I didn’t go into this home purchase with the wool pulled over my eyes, but I wasn’t a veteran either.
I really wish someone had told me these things before I bought a home and told me to be prepared for the worst in others:
ALL SELLERS ARE MOTIVATED TRUTH FUDGERS
See how I didn’t call them the L-word?
I don’t think sellers are liars per se, but they are certainly not as truthful or forthcoming as they would be if they were selling to a friend or a family member.
This is the truth, and you should always treat them as such.
Get everything in writing.
Dot your I’s.
Cross your T’s.
Don’t be afraid to call in a real estate lawyer.
NEGOTIATIONS WORK BETTER IF YOU AREN’T IN A RUSH
I already knew this but it was too late by the time we decided to move.
If you aren’t tied to a home, in a rush, trying to meet a deadline to move out, etc, then you are in a very good position financially.
If you truly want a home, and particularly THAT home, then you’re kind of screwed.
I really wish we had thought about looking for a place more seriously a year before we did, that way we would have really had time to negotiate them down hard, but because we had a deadline to move out of our place, we gave in a little.
GET TWO INSPECTIONS BEFORE YOU CLOSE
Inspect the place when you buy it with the inspector and make sure you make notes of all the things that have to be fixed at the point of sale.
When you do this, do the following:
- Take pictures of flaws
- Make detailed notes
- Have the realtor or whoever go through the inspection with you and sign that they acknowledge that they have seen what you have seen
Then before you close, ask to see it one last time to inspect it after they have moved everything out.
Had we done this, maybe we would have been less stressed.
I never would have closed, had I known they were going to leave a destructive wake in moving out their things.
We saw deep scratches in the floor from their insistent dragging of heavy furniture, holes (about 50) left in the walls, and goodness knows what else.
They sold the place, and you would think they would have taken care in not damaging what is no longer theirs, but alas, people are pigs.
SET ASIDE 2 WEEKS AND $5000 TO DO MINOR MAINTENANCE
I am not talking about fixing a water heater or whatever else, I am talking about it being in ANY CASE of purchase (almost new, old, etc), set aside 2 weeks to do work on the place to patch up holes, sand walls, and so on, before you move in.
There is alway something to do, even if it’s just cleaning and setting up your closets or racks before moving everything in.
BE PREPARED FOR A LEGAL BATTLE
They won’t want to pay up if you have already closed and have given them money, so my suggestion is to escalate the situation in this manner:
- Be polite & ask. A lot gets resolved with honey.
- Send a strongly worded email about who you think is responsible for paying.
- Send a second, final email saying you will have your lawyer contact them shortly if they don’t pay.
- Contact a real estate lawyer and get them to write a legal action letter. (Cost: $350 – $500; if it goes to court it is $1500 but the defendants (sellers) will pay the costs).
- Go to court & win
Most people resolve the situation at step #4, but be prepared to go to court.