PartIII...The Sad Ending

By
Real Estate Broker/Owner with Missy Caulk TEAM

Sad for everyone involvedThis is the conclusion of a post I started on A Nightmare to Remember. If you haven’t read Part I or Part II, you might want read those first.

 

Part II ended with me finding out the sellers had re-listed the house to my utter surprise with their Attorney, who was also a Realtor.

My comment to my former client, when I called her up and heard the news was:

“Why, I don’t understand?”

“Missy, you didn’t sell our house and we wanted to let someone else try”.

Ms. Seller, “I brought you 4 offers on your house, two of which were accepted, one fell apart over the square footage, and one your lenders would not respond to the other offer after waiting 3 weeks”. “I did everything I knew to get the house to closing.”

Ms Seller, “It’s not personal”. “We want to give our attorney a try”.

“Well, I wish you the best of success in selling your home” and I meant it.

As painful as it was for me, I knew it was worse for them. Was I upset? Yes, of course, I'm human.

Did the attorney interfere with the agency relationship by listing the house? I have no clue as I had withdrawn the listing as the sellers had instructed me to, 3 weeks before and I obviously was not privy to the conversations. I was not under any agency relationship at the time. I do know the seller told me the attorney was supposed to have called and told me, and he did not. She was surprised about that.

Conclusion on the house: The house did not sell in the next 5 months, that the Attorney/Realtor had it listed. Maybe they received offers; I have no way of knowing.

A year of stressThe Lawsuit: I and my broker spent $1,500.00 for the first line of defense to defend the lawsuit. The rest was covered by my E&O Insurance. Both the buyer agent and I were dropped from the lawsuit. This is the only time I have been sued in 13 years, and yes it was stressful.

Thank goodness, I had an appraisal to back up the square footage, and you could see on the listing where I had crossed out, the assessor’s square footage and written in what my sellers told me the appraisal. And we had the appraisal to back it up. No intent to defraud the buyers.

The house was eventually SOLD after the foreclosure redemption period,(6months in Michigan) for $50,000.00 LESS than the offers I had received and one year later.

 

The sellers finally won the law-suite and got to keep the $10,000 EMD. They told me at the grocery store two years later. 

The sellers continued to rent for a couple of years and eventually did purchase a home.

EMDThe buyers had “buyer’s remorse”. They just did not want the house. They never moved to Ann Arbor but continued to live with the parents in another town. The parents never wanted them to move in the first place. They lost their $10,000.00 EMD and no telling how much in pursuing the lawsuit. They changed attorneys twice.

The Square Footage: The appraiser who did the 500 S.F. higher had counted the air above the great room in the re-finance appraisal.

Lessons Learned: I learned to always LOOK at the appraisal at the time the sellers disagree with the Tax Assessors record on file before changing it in the listing contract.  I learned the bank didn’t really care and could have sold it a year earlier for more money. I learned that even when we give our heart and soul to a listing and clients we still might not get paid. I learned that there is no required method to measuring square footage and all four measurements were different.

Andrew LenzaAnd this post was written as a result of Andrew Lenza’s post on Playing with House Money inside the Titanic’s Casino! Receiving an Offer, to quote Andrew:

“You still may not get paid. But you're walking out of the suede room with your reputation intact, a feat not-so-com-pleat but still a rather valiant maybe. And if you survive the blunt force of the iceberg with your reputation, you can always make money once back on terra firma. You produced a result. Now where is the aft deck smorgasbord? I'm absolutely famished.”

“WHOA! WHAT WAS THAT?!? Felt like we just hit something really, really hard.”

I’ve learned not to get giddy when the offer(s) come in. This is where the real work begins. Yes, Andrew, there are ice-bergs out there to stay clear of.  I am thankful the Buyer Agent, (who actually was from a different area), was on the same page as I was throughout the ordeal. That made it easier for the all the negotiations. What could have been advesarial was not and we have remained friends. The buyer stopped speaking to him when he told them they would lose their EMD. He told them to walk-away, they were going to lose the EMD and more money in legal fees. They did.

What started with a square foot issue, (on a loan already funded), ended with a lawsuit, a foreclosure, the time spent, the E&O (right of first defense) $1,500.00 lost and the disruption of many lives.

The learning experience priceless. 

 

***Names, towns, square footage amount, have been changed to protect the parties involved*** but a true event.

 

 

Posted by

 

Missy Caulk, Ann Arbor Realtor

Missy Caulk, Broker/Owner of Savvy Realty Group can be reached at 734-926-9797 or email: Missy@MissyCaulk.com

Our Team of 6 agents are available to help you relocate to Ann Arbor, Saline, Dexter, Chelsea, Milan, Ypsilanti Township, Clinton, Manchester, Whitmore Lake, or throughout Washtenaw County, MI.

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Stay strong, stay faithful, stay honest, stay loving, stay true to who you are, most importantly stay true to who God is as you'll be who you are, and you'll be happy, you'll be you, you'll be free. -Jamie Caulk

 

Comments (69)

Allison Stewart
St.Cloud Homes - Saint Cloud, FL
St. Cloud Fl Realtor, Osceola County Real Estate 407-616-9904
Oh Missy!  What doesn't kill us makes us stronger!   You did everything you could and in the end you know that!   What a horrible ordeal.
Jan 30, 2008 11:35 PM
Jeannie Kontis
Lancaster, PA
Wow, what an ordeal!  Now I'm going to have to go back and read parts 1 and 2. 
Jan 30, 2008 11:45 PM
Susie Blackmon
Ocala, FL
Ocala, Horses, Western Wear, Horse Farms, Marketing

Thanks for the very interesting story. I appreciate the time you took to report the story.  All of your readers will think about this any time we are dealing with measurements.

 

Jan 31, 2008 12:13 AM
Vanessa Stalets
RE/MAX Elite - Brentwood, TN
REALTOR, Brentwood TN Homes, Real Estate
Wow Missy, what an ordeal and a lesson learned the hard way. Thank you for sharing, it may save many others from the same issue. I have always felt safe listing at what ythe previous appraisal said for sq. ft. I will read the appraisal end to end now. Whew..what a drama to go through. Glad you were cleared, as you did not do anything, but wjat a bummer to expend the energy and bring the buyers and then get this? Plus the listing taken away. Thanks for sharing this!
Jan 31, 2008 01:24 AM
Anonymous
Jon Boyd

 

Missy,

 Interesting story. I think I know how you felt at various times when reading it.

The good news is that for me the low points in this business just serve to make the high points so much sweeter!

Feb 01, 2008 02:43 AM
#54
Kate Elim
Dockside Realty - Spotsylvania, VA
Realtor 540-226-1964, Selling Homes & Land a

Missy...You were blindsided when you least expected it.  Sometimes it seems we're just one transaction away from a disaster. 

I'm so relieved to know that you were dropped from the suit but it must have been a very stressful time.  I don't think anything prepares us for things like this.

And it is very hurtful when you give so much of yourself and want the best for your client, to not receive the same in return.  It's as though they try hard not to understand the impact their actions have on us.

I will now read Andrew Lenza's post mentioned above and some others too.

Take care,

Kathleen

Feb 01, 2008 03:41 PM
Jennifer Fivelsdal
JFIVE Home Realty LLC | 845-758-6842|162 Deer Run Rd Red Hook NY 12571 - Rhinebeck, NY
Mid Hudson Valley real estate connection
Missy -This is the type of situation we hate to find ourselves in.  You can hold your head high because you did your best.  And even when we go above and beyond sometimes we end up not getting paid, this week I had one of those experience.
Feb 01, 2008 09:38 PM
Kelly Shoemaker
Coldwell Banker SELECT - Broken Arrow, OK
Realtor Broken Arrow, OK
Awesome story!  Read all 3 parts this morning!  I have found there is a learning curve in everything we do! If we don't make mistakes or come upon obstacles we will never learn from the outcome.  If anyone claims to be perfect and has never had a dramatic transaction they haven't been in the business long enough.  You handled everything like the professional you obviously are,  Kudos to you!
Feb 02, 2008 01:55 AM
Kelly Shoemaker
Coldwell Banker SELECT - Broken Arrow, OK
Realtor Broken Arrow, OK
Awesome story!  Read all 3 parts this morning!  I have found there is a learning curve in everything we do! If we don't make mistakes or come upon obstacles we will never learn from the outcome.  If anyone claims to be perfect and has never had a dramatic transaction they haven't been in the business long enough.  You handled everything like the professional you obviously are,  Kudos to you!
Feb 02, 2008 01:55 AM
Kelly Shoemaker
Coldwell Banker SELECT - Broken Arrow, OK
Realtor Broken Arrow, OK
Awesome story!  Read all 3 parts this morning!  I have found there is a learning curve in everything we do! If we don't make mistakes or come upon obstacles we will never learn from the outcome.  If anyone claims to be perfect and has never had a dramatic transaction they haven't been in the business long enough.  You handled everything like the professional you obviously are,  Kudos to you!
Feb 02, 2008 01:56 AM
James Downing - Metro DC Houses Team REALTORS®, CRS, GRI, ABR,MRP, MilRes
Real Living | At Home - Washington, DC
When Looking to Buy or Sell - Make the Right Move

Amazing.  People never cease to amaze me.  Buyers have this notion that they can change their mind at any time.  Well they can - it's just that sometimes there are consequences!

No one really wins when it goes to court. 

Feb 02, 2008 05:37 AM
Cathy Tishhouse
RE/MAX Showcase Homes - Royal Oak, MI
Royal Oak Real Estate
Thanks for sharing the story and allowing all of us to gain experience from your lessons learned.  I just did a BPO and the previous listing ticket and public records had a big gap.  At this point, I don't need to know but if I were listing it, I would want to make sure - from your story, this will always be firm in my mind.
Feb 02, 2008 06:32 AM
Cathy Tishhouse
RE/MAX Showcase Homes - Royal Oak, MI
Royal Oak Real Estate
Thanks for sharing the story and allowing all of us to gain experience from your lessons learned.  I just did a BPO and the previous listing ticket and public records had a big gap.  At this point, I don't need to know but if I were listing it, I would want to make sure - from your story, this will always be firm in my mind.
Feb 02, 2008 06:34 AM
Lee Morof
RE/MAX Showcase Homes - Birmingham, MI
Associate Broker, Attorney, CDPE
Missy, it's lawsuits like the one you described that made me get out of litigation. To this day, I tell all of my law clients that no one really wins in court.
Feb 02, 2008 01:14 PM
Susan Peters
Dove Realty Inc. - Seattle, WA
The Better it Looks the Better it Sells

Missy,

You have my sympathy. No matter whose fault it is litigation is always a nightmare and the impact can be felt for a long time after the dust settles. I think a quote from Shakespeare is in order here.

                                                

                                                   "First kill all the lawyers" 

Feb 02, 2008 02:33 PM
Laurie Logan
Keller Williams Realty, Inc., Broker Associate - Madison, WI
South Central WI Real Estate

Oh Missy,

 I am so sorry that happened to you.  That lawyer sounds like a piece of work. 

Feb 02, 2008 05:08 PM
Missy Caulk
Missy Caulk TEAM - Ann Arbor, MI
Savvy Realtor - Ann Arbor Real Estate

Thanks for all your comments on this post and hopefully it was a learning experience, I sure learned a lot. It did happen over 5 years ago and now I only use the square feet from the assessor or look at the appraisal and see that they didn't measure the AIR. 

It was also good that I had the documentation, had the seller not been able to show the appraisal with the square feet I posted, they might have been able to prove fraud. Which I would never do, but they didn't know that.

I don't think anyone really won in this case. I'm sure my sellers 10,000 EMD was spent defending themselves and they lost the house is foreclosure. The buyer just changed his mind and tried to find a way out. Unfortunately the first attorney should have told him to buy the house and not taken the case or come back with a different amount to settle the difference.  No telling how much he lost in money trying to get  the money back with attorney fees.

 

Feb 03, 2008 04:29 AM
Bill Schwent
Casa Tierra Realty - Santa Fe, NM
Santa Fe Broker

Missy,

Thanks for sharing.  I have had a similar situation that ended much better.  I will post it for the sake of comparison. 

Feb 03, 2008 05:29 AM
Anonymous
Ann Cordes
Missy, Thanks for this series of blogs. Being new to real estate, this kind of story is a very valuable learning tool.
Feb 04, 2008 06:39 AM
#68
Mark Horan
Resident Team Realty, LLC & Toni's Property Management LLC - Saint Cloud, FL
"The Resident Chef" - Resident Team Realty LLC &
Missy- What a nightmare. I am in a similar case, but it has to do with buyer fraud. That's why they lost their EMD. It's messy and time consuming.Navigating these waters is treacherous. Great Cliffhanger
Feb 08, 2008 03:15 AM