Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Don't Deal With Shady Agents

Due to my extensive commute to work everyday and the lack of outside space at my current living location I had been browsing around the San Fernando Valley for a house since May. Being a native East Coaster I cannot bring myself to love the geography of the Canejo Valley, there is something I find discomforting about too much dirt, thus I concentrated on looking for places in the SFV. I also kind of hyperventilate at the thought of getting too far away from the heart of a cultural center. I know I have issues, but I remember how miserable I was at school in the middle of nowhere Ohio and the thought of that again scares me! This is why I looked around for so long to find any house, for a reasonable price, that inspired me to desire to move away from the comfort of a Pacific Ocean view. Back in August I FINALLY found a nice 3 bedroom, 3 bathroom house I could envision living with in West Van Nuys.

Now what attracted me to this house in West Van Nuys was pretty much the fact that it contained a 6 car garage/workshop complete with a 4 post lift. The house was also the Mid-Century Modern style I so greatly desired. I thought I was going to puke if I saw another Mediterranean/Spanish Villa wanna be McMansion. After my agent spoke with the seller’s agent I learned that the owner had just received an offer on the house for the full asking price of too much money! However the agent told mine that I should still submit an offer. I decided to put in a more reasonable offer on the place for $50k less than the asking price. Of course right as my offer was being submitted the existing offer for the full asking price fell through. My agent was told that the other offer fell through because the people had to sell off assets to achieve the funds. I thought that was reasonable at the time as the market was slow and I proved I could provide a short sale with guaranteed funds.

The next part is where the seller’s agent started really showing their shady side. Remember that all of this is taking place in a rather diluted market. Plus at the time of the offers the interest rates were climbing and mortgage companies were going down the tubes. After over a week of time of my offer being on the table (the house owners were apparently in Europe and were too busy to deal with the thought of selling their house) the seller’s agent finally came back with a counter offer. My agent was told that I should just go up in price closer to the seller’s asking price because obviously I had the funds (as indicated by the account put forth with my original offer). That was pretty audacious of the other agent. The market in no way indicated the house was worth more than I offered and just because there are available funds did not mean it was worth it to pay more. I responded to the counter offer with another counter back at the price I originally stated.

The counter offer response went unheeded for a couple weeks until shortly after the date the house owner’s supposedly returned from Europe. The seller’s agent called my agent to inform her that if I resubmitted an offer it was 90% certain the owners would take it because when the owner’s returned to the country they realized how much worse the market had become. Meanwhile I knew it was only a short time before interest rates fell again so I pushed off making another offer for a few days because I wanted to ensure I would catch the rates at the right point. When my friend Marissa passed away and I left town for her funeral I pushed the time period back a few days more.

It just so happened that while I was in Ohio mourning with old college friends the seller’s agent called my agent at 8am on a Sunday morning to inform her that there had been an offer on the house for more than my offer and I should submit a backup offer. My agent and I really smelled something fishy. This made us greatly despise dealing with this agent. After that stunt I told my agent forget it. I decided that the SFV was really not where I wanted to live and I wanted to explore other options for myself.

A couple weeks after everything died down I decided to check on the house listing and see if it was sill available. Sure enough not only was it still on the market but they had just dropped down the asking price to precisely the amount I had put in my original offer. Thanks to the shady actions of the agent and possibly the sellers they still have not sold their house and they will probably end up selling it for considerably less than the offer they turned their backs on.

Here is a link to the website of the agent that, “makes me want to punch babies,” as so eloquently put by comedian Dane Cook:


Sean Morris said...

And people hate used car dealers....

Mike said...

Meanwhile I knew it was only a short time before interest rates fell again so I pushed off making another offer for a few days because I wanted to ensure I would catch the rates at the right point