Two Sets of Parents, Two Buyer Clients and a Home Inspection Going Bad

Real Estate Agent with Long and Foster Real Estate VA License # 0225089470

Two Sets of Parents, Two Buyer Clients and a Home Inspection Going Bad

A day in the life of a Manassas Real Estate Agent.  Home inspection with first time buyers.  Buyers arrive and home inspector arrives with an inspector in training.  Next to show up was his parents....then her parents.  Lord help me.  This was most definitely my circus and my monkeys today.

The folks were there to be supportive and check out the new place.  Everyone's excitement turned to varying levels of anxiety and anger when the heat didn't work.  Word from the inspector was the entire HVAC needed replacement, as did the water heater.  Turns out, the hydronic heating system had failed because the water heater was failing.  Seemed to the folks that the home had failed inspection, now what?

His mom wanted a price reduction.  Her mom was angry that the kids were having to pay so much in a far out area and getting crap.  The dads were either silent or with the inspector, but much more measured.  I couldn't disagree with any feelings they had.  They don't want to see their kids broke.  I'm right there with them, but I had to overcome the perception that real estate agents are just there to make a quick buck and gloss over issues.

Educating the parents on the various remedies that we had in place, the ultimate being to not move forward with the contract, helped them to trust that their kids were in good hands.  I expressed why price reduction wouldn't help them financially and how they could only absorb so much in closing cost help...definitely not enough for a new HVAC and water heater.  Eventually, all the parents were won over and understood, despite the lemon of a house we were dealing with, that their kids were in good hands.  There was no way I was going to allow them to move forward with a home purchase that would put them in debt.

Before the parents left, I also let them know I had a trust HVAC contractor coming to give me a quote on the replacements the next day.  Swift action was something they all approved of, as I knew they would.  Of course, tempering expectations as to what the seller was likely to do having had mutiple offers and seeing a bunch of cheap fixes and DIY projects around the recent "renovation" was a clue as to how the seller handled business.  Attention to detail was not their top priority.  The lowest bid seemed to be the top priority.

It is more likely than not that we will NOT come to acceptable terms with this seller, but as expressed to the buyers, priorities in the house hunt will change after an experience like this.  Flashy, modern finishes are not going to matter as much as heat and a/c that work, and gas appliances that were permitted.  Structures can be updated, as we saw today, inexpensively.  What can put in immediate debt are major systems not working.  Updates are optional.  And in the sellers market we are experiencing, more and more sellers are doing less and less.



Comments (15)

Paul S. Henderson, REALTOR®, CRS
Fathom Realty Washington LLC - Tacoma, WA
South Puget Sound Washington Agent/Broker!

That sounds like an episode of breaking bad. From experience it doesn't seem very good but I'm sure you'll find a silver lining Chris Ann Cleland 

Jan 13, 2021 03:19 PM
Chris Ann Cleland

We left things in a good place where our side of the transaction is, at least Paul S. Henderson, REALTOR®, CRS .  We'll see what happens next.

Jan 13, 2021 03:25 PM
Anna "Banana" Kruchten
HomeSmart Real Estate - Phoenix, AZ

Hi Chris Ann I am surprised that so many people were allowed at the home inspection.  That wouldn't fly now due to the covid thing and the other due to I had a similiar experience years ago (with better results) but it was a freaking zoo.  Sounds like it's on the the next house.....good luck on this one.  Parents can be say the least.

Jan 13, 2021 03:22 PM
Chris Ann Cleland

At least they all had masks and were never all on the same floor at a time.  

Jan 13, 2021 03:26 PM
Ed (Edward) Silva, 203-206-0754
Mapleridge Realty, CT 203-206-0754 - Waterbury, CT
Central CT Real Estate Broker Serving all equally

That sounds like a day when you get home, put up the feet and open one of the bottles of wine you brought home

Jan 13, 2021 03:43 PM
Chris Ann Cleland

Yes indeed.  Of course, any agent that enjoys wine probably has a few bottles on hand just for days like today.

Jan 13, 2021 03:59 PM
Jeff Dowler, CRS
eXp Realty of California, Inc. - Carlsbad, CA
The Southern California Relocation Dude

Hi Chris Ann:

That sounds like rather challenging  circumstances, and emotions, to cope with. But you handled it in the professional way you handle everything!


Jan 13, 2021 04:00 PM
Chris Ann Cleland

We'll see where it all ends up, but at least we're all on the same page on the buy side.

Jan 13, 2021 05:41 PM
Scott Godzyk
Godzyk Real Estate Services - Manchester, NH
One of the Manchester NH's area Leading Agents

Bringing in the spoilers to the home inspection always leads to stress Chris Ann Cleland. I hope things are well.  

Jan 14, 2021 07:30 AM
Chris Ann Cleland

Ha!  The spoiler was the house itself Scott Godzyk .  But we all got on the same page and are off to straighten it out.

Jan 14, 2021 04:37 PM
Beth Atalay
Cam Realty and Property Management - Clermont, FL
Cam Realty of Clermont FL

Hi Chris Ann Cleland, they are in great hands with you. Emotions are very high when selling and/or buying a home, some are warranted, some are not. I know you will lead them in the right direction.

Jan 14, 2021 01:56 PM
Chris Ann Cleland

It's tough to managed everyone's emotions, but absolutely necessary.

Jan 14, 2021 04:37 PM
Number Cruncher LLC - Overton, NV
Helping Taxpayers Resolve IRS problems

Did you have yourself a martini after all that excitement Chris Ann Cleland?

Jan 14, 2021 09:07 PM
Chris Ann Cleland

Honestly CANDACE (Candy) STEVENS , I felt pretty good about the whole thing after, at least on our side.  More concerned about seller blowing off the concerns that came up.  We're all in agreement on the buy side about how to move forward, which is wonderful.

Jan 15, 2021 10:55 AM
Debra Leisek
Bay Realty,Inc Homer Alaska - Homer, AK

And a partridge in a pear tree! 🎵

Sounds like you made the best of it 

Hope it works out! Either way you won them all over and you will find the right home for the young couple!

Jan 15, 2021 12:18 AM
Chris Ann Cleland

Debra Leisek --If this one doesn't work out, they will have dodged an expensive bullet.

Jan 15, 2021 10:56 AM
Patricia Feager, MBA, CRS, GRI,MRP
Selling Homes Changing Lives

Chris Ann Cleland - You just can't make this stuff up!

Now this is true reality and not what consumers see on Realty TV Home Buying Shows. 

Jan 15, 2021 05:36 AM
Chris Ann Cleland

Patricia Feager, MBA, CRS, GRI,MRP --If only a crew followed around non-millionaire dollar listing agents and saw a day in the life.

Jan 15, 2021 10:56 AM
Patricia Feager, MBA, CRS, GRI,MRP

Chris Ann Cleland - I agree with you! It's amazing how many people think what we do is so easy because of the shows they are watching on T.V. As recent as last night, a woman was talking to me about a couple looking to buy a beach house along the East Coast with a (so called) real estate agent who started out in Massachusetts and ended up in Galveston, TX. She was so excited because she really believed everything she saw was true. When I told her they were just actors and more than likely not a real Realtor licensed in all those states, I saw the deer in the headlights look in disbelief. 

Jan 16, 2021 01:00 PM
Kat Palmiotti
406-270-3667,, Broker/REALTOR® - Kalispell, MT
Helping your Montana dreams take root

So first, where do you get your photo/clip art shown above?

As for this situation, kudos to you for getting everyone on the same page (and not surprised that's what happened!) 

Jan 15, 2021 06:01 AM
Chris Ann Cleland

Kat Palmiotti --Those are Bitmojis from my phone.  I take screen shots and use them as clip art because they are awesome.

Jan 15, 2021 10:57 AM
Kat Palmiotti

Thank you Chris Ann Cleland - I'll have to check that out

Jan 15, 2021 11:26 AM
Adam Feinberg
Elegran - Manhattan, NY
NYC Condo, Co-op, and Townhouse Advisor

Sounds like you did the best you could under the circumstances.

Home inspections are uncommon in my market- and I get pushback from listing agents if my client wants one. The reason is that since 98% of the market is apartment sales- and inspectors often only have access to inspect the interior of the apartment- and only sometimes do they access to building systems. Instead, the attorney's often serve the role of the inspectors- reviewing financials, building meeting minutes, reviewing offering plans, asking managing agents about the building via their own questionaire.

Jan 15, 2021 06:24 AM
Chris Ann Cleland

Real estate is always local.  We sell in totally different markets Adam Feinberg .

Jan 15, 2021 10:58 AM
Mike McCann - Nebraska Farm Land Broker
Mike McCann - Broker, Mach1 Realty Farmland Broker-Auctioneer Serving Rural Nebraska - Kearney, NE
Farm Land For Sale 308-627-3700 or 800-241-3940

I haven't talked to the parent of a buyer since....10:01 today.  56 minutes ago.

(This mom was my 2nd client in my career in 1992)

I haven't talked to a young buyer going through the  loan, insurance, job letter, appraisal, and what's next process...since my daughter walked out of my office 10 minutes ago.  

I feel your pain!!

Jan 15, 2021 09:01 AM
Chris Ann Cleland

Mike McCann - Nebraska Farm Land Broker --It's a people business and that's what happens.

Jan 15, 2021 10:58 AM
Dorte Engel
RE/MAX Leading Edge - Bowie, MD
ABC - Annapolis, Bowie, Crofton & rest of Maryland

Dear Chris Ann,

I am with you on this one. Mechanical systems are important and should be functional. You can live with orange shag carpet in a pinch, but no heat or hot water would not be fun.

Jan 15, 2021 09:29 AM
Chris Ann Cleland

Dörte Engel --That was the same example I used.  It may be hideous, but isn't an emergency to replace like heating equipment and water heater.

Jan 15, 2021 11:00 AM
Debb Janes EcoBroker and Bernie Stea JD
ViewHomes™- by eXp Realty - Vancouver, WA
REALTORS® in Clark County, WA

Well now the sellers will have to disclose the expenses other buyers will face - even if these buyers walk. It is in their best interest to get the systems up to speed if they want to sell for an optimal price.  We've been there done that, and sometimes, due to the circumstances, the best thing to do is walk away. 

Jan 16, 2021 08:11 AM
Chris Ann Cleland

They remedied the problem so the work now, so no disclosure necessary, but my folks walked.

Jan 18, 2021 10:41 AM
Gary & Melynda Wolter, Since 2001, 480-269-1164
ProSmart Realty - Mesa, AZ
Reliable, Premier Personal Service since 2001

Unfortunately,  we had a very similar situation years ago. It strengthens your professionalism and you never forget it. Thanks for sharing.

Jan 16, 2021 08:20 AM
Chris Ann Cleland

Always do the right thing.

Jan 18, 2021 10:41 AM