Sometimes selling your home is a snap. But sometimes a good home sale goes awry. Very Wrong. And you might not even know exactly why your home is stalling in the market or why you end up losing money on the sale.
To find out how things can go off the rails during a home sale, we asked Realtors® Horror Stories. No, you’re probably not one of those nightmarish, self-sabotaging house sellers. But you can learn from their mistakes. Or, if you prefer, just revel in their craziness. Enjoy!
1. The seller of “Nazi soup”
You know that famous episode of “Seinfeld” with the “Nazi Soup”, where the owner of a deliciously delicious soup store service regularly refused to someone he didn’t like? This is what happened here, only worse. Because even the Soup Nazi didn’t take your money first.
Marc Ferguson, a real estate agent and real estate investor in Greeley, CO, says he had a client who simply decided he didn’t want to sell to the buyer – or return the deposit to the buyer.
After the buyer expressed some qualms about the lack of repairs made after the damage caused by a hailstorm, the “House Nazi” put their foot down: no home for you!
“The main reason the seller didn’t want to return the deposit was because he didn’t like the buyer, even though he didn’t know him at all,” says Ferguson. It was wrong. It was irrational. And finally, it was contentious.
Eventually, the seller agreed to return the money, but not out of the goodness of his heart. He only did it “once [he] discovered that going to mediation would cost as much as the deposit money, ”says Ferguson.
Come from the side of the light: You can’t keep someone’s deposit just because you don’t like them. There are specific cases when you can keep a seller’s deposit and times when you absolutely must return it. Follow the rules, you’ll be glad you did.
2. The delusional seller
We all know that when you sell, you have to rid your home of personal memories, so that buyers can imagine them. A salesperson in Phoenix apparently did not receive the memo.
Real estate agent Casey cuppy of The Cuppy group in Phoenix saw it as soon as she walked into her client’s house:
It was “a life-size mural of the pack of rats painted on the living room wall, ”Cuppy recalls. “It was a very detailed and scary painting. It even made you jump me the first time.”
Not only did the seller refuse to remove the paint, but he considered it an upgrade to the house and wanted to recoup the cost by adding $ 100,000 to the price of the house, Cuppy recalls.
Unable to sell the house after 90 days, the landlord rented it out but didn’t even let the tenants cover the horror. He went with another realtor, but the house remains on the market to this day, Cuppy says.
Come from the side of the light: The owner should have been careful what his agent was telling him, instead of doing the exact opposite. “The seller should have either offered credit for the paint or removed the mural itself,” Cuppy explains.
3. The disruptive seller
Some people can get a little too much involved in the door-to-door sales process. This is what happened to Joshua Jarvis, a real estate agent in Atlanta when one of his clients decided to sell the house to the neighbors, without Jarvis’ help.
“Of course I start asking about qualifying,” Jarvis explains. The salesperson told him, “No, no, this person is legitimate, she will pay cash. “
After some back and forth, the neighbors decided to get a loan instead, even though they had the money. It was a little weird, but they still proceeded with the contract. Until a week later, when the neighbors stopped responding altogether, withdrew from the business, and put a stop payment on their down payment.
“My salespeople had to start over,” Jarvis says.
Come from the side of the light: The salespeople could easily have avoided all of this frustration and waste of time if they had heeded Jarvis’ warning. “If you’re going to pay for (the expertise of) a real estate agent, use it,” Jarvis says.
His clients are now back in the game and using their agent.
4. The uncompromising seller
For most people, buying and selling a home is the most important financial transaction in their life. And when you sell, you can make a lot of money on the deal, but you’ll have to be prepared to compromise.
Ferguson had a salesperson who had apparently never heard of this truism. He was looking to earn $ 80,000 on the deal, but he had a rusty 17-year-old water heater that was leaking and needed to be replaced before buyers made the purchase. The total cost of the repair? About $ 800.
But the seller has not budged. “[They] I thought the $ 800 water heater was worth ending the deal, ”Ferguson recalls.
Fortunately for the seller, the buyer ended up paying for the repairs.
Come from the side of the light: In this case, the vendor was posing as a bandit. And while that could be interpreted as a shrewd business, it’s also a pretty big bet – and most would say, unreasonable. It would have been safer for the seller to use 1% of their profits to ensure the deal goes through.
“It was a huge risk for a little bit of money,” Ferguson says.
5. The “cat man” seller
We’ve all heard of the “cat lady” – after all, an older woman who lives alone with a few dozen cats is considered a bit eccentric. But what about its male counterpart?
“We once had an older man who sold his property through our company, which was, to put it mildly, a nightmare,” explains Jamal Asskoumi, co-owner of the online real estate agency CastleSmart.com.
Asskoumi said the house itself was very impressive and the man demanded the best price. Yet he completely refused to mow the grass on his overgrown lawn.
“When asked about it, he simply replied, ‘I don’t want to and I won’t,’” Asskoumi said. “Visitors to the property weren’t so lazy about the visual pollution that was its lawn, especially since the house was beautiful and the man asked a lot for that.”
It was the first warning sign. And then there were the cats. The seller let the felines roam the house during visits, which bothered some buyers (especially those with allergies). Asskoumi suggested that he let the cats outside or confine them in some other way. But again, the seller refused and put them all in the living room on a visit.
Come from the side of the light: Clearly, this guy should have listened to his agents. All he had to do was mow his lawn and do something with the cats so they weren’t prowling around his property.
“It was a very strange scenario: he seemed to be sabotaging his own sale,” notes Asskoumi. It is not certain that the man has already made the sale, but “he certainly did not sell it with us”. And maybe that’s just as well.