Profile picture for lpshore

Why is my buying agent pushing me to ask for less deficiencies- inspector found major plumbingissues

The out of town seller accepted my first offer, $235,000 cash for a triplex in Bayou St John area. The house was listed as being in very good condition and after bringing a friend who is a carpenter through the house, he determined we might have $2000 worth of repairs due to settling cracks(which seller assured us the structural issues causing this had already been repaired). Upon home inspection we found that there were multiple wood sills touching the ground, an entire pier missing from the center of the house, a break in the sewage line, multiple crusty rusted pipes that look like they are about to crumble apart, moisture damage floor of one bath w/ a toilet about to fall through the floor. I had a mold inspection done which I still don't have results from but estimate of $2000 to repair and hvac inspector said I would need to clean all central a/cs for about $1500. After reviewing these unexpected deficiencies that show the house is clearly not in Very Good condition as the seller had it listed, my friend the carpenter suggested I ask for no less than $15000 in deficiencies. When I met with my agent to prepare negotiating papers, she urged me not to ask for too much as this might piss off the seller and they could come back to me and refuse to drop the price at all. She actually already had the paperwork done asking for $12000 in deficiencies. It was late and she was already drinking wine so I told her not to bother retyping, just leave it at $12000. Now I feel like she bullied me into this to squeeze out every penny of her commission. Shouldn't her job be to get me the best deal, not to get her and the selling agent the highest commision? She keeps telling me that both she and the selling agent think I'm getting a really good deal, but I don't give a crap b/c I wasn't expecting all of these issues.
  • October 16 2010 - Mid-City
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Answers (15)

Profile picture for Connie Klemme

re-reading this post today.  wondering what you ended up doing??  am hoping you just walked away or didn't settle for that amount.  fill us in if you get on zillow.

  • February 10 2011
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Profile picture for blank screen EXILED
A number of years ago, I made an offer on a house that was also supposed to be in "excellent" condition, and of course my agent didn't let me look under the house at the time.

Well, in the inspection I paid for, it was revealed that floor furnace had been replaced with a unit under the house, but they didn't pour a slab, they just placed it in the dirt, and they needed more height, so they just dug, undermining the posts, and they put in no retaining walls, and they didn't slope properly for the excavation.

So, I put a request for either a slab and concrete walls to be installed, or $10k reduction in price for me to fix it since that was my estimate for time and materials.

Needless to say, the seller took it off the market as they were not willing to put that much money into it, and they didn't want to take that much of a reduction (likely due to their loan balance).

It was actually better for me, as it only had a single car garage, and the garage was both two short and too low a door opening for my car.

And that was one of the items on my list for the agent to check before even showing me a property in the first place, so I never should have even placed an offer on that house!

$12k?  $15k?  If I was the seller, I would take it off the market if you insisted on $15k, and I would not budge at all to try to compromise; either you take it or leave it.  But at $12k?  I might consider trying to work with you if you had documentation of all the needed repair items.

HVAC duct cleaning?  They will always tell you it needs cleaning, and quote you a higher price than someone will do it for.  Mold?  Every property has some kind of mold in some quantity.  And a mold report is going to tell you to do something to spend money.  But it may not "need" as much remediation as needed, and some of the molds and spores are really not an issue.

Rotted floor under a toilet?   Of course that section needs to be replaced!  Missing post to support the house?  Of course that needs to be replaced, and placed on a proper pier with sufficient compaction of the soil underneath.  Wood touching the earth?  Of course that needs to be corrected by digging back the dirt, and possibly pouring concrete barriers, preferably with a moisture barrier to keep the water from the concrete from getting into the wood.  Damaged sill plates?  Of course they need to be replaced.

Settlement cracks?  That is normal.  You can fix some of them, but many of them will just come back no matter what you do.  The elastic crack patch helps some as it will flex and stretch without cracking to a large degree.  But if settlement is from a tree that died and was removed  and the roots are rotting, you likely need to fix the soil condition to prevent further sinking.

Anyway, the real question is whether you want to deal with the repairs and want to put up with the condition, or if you just want to walk away and find something else...  The $3k difference is not the real issue.  Besides, the seller will try to talk you down, so there may be even more than $3k difference.

And no matter how immaculate agents and sellers tell you something is, it usually isn't, even if it is "brand new".
  • February 09 2011
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Profile picture for SoCal Engr
Bottom line...because they are trying to salvage the sale. The owner has to have an idea of the issues, but there is going to be some level beyond which they will refuse to budge. Based on the discrepancies you identified, I wouldn't be too excited about moving forward.

In reality, the more important question is why did you let her get away with it? Of course the REAs are going to tell you that you're getting a wonderful deal. Yours already demonstrated whose interest they care about...their own. Neither of the REAs are going to have to live in that house, nor deal with the issues of fixing the house while trying to live in it (unless you're going to make all the repairs up front).
  • February 09 2011
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It is very dissappointing that you had to deal with those issues...and more dissappointing that someone was more concerned with their pocketbook than your welfare.

The ONLY reason to use a Realtor is that they should have enough experience (they made plenty mistakes already) and knowledge to get you a deal.  A deal defined as saving you money, time, and peace of mind every step of the way.
  • February 09 2011
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Profile picture for Connie Klemme
Of course there is no way for us to know your Realtor's motivation but the bottom line is that you will be the one living in the house, fixing the house, paying the repair bills and/or selling it someday (or staying in it forever).  The whole point of inspections is to find out what you are dealing with and make sure you know what you are getting into so that you can make an informed decision about the purchase.  Your Realtor doesn't want the deal to bust, none of us do, but even with giving her the benefit of doubt for her intentions...you aren't buying the house to help her out you are buying it to live in.  Make the decision that is the one you are willing to live with and she should see that and continue to help you (with this or some other house).   There isn't a reason to have inspections if you aren't going to act upon the results.  Good luck! (her job isn't to get you the best deal it is to get you a fair and honest deal)
  • December 02 2010
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If somewhere between a 'good deal' on the original offer, plus a $12,000 concession, YOU don't think it is still a 'good deal' you shouldn't sign the response. Sometimes it just comes down to the numbers - they either work or they don't. I'm guessing it may be too late for you now, but for other readers, I suggest you wait till your agent can rewrite the Response the way you want it. As for your agent being motivated by the difference in commission -- the $3000 difference amounts to an extra $90 to the agent's broker, whch is then split with the agent. Get real.
  • December 02 2010
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Profile picture for lpshore
perhaps bullied wasn't the appropriate verbage, but if that's all you have to offer, why bother contributing an answer...certaintly not helpful
  • October 16 2010
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Bullied? Really?
  • October 16 2010
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Profile picture for kittenonkeys
Your agent should not have completed the "Buyer's Response to Home Inspection" until you were consulted.  You were not obligated to ask for anything at that point and could have withdrawn from the contract.

I try to tell my buyers that we don't nickel & dime someone to death on repairs.  There is NO perfect house, even a new one.  The "minor" things that can be done yourself, we don't typically request, particularly if there are more expensive major items.  In this case, it sounds as though you have several major items. 

Now, that you've requested $12,000, you are correct that they have 72 hours to respond.  If they refuse to do even one of the items, you can legally withdraw and move on to something else. 

Yes, the sellers are now legally obligated to disclose what they now have knowledge of from your inspections. 

I'm with the other respondent, there's not much difference in commission, so I don't think that was the issue--more than likely the agent just wants to hold the deal together.  The agent is your fiduciary agent, however.  Your interests are primary!
  • October 16 2010
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I would guess it's likely she doesn't want the deal to fall through. Honestly, there is a lot of property out there - there is no reason to get yourself in a precarious position unless the sale price is well enough below market to eat the funds (and then some). It is your contract and your financial consequences, much more than the agent's. The property sounds like a construction nightmare. What if your friend can't do the repairs and you have to hire someone who is more expensive/charges market rate? What if there are more problems you find when you start popping open walls (which I would call very likely given the issues you have presented)? If you are using this as a rental property you may have all sorts of super not fun code violations and fines coming your way if repairs aren't done properly and in a timely matter.

Remember the agents telling you are getting a good deal are benefitting from the transaction. Have you looked around enough and studied the market to the point where you know you are getting a good deal?
  • October 16 2010
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Profile picture for lpshore
In Louisiana we ask for repairs or a lower price, but like I said earlier, the seller is out of town so I don't know how it easy it is for them to coordinate repairs, especially since we close in 10 days. The seller has 72 hours to respond to my request and then I have 72 hours to decide if I want to walk away, they can't force me to close. The $3,000 difference isn't going to turn this deal sour, but if they can't give me close to the $12,000 I'm going to have to walk away because it will end up being more than that anyway. Is it true that the seller would now have to disclose these deficiencies to another buyer, in the event I walk away?
  • October 16 2010
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in most states, you have to ask for REPAIRS, not for credits or a lower price. You can negotiate for credits or a lower price, but in AZ you file a buyer's inspection notice and seller response. If a buyer simply asked for a dollar amount or a credit, I could quite legally ignore them, and force them to either close with no repairs, or keep their earnest money for failing to close.

So, I hope your agent handled these formalities properly. Is the $3000 difference enough to turn a good deal into a bad one?
  • October 16 2010
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Profile picture for lpshore
I do have estimates on cost of repairs at $1000 from the plumber, which only covered the break in sewage line, the rest of the plumbing work will cost 4,000 to 8,000 according to the carpenter/handyman. The $15,000 was what he estimated for all the work to be done by him, which is a lot cheaper than I would pay to licensed contractors. My agent came up with the $12,000 based on her own experience.
  • October 16 2010
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First of all she works for you and not the seller.
Secondly, everything is negotiable in Real Estate.
Third, and most importantly is that wine and negotiations don't mix well.
  • October 16 2010
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Shouldn't her job be to get me the best deal, not to get her and the selling agent the highest commission?

The commission on $3,000 is probably less than $100. So it's doubtful she's worried about commission on $3,000.

Is she worried that the deal will fall through? Probably.

Did you have estimates done as to the cost of repairs? And where did the $12,000 number come from? Was this a number that the listing agent said the sellers would be willing to pay, or was this pulled from thin air?

If you don't feel you are getting a good deal (and if you are still within your contractual period to walk away) just walk away from the deal.
  • October 16 2010
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