I wouldn't bet the farm on the refi. appraisal. The appraiser may have little to no knowledge of your market especially with the way appraisers are selected these days.Overpricing is very dangerous and has great ramifications than underpricing. Consider getting the opinions of a couple other Realtors. Some agents give sellers an inflated value of their home to get the listing knowing that down the road you will need to reduce. I'm not saying this agent is doing that but just FYI.
Yes, it's possible to not do an "expensive" realtor listing but you do get what you pay for. If the listing agent doesn't answer his/her phone, relies on you to do showings which can be inconvenient and weird for buyers, doesn't review contracts and then you mess up the sale by not having terms in your best interest, what good is it too save a few percent.Don't get me wrong, you can pull it off but it's a careful balance and can be very costly to you if not done correctly.
I'd try and salvage it as well. Have you got any bids on getting it in working order? If it's not that much you can tell prospective buyers that as bad as it looks your bid of only X gets it up and running.
Unless the purchase agreement specifically states that you are permitted to keep the earnest money (which is easier said than done) and cancel the contract you need to speak to a real estate attorney to pursue those actions.When were you going to close on the sale? It's not unheard of that some ill-informed buyers and sellers agree to let buyers start work before the close of escrow. I understand that you did not agree it and there's multiple violations here but at the end of the day would it be easier to close the deal and not deal with the mess of litigation, charges, etc?
It might not be the answer you are looking for, but it depends on several factors such as the age and efficiency of the appliances, insulation, lighting, etc. Home leakage can play a major role as well. The cost of utilities in your area plays a major role as you may have a choice in a deregulated area or are perhaps stuck with whoever you get otherwise.Currently I live in an all electric house and am fine with it. We just upgraded our water heater to a heat pump/electric unit and it uses a fraction of the electricity. Electricity is a poor fuel to use to heat water and quite costly. Our heat pump for HVAC is old but is quite efficient still so the cost to replace vs. electricity savings would make it not worth it.I think all electric homes got a bad reputation when everyone thought natural gas would become very cheap along with solar as well. Well, that hasn't really happened in most parts and our neighbors who have electricity and propane joke that their propane tank is half empty by the time the refill truck leaves the neighborhood. Take a close look at the major systems (water heater, HVAC, insulation, along with age of the home, etc.) that will impact your power bill and go from there.
This is not tax advice but that being said:1. I don't see why she can't sell it to you for whatever she wants if it's free and clear of any liens.2. This is tough to answer without knowing the type of sale or gift and what her cost basis for the property is.3. Some buyers down the road may say " well you only paid $160,000 for the property so my offer is fair." What you pay for a property has no relevance to what it's value will be in the future. In some areas there are ways for the sale to be recorded where the sales price is not shown. You may want to consider such option but if your property tax amount is based upon purchase price it is possible to deduct what you paid for the home via your tax amount.
It would be unusual for one agent to have different pictures than another agent when they share the same MLS feed. One circumstance I can think of is one of the agent's has a Zillow feed and the other does not. Zillow seems to keep all the pictures posted on a listing even if the listing agent removes some or all at a later time. This typically happens when an agent uploads a ton to a new listing only to later notice that a large amount are unflattering or redundant and then the listing agent deletes some.Most listing agreements state that pictures of the seller's property will be public information. In addition, some agents will take additional pictures of a property when previewing for a buyer if the listing only provides a front shot. The listing agent shouldn't be offended if another agent posts additional pictures. To answer your original question, limited pictures usually mean the house needs work. I don't find it unethical or a lack of transparency to only show the positives of a property as the listing agent has a job to get the most for the property and showing the negatives of a property usually defeats such purpose.
Fortunately for you there is not a benchmark used universally for qualifying tenants. In addition, a great deal of rentals are done by the owners and I'm shocked at the caliber of tenants some owners accept. Like in your post, emphasize your positive attributes. As a landlord I don't want to deal with missed rent and damage to my properties. I do run my tenants through a criminal background check but it's not the norm from what I see. By no means never lie about your past, but a nice long letter explaining how you will care for the property, how much you LOVE the property, your tenant history, lack of evictions, should go a long way. Perhaps offer a larger deposit or last month's rent if the landlord takes issue with the criminal history.
I think is common courtesy to send at least a thank you but also common sense to build referral business.