When I left off, our initial offer on Condo #1 had been accepted by the seller. We then had 10 days in which to have the condo inspected and for both parties to agree upon any changes to the purchase and sale agreement as a result of the inspection. Personally, I wouldn't purchase property without having it inspected. I am not an electrician or a plumber. Not having an inspection could also negatively impact your ability to obtain insurance on the property.
The inspection took place on Day 5 and was attended by our realtor. We didn't think it made sense to fly down there for it. That evening, we received the inspection report and . . . there were two major issues along with several minor points.
- The electrical panel needed to be replaced. The current panel is not longer manufactured and replacement parts are not available. This brand has also been known to cause fires, electrocution and shock. (The inspector even added a note to look it up online.)
- The on/off water supplies to the condo leak and need to be repaired.
- Screens from the bedrooms and doors were missing. (Are they in storage?)
- There are no GFCI outlets in the kitchen or bathrooms.
- One of the toilets runs constantly and needs to be repaired.
- The kitchen lights flicker. Could possibly need just a new bulb, or could need repairing.
The first one was the most bothersome. Our agent had already told us that it's not uncommon to find outdated electrical panels that have to be replaced. So now we needed to decide how we wanted to proceed. We could either ask for the seller to make all of the above repairs, or we could ask for concessions, or a combo of both. While it's convenient to have the seller take care of all repairs, I always question the choices they'd make. For example, suppose the 40 year old leaky toilet is junk and the plumber says the whole thing needs to be replaced. Most likely, the seller is going to go for the least expensive toilet he can find.
On Day 6, our realtor consulted with the listing agent and ran through the list of issues. We had opted to start new negotiations by updating the purchase and sale to state that the seller would take care of the items from the inspection. What was communicated to us by our realtor was that the listing agent was also a property manager so he had a plumber and electrician who could make the repairs. There wasn't any indication that the seller wasn't going to sign the updated agreement, which was sent to the listing agent on Day 7.
Days 8 and 9 passed without a word. On Day 10, the listing agent came back to our realtor and told her that the seller wasn't going to make any repairs and wasn't willing to negotiate in order for us to make the repairs after purchase. And, apparently, he didn't know or care about the location of the screens. The timing confirmed for me that the listing agent was a player. This is the same guy who told our agent that he was another offer was coming in, which I thought was BS and now that all is said and done, it was BS. He was trying to rush and pressure us to offer more money, and now here he was rushing us again. We received this news on the afternoon of Day 10. Why the delay if the seller wasn't willing to do anything? This could have easily been communicated on Day 8.
We had offered slightly more than we'd initially planned to, and with a rough estimate of additional costs for repairs, we may have possibly ended up still in a reasonable financial position. However, this isn't our first rodeo and we are well aware that unseen problems pop up when repairs are being made. In addition, I had researched the electrical panel and one of things listed as a problem that can occur with a faulty panel is flickering lights. Yes, just like the flickering lights in the kitchen. It should be noted that the seller, from my research, has owned the property from before the online record of real estate transactions. The unit also was never a rental. I'm not sure that it saw much use. Because the seller had never been electrocuted, he thought the panel was fine.
The listing agent's parting words were the final nail in the coffin for me. "He doesn't need to sell."
And I don't need to buy. So we walked away, as we were allowed to do. Perhaps I should have been in a different form of business because I am not a pushover when it comes to deals. I threatened to walk from the purchase of our current house over $500 for a crack in the foundation. The owners were moving for work and technically the house was owned by a company at that point. I pushed for that $500, which was more a point that anything, and we got it.
It can be hard to think with your head and not your heart. When anyone looks at property, they see themselves there in the space. They start thinking of paint colors and furniture and mornings on the balcony overlooking the waterway. That's what the listing agent was banking on, that we would be thinking with our hearts and not our heads. Think again. This is an investment and while I did think of the above items, I was also thinking of my bank account and nightmarish electrical issues. When we made our offer, it was under the assumption that there were no major problems.
We're not completely back to square one because we put in an offer on Condo #2 last week.
Condo #1 went back on the market. I would love to ask the listing agent about the "other offer."