My Buyer Got a Great Home Thanks to a Stinking Dead Chipmunk

Real Estate Agent with Atlanta Communities Real Estate Brokerage GREC #208281


It all works out for the best

Key Points

  • My buyer saw a vacant  home on Zillow but it had been withdrawn for some reason
  • Listing agent said they finally found the source of the stench and cleaned it up
  • We saw it before they got it back on the market and made a good offer


My Buyer's Review on Zillow

"My wife and I used Tim to purchase a home that we closed on this Jan. We were on a tight time schedule and Tim was an enormous asset as a buyers agent. He showed houses to us rain/sleet/or snow and made the negotiation and closing a smooth painless process. My wife and I highly recommend Tim! You won't regret using him as your agent."


The Background Story

It started out like most, a phone call from a guy who found me on the Internet.

He and his wife were in town for a few weeks on a mission to find a home in three weeks.

I told him to send me his list of his favorites. I would set up a tour and get the party started.

He sent me a list of 14 homes and I set up a tour for the next day.  After about 4 hours of looking at all of the homes, it seemed like they had a top three list.  I told them to sleep on it and let me know if they'd like to revisit their top choices the next day.

The next day he emailed me saying that after further review, they didn't want to pursue any of the 14 that we looked at.  Instead, he sent me a list of 11 more homes.  I set them up and we went out to look at them the next day.

At the end of the tour, they said that they would get back to me on their decision by the next day.  

They called me the next morning and wanted to revisit their top three from the previous day.  They really wanted to take a good second look at them and then they would pick a winner.  "And while we are at it, can we see three new ones too?"

It's interesting to see how first impressions change.  Things that were overlooked the first time around come to your attention.  Their number three choice moved up to their number one choice.  The nicest home with the most bells and whistles lost out because there just wasn't enough natural light.    


Round One of the Negotiations

Now it was a matter of negotiating.  First the research.  I pulled up the comps for the neighborhood and saw that the home seemed to be about $20,000 too high.  I called the listing agent to see if she could help me with the pricing. Maybe I was missing something.  I also like talking it over with the other agent because I can usually find out bits of information that can allow the buyer to submit an offer that has a good chance of being accepted.  I'm looking for motivations and hot buttons.  I want to know how to position the buyer in the eyes of the seller.

The listing agent surprised me.  She said that my analysis was spot on.  It's what she had gone over with her seller.  But the seller had invested a lot of money on various upgrades over the years and she was adamant about recouping that money.

The agent said to send over my best offer and she would see what she could do.

We came in $22,000 under list price for a $450,000 home but it was cash and we could close in three weeks.  The seller countered by coming down $7,500.  My buyer came up $6,500.  The seller dragged her feet and finally said that she would split the difference and came down an additional $4,000. So we had a final gap of $4000 to bridge.

I thought my buyer had made a good offer and he should stand firm.  But I'm not going to stand in the way if my buyer really wants a home.  I give them the facts and they make the final decision.  Some things are more important than price.


"I Saw an Off Market Home on Zillow That Looks Great"

Instead, he wanted me to look into a listing he saw on Zillow.  It was withdrawn a couple of months ago but it looked like a great home for them.

I was thinking that it was a waste of time.  Since it had been vacant in October when it had been withdrawn, I figured that most likely it had been rented it out or something.  I thought the chances of it being available was slim to none.

But you never know.  It's always good to play it out just in case.  If nothing else, a call to the former listing agent could clear the minds of my buyer.  You don't want an unknown possibility holding up a decision.  You want them to feel that no stone was unturned.

I asked the listing agent about the status.  She said that it had been an interesting situation for the past few months.

She said that the sellers had vacated the home in the summer and had a lot of work done to the home before they put it on the market.

After a few weeks on the market, she said that she was getting good traffic but she started getting feedback about a musty odor of some sort.  Buyers were thinking that there had to be some kind of water problem.

But the sellers were adamant that they never had any issue and had never smelled anything.  Unfortunately, they were now out of town so they couldn't be there in person to look into it. In the seller's mind, buyers must have been on drugs to say that there was a smell of mold.  The agent said that after another couple of months the smell turned into a stench. They decided to take the home off the market to figure out what the problem was.

She said that after a lot of detective work, they finally found the problem.

A chipmunk had apparently gotten into the home during the pre-listing renovations.  They found a decomposing chipmunk under the floorboards.  They had it cleaned up and spent the last month getting the smell out.  It finally smelled like a rose and they were getting ready to put the for sale sign up in a couple of days.  She had already put up a lockbox so she said I should go and show it.

We saw it the next day, made a reasonable offer, and got it under contract before they were able to get back on the market. 

After the inspection turned up a few minor items, we negotiated to have the sellers concede a few thousand dollars.

We did an appraisal even though it was a cash transaction.  The appraisal came in a few thousand dollars higher than the original contract price.

Another happy ending for a lovely family.

I love this business.

















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About the Author:  Tim Maitski has been a full time Realtor since 1999. He has sold several hundreds of homes in areas around metro Atlanta.  Tim started with RE/MAX Greater Atlanta and is now with Atlanta Communities Real Estate Brokerage.


Along with blogging on ActiveRain, he provides one of the best real estate websites in Atlanta at .


His proprietary  "Maitski Line Reports" chart out the absorption rates over the past 14 years in 37 different market areas.  Know when it's a good time to buy or a good time to sell.    


His online Property Tax Calculator allows you to compare property taxes in many counties and cities around the Atlanta area.  He provides the Atlanta MLS Power Search Tool that allows searches of homes using over 35 specific criteria.


Over the years, Tim has optimized his business so that he now can offer a huge 50% commission rebate to his buyers.  The more experience one gets, the easier the job becomes.


Tim also has a "Five Days to Sold" System that uses an intensive marketing blitz to create a showing frenzy that creates urgency and offers.


Tim is always looking to LinkIn with anyone who is interested in building their social network.


View Tim Maitski ●Atlanta Realtor●'s profile on LinkedIn


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Silvia Dukes PA, Broker Associate, CRS, CIPS, SRES
Tropic Shores Realty - Ich spreche Deutsch! - Spring Hill, FL
Florida Waterfront and Country Club Living

Tim, congratulations on your successful transaction. Your experience is a perfect example that selling homes is not always as easy as the public seems to think it is. There is a lot of work, time, and creativity involved to make things happen! Good job.

Jan 09, 2018 05:41 AM #1
Tammy Lankford,
Lane Realty Eatonton, GA Lake Sinclair, Milledgeville, 706-485-9668 - Eatonton, GA
Broker GA Lake Sinclair/Eatonton/Milledgeville

many times I have sold houses that had been taken off market for some reason or another by just keeping up with the market.  What a great win for your buyer who wasn't competing because the house was off market.

Jan 09, 2018 01:25 PM #2
Roy Kelley
Realty Group Referrals - Gaithersburg, MD
Roy and Dolores Kelley Photographs

Thanks for sharing this interesting story.

Congratulations on another successful transaction.

Jan 10, 2018 06:24 AM #3
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