Profile picture for geebus

As a seller, when do you walk away from a sale?

My house has been on the market for 5 mos and was originally listed at a price suggested by the realtor as it is large, in an executive neighborhood and has over $500k in upgrades/improvements and comparables were/are all over the map.  There was a steady flow of interest/showings, however, no takers.  Accordingly, I lowered the price 4% and started getting offers albeit 'low ball'.  I have entered into an agreement with a buyer for another 5% of (9% off original asking). Inspection has been completed and agreement has been made on structural items as well as lawn machinery valued at $2000 plus inspection items which total another 4%.  Now the buyers are making demands re cosmetic, i.e. refinishing of floors, etc. The floors are cherry so there is some discoloration under area carpets in one room.  I obtained a bid and agreed to do have that room refinished, however, may or may not match the rest of the floors.  The buyer's realtor contacted the flooring company I obtained the bid from and acquired a bid to refinish the remaining floors and the buyer's are now demanding I pay to refinish all the floors.   Do I walk away in hopes that spring will bring a better deal?  When is enough enough?   Thank you!
  • January 29 2013 - US
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Answers (15)

Profile picture for geebus
Thanks to all for your responses!  I drew a line in the sand and told the buyers  enough, no more!!  They agreed to our terms and closing is scheduled.

Thank you again!!  :)
  • January 29 2013
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Profile picture for wetdawgs
At the  moment, your house has been on the market for 5 months.    You have an offer in hand but are a bit irritated about some of the requests.   Some things to consider:    How much does it cost you to have your house monthly (mortgage, insurance, property taxes, utilities, headhaches etc?    How does this cost compare with the costs of refinishing the floor?     If you decide to withdraw from the current sale, are you prepared to have it on the market for another 5 months or more and deal with those costs?

A 95% offer on a high value house (which I'm assuming from the $500,000 in upgrades) is a very good offer.   Having to do repairs is reasonable.  Cosmetic things?  Run the numbers.      Your house is only worth what someone will pay for it, not a magic number generated by an agent's CMA.




  • January 29 2013
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I'm really sorry this is turning into the transaction from hell.  Try to assess what the buyer's issue is.  When people get petty it can mean that a) they are jerks and will continue renegotiating all the way through settlement or b) they are really scared of the transaction.  For the first set of folks, you can draw a line in the sand because they actually want the house, they're just after the best deal.  The second set of folks are looking for a way out and will be relieved if you give them one.  The problem with bailing out on your current contract is that future buyers will wonder what is so wrong with your home that the deal fell apart.  This is a really tough decision.  If inventory is really low in your area then looking for a reasonable buyer might be a good choice.  My sympathies.
  • January 29 2013
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Profile picture for nelllang
Dear Geebus,

It might just be time to walk away from this buyer.  If you have the time and the money to allow for another Spring offer.  It would be my suggestion to do so.  While it is always important to attempt to entertain and accomodate every offer, sometimes there are just too many concessions asked of sellers and at some point, the cost of these concessions no longer makes the transaction reasonable.  Hoping this helps.  Good Luck
  • January 29 2013
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Profile picture for blub blub blub
Only you can decide if this deal is right for you.

As far as price. 5% off the asking isn't that unusual in many areas.  You need to know how that relates to other sales in your area.  For example, does it fall within the norm of other sales around you, is it lower, higher etc. Buyers set the selling price.  You have mentioned other offers as low ball offers.  That should be an indicator of what the market supports.

The appraisal only determines if the value of the home is worth the loan.  It may only come back at a price that supports the loan.  For example, a $500,000 purchase price may only need a $400,000 loan.  The appraisal could come back at just enough to approve the loan rather than much higher than the purchase price.

The concessions.  Inspections items will most likely come up again on other offers.  The house should have been priced accordingly for condition from the beginning.  If you don't repair the issues, then you will be facing those repair costs again.  Your agent/atty. should receive a copy of the inspection report along with the repair requests.

The floors are clearly cosmetic.  Again, the house should have been priced accordingly due to condition. Refinished floors would warrant a higher selling price.  They are what they are and if the buyer wants shiny new floors, that is on them unless you are ok with having them redone.  You are clearly in your right to deny to have them redone, split the cost, or give some kind of credit. As others have mentioned, it may just be the buyers seeing what you will give in to. 

You don't have to do things that affect your bottom line, make you uncomfortable or feel you are being forced to do.  Do what you feel is best for you and your current situation.

If you decide to not move forward with this deal, then you do need to consider the fact that the next offer could be lower and or ask for more items etc.  There is no way of know whether or not the next offer would be any better.  You have reduced the house to a price that has attracted an offer, while other offers have been lower.

If you feel you need to stand your ground on the floors, then do so.  See how the buyer reacts.  Best to you.
  • January 29 2013
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Profile picture for Neeraj Jassal
I think that Tim brings up a good point when it comes to saying "No."  Sometimes enough is enough, but every transaction has it's own pace - you might have to find a way to check the temperature of these buyers to see how fastidious they are to their reply to inspection.

I typically instruct my buyers and sellers not to negotiate on cosmetics - it is so so easy to get into conflict when this happens.  For example, let's say the buyer requests the seller "I want you to paint the hot pink walls back to white".  The seller agrees and slaps on one coat of white paint.  The buyer comes for a walk-through and says "I can still see the hot pink underneath one coat of white paint".  The seller can easily respond and say "you said to paint it white and that's what I did".  Now, there's conflict - who is right and how can it be proven?  Can the buyer say "I'm not buying this house because you didn't do what you said you would do?"

I feel that when it comes to a cosmetic fix, it's always best to let the buyer get a quote and, if you (the seller) agree, provide them with a credit (or some negotiated portion thereof) to avoid getting into a situation where there is a question of the level of service that was provided.

Hope this works out for you.
  • January 29 2013
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Dear Geebus,

Well that depends upon your location, the property in question and the demand. If you have a solid buyer (financially), who can complete the sale, try to work with the one you have in hand.
Don't feel that you must refinish all the floors, negotiate the costs with the buyer. I am hoping you are working with a Realtor who should be your advocate and negotiator.
  • January 29 2013
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Remember...You risk the chance that the next offer could be lower.  Offer to pay a portion of the cost at closing in the spirit of compromise but also explain to your broker that you are contemplating walking and make sure that this point gets across to Buyers.  I would only suggest this last point, if your market has picked up significantly and inventories are low (as they are in my area)....the market has shifted significantly for many areas in the last few months and your Buyers could be in  for a rude awakening!:)
  • January 29 2013
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Profile picture for JoshBarnettREIB
If you want to get the property off your books, let the buyers know that you feel you are being treated unfairly and that you want to help them purchase your home but you feel that they are just trying to take advantage of you.  Reaffirm that you want to help them purchase the home but that you are going to have to call the end if they cannot accept the concessions you have already provided.  

Best of Luck
  • January 29 2013
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Profile picture for Ofe Polack
Your listing agent should be able to advise you on this issue, the agent will know better than any of us, if you are better off saying enough is enough and/or carry on with their requests. Read your contract to ensure at what time you agree to the repairs and from there on you will not do anything else. Regarding the home inspection report or the appraisal, neither of them belong to you because the buyers are the ones who ordered them and pay for them.
  • January 29 2013
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Profile picture for Miracle Mile Realty
If you chose to sell your house as is, thats how you should keep it. at any point the buyer can choose to walk away and youll be the one losing out, not them. also remember that a house is only worth what people are willing to pay for it. there is a possibillity prices will rise as summer comes with inventory the way it is, but there is no telling if banks will just decide to flood the market. my advice, stay with the sale of your house but learn to say no to repairs. if they dont buy  than take it off the market until late spring or summer when buying season is in full swing and make those minor repairs to get some extra dollarsin your pocket
  • January 29 2013
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Profile picture for geebus
Thank you so much for your response!! We're still in the negotiating part of the sale.   Thus far there is no mention re warranted/cosmetic items. Only items we've agreed to address per inspection report, which are minor and per my licensed contractor and electrician are without warrant.  The inspector did include in his report the discoloration issue, why, I'm not sure as it has been my experience most inspector's stick to the structural/infrastructural issues.  Otherwise, they could comment on anything/everything that is not to the buyer's liking. (Right?)

Am I entitled to a complete hard copy of the inspector's report?  Does the buyer's realtor have the right to contact without my knowledge, the flooring expert I used to obtain a bid?  

FYI.  The appraisal is being done tomorrow, 1/30/2013. Am I entitled to a copy?  What would you advise?  Wait for the appraisal? (the home was appraised when the house was listed 5mos ago and came in at 9% over the buyer's offer). And if higher than the offer, use it as a negotiating tool?  Should I offer to carpet the room with the discoloration vs. refinishing all the floors?  Walk away? Take a gamble that I could get a better offer with the upcoming buying season?  It would be nice to have the house sold and move on, however, I'm in a position where I can afford to hold on to it in hopes of moving it in another month or two.  


  • January 29 2013
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Profile picture for Outer Banks N C
I have found that in 25 years of selling real estate sometimes the word  NO  works in your favor. A buyer that keeps getting his wishes keeps wishing. Say no. Say it often and be ready to walk, they usually give in since they have money in the game at this point.

tim
  • January 29 2013
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thanks for posting your question on Zillow.com and sorry for your troubles.

if you are within the inspection contingency period the buyers have the right to ask but you certainly do not have to agree.  if you want to keep the deal together I would offer paying half of the refinishing cost to keep the deal together. when I would first do is reject their request and see if they walk. If they do walk then offer half. You and your Realtor should have a good feel on how much the buyers like the house. Keep in mind, the buyers have more to lose financially then you as a have already invested.

as far as waiting for the spring market, that is a good local question and tough to answer but I will tell you once your house does contingent then under contract then comes back on the market active usually gives off a bad signal.

Best of luck.
  • January 29 2013
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Check your Contract to see if inspection/repairs cover "warranted" items or "cosmetic."  Like you mentioned, it appears the buyers are wanting cosmetic repairs made - you and your agent need to check your contract to see what your obligations are as the seller.  Good luck.
  • January 29 2013
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