Friday, August 20, 2010

Relo Nightmare Part 1

I hit my break point on Friday night.

I was off from work, so you'd think I would have had a nice relaxing day. Instead I spent most of the day on the phone with various people, including my insurance company who had promised to send out a guy to fix a broken window. I don't need to go into to many details here, because we all know what happens when a contractor is supposed to come to the house. No-Show-City. He didn't show in the morning, I called, they said a different guy could come out at 6:30 pm. 6:30 p.m. On a Friday. But, you know what, I really wanted to check it off the list, so I said ok. So I waited and waited and waited around my house all day, and at 7pm the insurance guy called to verify with me that they contractor had showed up. Yeah, not so much. No contractor. No window fix. No progress. But lots of frigging aggravation. (insert beginnings of migraine here).

So, I ruined my Friday night with Prof for no reason. But we tried to salvage it. He had picked up some good bread for dinner, I had garden tomatoes, basil and mozzarella cheese... So I packed up a bag and headed to his house for the night.

When I got there, the house smelled delicious. He had roasted some garlic to put on our tomato, mozzarella basil yummy bread sandwiches and oh. my. god. was I ready to devour them.
We got our plates together and got ready to sink our teeth into that summer deliciousness.

Then the phone rang.

And it was our realtor.

At this point, it was 9pm. There was nothing good coming from that phone call. And our sandwiches were just sitting there, teasing us as we digested the blow.

I've been remiss in updating our progress in the house buying process so here it is: We agreed to an acceptable price last week and Prof and I spent another 2 hours on Wednesday filling out another contract, with a very well thought out "buyer's addendum" so that we could make sure the seller's agent understood our conditions.

I don't know whether they understood them or not, but clearly, they didn't accept them.

Our realtor emailed us a bunch of things they wanted us to initial. "Oh, its no big deal, just a couple things we forgot to include..."

No big deal, my ass.

They ignored all of our very reasonable conditions, and had removed all of our edits to their contract. Which pissed me the hell off. But worse yet, they sent us a new disclosure statement. A disclosure statement that we had never before seen.

First of all, what the fuck?! This was the second contract we had put in for the house, and they were just getting around to showing us this newer, updated disclosure form? That in and of itself was reason enough to walk away. They were trying to pull something over on us, but they don't know who they are dealing with.

Second of all, what the fuck?! The disclosure pointed out that the deck (the deck that was a large reason Prof and I liked the house so much) was built without a permit. To most people, this isn't a big deal. To me, its huge. Decks not built to code are a huge liability. It also appears that some structural work in the basement was also done without permits.

You tell us this now? Two contracts in? After I've sacrificed days of vacation time to fill out contracts, sweat bullets over verbal offers, taken three migraine pills, driven friends past the house to show them where I'll be living at Thanksgiving and decided where all my furniture would go?

Prof and I were both stunned. First, we were stunned that they had withheld this information from us. Second, we were stunned that our agent hadn't communicated their changes to us. Third, we were stunned that someone would be making it so difficult for us to buy their property. You do want to sell it, right? I mean, did you not read the Huffington Post today? The headline at 7am was "Americans Rethink Homeownership." And here you have two people, who really love the house you are trying to sell and would really like to buy it from you, and you... Well, you are just not being very helpful. Actually, you are being a pretty big fing hindrance.

Maybe the permit thing can be taken care of, maybe not, but fact is, these people have been withholding important information from us for weeks, and waited until after we had negotiated a price and put in another contract to reveal that information.

So, here's where we are:

There's a house that we really like. It has a deck that isn't up to code and doesn't have a permit. It has a drainage problem in the basement that may or may not have been fixed by some work that was also done without a building permit.

The house is being sold to us by a relocation company, which means we are buying it "as-is" and have no recourse if there is a serious issue with the house. They adamantly insist that their chosen lawyer does the necessary legal work (sound fishy anyone?). They also adamantly insist that the inspection be done within days of a contract being signed (which of course, further weakens our ability to find any major structural flaws or other issues with the house).

We don't agree with their conditions, because its advantage big bad corporation. Prof and Susan get screwed if we agree to any of that. And we just simply can't take a risk like that.

By the time we got off the phone with the realtor, read the changes from the relocation company and calmed down, dinner was ruined. I mean, the sandwich was delicious and the roasted garlic made it one of the best things I have eaten this summer. But we couldn't enjoy it. Not really. Because there was a bitter taste in my mouth.

The gentle, bitter taste of getting slowly screwed by a big-ass corporation.


kristen said...

that deck thing - wish i'd heard about it earlier today - the same thing just happened to Nancy... i would have told you to talk to her... they ended up with their house, so it all got worked out... but i think she had about 500 addendums and such as well...

Just Sayin... said...

Get a new realtor.
Start fresh.

ISA Brokers said...

Nope nope too many red flags for me. I would consider this the Universe's way of telling you this is not the right house. When things are meant to be, they just fall into place, like they did with Prof.

Katy said...

I say ditch your realtor. Sounds like if SHE was worth her salt she'd have caught a bunch of this. Lots of realtors are looking for work. I LOVED mine. Be happy to send her your way and/or ask her for a recommendation. Doesn't mean you don't get the house; just means you get a better negotiator. But ISA Brokers has a point.....

Unknown said...

Get a new realtor paired with a good lawyer who are on your side.

Or live in the condos across the street from me. Fun and easy and over once sacred ground.

Anonymous said...

5 days in not unusual for a home inspection. Also, a relocation wanting to use their lawyer is more about corporation-think -- not to slip something by you, but because there are many, many crappy real estate lawyers out there and they'd rather not waste their time (and yours) dealing with them.

I bought our house through a relocation company and they were pretty easy to work with. But because they're a company and not an individual, they're a LOT less flexible when it comes to changes in the legalese. That's just the way it is with this sort of deal.

As for the unpermitted stuff, welcome to America. I'd hazard to guess a majority of folks don't get a permit for work like a deck or refinishing a basement. It stinks. But it's a lot more common than you think (probably due to the fact that it's a fairly modern requirement, something that's only been required in the past century here in the U.S.).

A good housing inspector will find the REAL problems. Use your own (not one they recommend). They should spend the better part of 4 or 5 hours looking over the house, from top to bottom. If they find nothing of concern, you're good to go. If they do find something, then put the brakes on the deal and look elsewhere.