Monday, December 15, 2014

We interrupt this blog....

OK - some of you have noticed that I'm now posting on this website regularly after a VERY long hiatus in 2013.  Even though the reason for this has nothing to do with the gluten-free world, I decided to share some info about an off topic subject (real estate) in case it helps someone else down the road.

We lived in Gwinnett County for over 18 years and for the most part, it was fine.  And then one day, it wasn't.  Without going into detail, let's just say the time came when we had to move so we did.  And moving out of Gwinnett was by far, the best decision we've made regarding real estate.

But this post is not about that area - it's about how real estate agents will take advantage of you if you let them.  We interviewed five agents in all (2 via phone only and 3 in person) before deciding to work with a neighbor who had less experience than anyone else we talked to.  And that turned out to be a VERY good decision as well.

One agent who was clearly very successful wanted us to sign a 6 month sales agreement and pay a fee if we broke it.... I didn't want buyers (strangers) invading my house for a month so anything over three months was totally out of the question.  NEXT!

Another agent walked into our house and asked if our on-site stained REAL hardwood floors (that people could not believe the gorgeous condition of) were real....AND low balled the proposed sales price by over $20K.  She'd listed our house as a 4BR (in a proposal) when I'd explained in writing, on the phone and via email that our house was a 5BR house and that's the way that Wieland built it.  Somewhere along the way someone mislabeled it as having 4BR years ago and well, you know what they say.  You can't kill bad info on the web.  NEXT!

Another agent (that I only spoke to on the phone) tried to convince me that the finishes in my house (from the hardwood color to counters to cabinets to tile) were all wrong and unfortunately, my house was not worth nearly what I thought it might be.  NEXT!

We ended up working with a neighbor, literally, who dabbled in real estate on the side.  That's right.  We chose that route over giving the other pushy, seemingly scare monger realtors a dime of commission.  Below is what happened next - I still at times have a hard time believing it all turned out this way.  But in fact, it did.

Home gets listed on the market late - around 2:30 pm instead of the 9 am scheduled time.  Someone doing the listing for the broker was sick...blah blah.  Before 3:30 pm, we had our first showing - for 6:30 that evening.  It was freezing cold and raining on a Friday night in February...we went out to dinner and returned home to find every single light in the house on.  The next morning, I had an email from our agent - an offer had come in at 9:00 pm the night before.  Let's see...that's less than 7 hours after the listing was posted.  Not all!

The offer was less than our asking price so we didn't reply.  We had 10 days to do so - so why rush?  Later that day, we got another showing set up for the following morning.  We went out to breakfast and after the second showing we never heard zip from that agent.  Then something remarkable happened.  The people that made the first offer must have been concerned that we were getting a better offer so they came back and upped their offer without us throwing out a counter to them.  Can you imagine???  It's was seriously crazy - but in a fabulous way!

So, we signed a sales agreement less than three days after the house hit the market.  The only problem was we had nothing to move into.  We ended up renting our house back from the buyer for just over three weeks (for less than our old mortgage).  By the time we had to move out, we still had not found a house we wanted to buy.  And so we moved into a rental home and continued our search.

In the end, we found a house that's just right for us (if a little larger then we need) in a much better area for gluten-free dining, shopping and living.  The reason I thought it was important to share our experience is simply because I think way too many people trust realtors when the truth is that MANY realtors will take advantage of sellers if given half a chance.

Please note I'm only speaking of realtors in our area as we've only bought and sold houses here.  Something similar to our recent transaction also happened on our first home sale years ago.  Don't let people convince you of something that is not true unless you don't mind losing a LOT of money in real estate deals.

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