi was removed from the Trexdeck. Furthermore, a foundation would have to be poured and electrical hookups be placed in whatever new space they were moving it to.
None of this made any sense to us or even to their agent and, after a tense and prolonged period of negotiations, the entire thing fell apart for good.
A difficult part of the negotiation process is that all interested parties are not speaking face to face but instead, relying on the seller's agent to convey the buyers' sincerest thoughts to the homeowners. The agent can say, as he did, that he spoke to the homeowners and explained everything thoroughly to them. But did he do a good job?
At the end, we had no choice but to accept what we were told was the homeowner's final answer. Although it all worked out well in the end, I can't help but feel that the other agent dropped the ball on this transaction. He seemed to admit defeat all too rapidly, and even turned this unfortunate situation around to the point where he said to me over the phone, "What's the matter with your crazy clients?" after which he hung up on me.
We decided not to pursue it as we felt, right from the beginning, that the house was overpriced.
Clearly, in retrospect, the homeowners lacked motivation. While this didn't seem apparent at the time because they were simultaneously negotiating on a home they wanted to purchase, they were probably rethinking their decision to move, and maybe realizing that they didn't love anything as much as they home they currently lived in. The truth is, if you love your home more than anybody else in the whole world, it's only fair that you should get to keep it.
Picture courtesy of khyronsdf's photostream via Flickr.com's Creative Commons License.