For this home I sold in San Jose for $1,380,000, I was the agent for the buyers, who were referred to me by another couple who bought a home with me as well. When these buyers were looking for a home, the market was hot and there were lots of multiple offers and buyers paying WAY over the list price, so the competition was fierce.
I have mentioned this a number of times in previous stories when the same situation has come up, and here is another situation in which sometimes an overpriced home is easier to negotiate and get a decent price than a home priced aggressively, and then attracting a lot of buyers to compete.
This home sat on the market a very long time, to the point that the perception of buyers was “What is wrong with this place???” And, as I have said before, list price is wrong with this place! There was really no reason for this home not to sell except the list price. This home was on the market for 226 days, which is unheard of, like insane! It was initially priced for $1,688,000, which was WAY over the market value. And, the home sat on the market for some time, and then the seller reduced the price to $1,588,000, which was still WAY over market value. It continued to sit. The seller then reduced the price to $1,458,000, which was still over market value, but now we are getting somewhere. And, with that price reduction, the home did generate some activity, in fact, that is the price in which we made an offer and also another buyer came along and also wrote an offer. We negotiated back and forth and then were able to settle on $1,390,000 as the final price, still much lower than the final list price. The seller was living in Mexico, paperwork and communication were very trying and slow. Apparently, the seller used no technology whatsoever, no scanning, no emailing, just old school snail mail is what I was told.
The other whacky thing about the seller side, is that the seller did NOT get ANY inspections, so that is a major turn off to a buyer, in that basically the buyer has no info to go on to make an educated decision of what the price should be for the home. So, we knew the roof was shot, but that’s about it. We had no idea about the condition of the home itself for any termite related items or just the general home inspection info. I relayed to the listing agent that it’s just unheard of these days for the seller to get no inspections and for buyers to have no idea what they are signing up for. And, she basically just explained that the seller didn’t want to pay for inspections, so…
Since the seller didn’t provide inspections, the buyers had to get their own, which used to be the norm like 20+ years ago. The inspections revealed quite a bit of items that were surprises to us, which is never fun, and the reason that I HIGHLY advise ALL sellers to get inspections to provide to buyers for a smooth transaction. So, back to the negotiation table. We asked for $10,000 off the price to offset the items that came up that were unexpected, I went back and forth until I was blue in the face with the listing agent and FINALLY convinced her and the seller to agree to the $10,000 price reduction…remember, this is a seller that thought her home was worth $1,688,000 and we are now down to $1,380,000! It was so hard to get it through the seller’s head that by not providing inspections to the buyers BEFORE they made an offer, and then having all of these items come up once they had their own inspections, that they didn’t sign up for that price with so much additional work needed that they were unaware of unfront.
After we went back and forth with the price reduction, we needed the addendum signed, and because the seller didn’t use technology, the listing agent said she would sign once she got back to the states to sign her final papers, but just know that we are good. Ummmmm, that’s not a warm and fuzzy since the seller wasn’t going to be in the states for about a week, so basicaly we would be in limbo from a paperwork standpoint and I guess just hope for the best???
Well, we just went ahead with moving forward, we didn’t feel we had much of a choice, and figured that she would not come all the way to the states to sign her final papers and let this deal fall through over $10,000. She probably needed to get this home sold and would not want to start over.
And, here is the clincher that will go down in the history books and something the buyers and myself will be able to talk about for many years to come…literally on the closing day for this home, the Shelter in Place orders went into effect! Totally unexpected, just out of nowhere, it was the beginning of COVID 19 getting super serious, and wa la, I get an email in the morning that we can not record the transaction because they shut down the County Recorders Office…and at that moment in time…they had an ‘undetermined’ time when they would reopen. WHAT????? We had NO idea in that moment, when the county could open in order to record this sale. At that moment, we didn’t know if it would be days, weeks, or even months. It was insane. I was just speechless, absolutely no words. No one knew anything. PRAISE God, within 24 hours, the County Recorder’s Office was able to do e-recordings, so we closed the transaction the next day. But, in that moment, we had no idea the office would open back up so quickly in order to record the sale. Mind you, we had a seller expecting to close and get her proceeds and not have any more responsibity for her mortgage, property taxes, utilities, etc. We had buyers that expected to close on the home they just bought, and make arrangements for repairs and upgrades, moving in, etc. It was so surreal, I felt like I was in a made for TV movie. I couldn’t even grasp that this was really happening.
Once the Shelter in Place orders went into effect, I was not even able to meet up with them and give them the keys to their new home once we closed the transaction, I had to mail the keys to them! Crazy! I’ve been through some crazy transactions, but this is just the craziest experience ever, to have a transaction start out when the market is hot, things are just rolling along, life is good, and then BAM out of nowhere, at the drop of a dime, life drastically changes at the moment in time that these buyers were closing on a home. Who would have thought???
As a follow up, then with the Shelter in Place, they were stuck with not being able to get their repairs and upgrades right away, so that was also a major bummer. But, finally, once things opened up a bit with the loosening of essential workers, they were able to get things done and have finally moved into their new home. Yay! It was a roller coaster ride, but in the end, it all worked out. Frustrating, insane, so many adjectives I could use, but it worked out and their home looks beautiful and they can enjoy it for many years to come…
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