The never ending winter here in the Chicagoland area did not stop this weekend. I got lassoed into having an open house by a negotiator that was working on a short sale listing I have about 40 miles north of my office. I won't tell you the story how I ended up with this listing....too long. The negotiator insisted that if I followed her instructions we would get several offers during the weekend. Well, despite my gut feeling, I went ahead and followed her instructions.
I posted the listing all over the Internet...thanks Postlet! I sent out emails to listing agents in the city where the property is listed and even past agents that showed it. The home really is a great bargain. Located in Keele Farm, a Kennedy Homes subdivision in Carpentersville next to Barrington Hills at only
$165,000 - 3 Bedroms, 1.5 baths, fireplace, eat-in kitchen, dining room and partially finished basement. It has some issues - broken window in kitchen, water came into basement when they turned off electricity and sump pump didn't turn off (has been drained). You get the picture...some cosmetic work and it's a nice home for the area. Well, have you ever stayed in a home without any heat in the middle of a Chicago winter???
It's not pretty! The short sale negotiator had sent a lender. Poor guy did not know what hit him. I was dressed in several layers of clothing, plus boots, heavy fur lined leather coat full length so I was more or less prepared. I even had a blanket just in case. But no matter how prepared you are....and Realtors really are always prepared...sitting in that house (OK...pacing in that house to keep from freezing to the carpet) was the worst 2 hours I have spent.
I am not a winter person by any stretch of the imagination. I was so tempted to light a match in the fireplace and throw the blank contracts I had and start a fire but my fear of having the house fill with smoke since its been vacant for over a year stopped me.
When a car pulled up...both Mike, the lender and I almost froze in place. A real live buyer??? A family of 3 came. They had just finished seeing houses with their Realtor and saw the flags and sign. Could they take a look. I was surprised I could even talk as I gave them the highlights of the home and explained the short sale process. Off they went to take a look of the upstairs as I told them that the home was a bit chilly.
After 10 minutes they liked the home enough to want to do a contract. And this is where the story gets a bit sad. I asked of course if they were working with a Realtor. "Well.., Mr. Buyer said, we just finished seeing a bunch of houses with a Realtor." Great, perhaps you can call him and ask him to come over and he can write the contract? Oh, no....he said he was going to be busy.... Can you do it?
CAN I DO IT??? Sure, but since you have a Realtor he might get upset but I will write the contract and give him his commission. Here is where it gets interesting. I asked Mr. Buyer....how much are you approved for? Who is your loan officer/mortgage lender?? Mr. Buyer looked at me like I had asked him for his show size. Well, we have not talked to a lender...we are not sure how much we can afford?
OK! (Thinking in my head....I know things are slow but why would you not get your buyer pre-approved/pre-qualified by your favorite lender? Why would you take them looking for a home if you don't know if they stand a chance of qualifying for a mortgage?)
I, of course, offered the services of the lender who was frozen beside me. He was too scared to turn on his laptop because it was so cold and he didn't want to take a chance on breaking it....so out came the pencil and paper and after a few quick questions....how much do you make a month....how many outstanding credit cards, auto....etc. he gave them a monthly payment with the caveat that he would have to take a formal application.
I explained to Mr. Buyer and family the process that I use with all my Buyer's. I explain that it makes no sense to look for a home without finding out if you can get a mortgage for the home unless you are buying CASH! Imagine if you fall in love with a home, put in a contract and you don't qualify. They had no clue what the homebuying process was...zip....nada.
Yes, I wrote out the contract but I my gut told me it would not go through. Not because they didn't want the house but because once they contacted their agent he more than likely would convince them that the short sale home would take too long.
They promised to come back the next day with the earnest money check and finish the loan application. They were happy and thrilled that they actually might buy this really cute house.
I left frozen but happy on the long 1.5 drive back to my home territory with the only regret that I had to come back to freeze another day.
To be continued......
No, I am not that cruel. Sunday....I am all set-up in record time. Lender comes with warm lap top ready to go and we wait and pace. I finally can't stand the suspense and call the potential Buyer.
"Hi, Mr. Buyer...have you warmed up from yesterday? (laugh...) When do you think you can stop by and finish up the paperwork....(long pause). You are leaving the country??? You decided to leave the country overnight?? I see, well I knew you guys were cold but leaving the country seems a bit drastic...spring is around the corner.... No, don't worry, I will tear the contract up. Enjoy your trip?.....
The lender and I had a great belly laugh. The excuse was almost as good as my dog ate my homework...or even .....I went to Macy's to buy socks and the perfume lady spritzed me....
But...before we could crack another smile...another car pulled up with another family.......and hope came back.
Did I tell you why I hate open houses???? I think you can figure it out. But if you know of anyone that wants a great 3 bedroom....check out MLS#06852294 in the MRED (MLS of Northern IL). Just dress very warmly!
SHORT SALE - 1896 CAMBRIDGE - CARPENTERSVILLE, IL - $165,000