Monday, November 19, 2012

Moving is not for sissies

My parents are moving. They are going into a retirement community and are downsizing. It's a time filled with emotions, for all of us. My mom is 76 and my dad is 80, so this move was inevitable, and might be a little overdue. Their current house is an early 1960's split level, in a nice neighborhood and very good school district. We moved here in 1976, so to say we needed to get rid of stuff is an understatement! We cleared out a lot (filled a dumpster) just to get it on the market. The realtor advised us on asking price, and we ended up asking a little more than he thought we should. It was on the market for 2 weeks and 2 days, and we got 3 offers! The one we "accepted" was for $10k OVER our asking price, but with my parents paying $10K towards the closing costs. So, we were feeling good about everything!

Then came the home inspection! It is very demoralizing to read the 32 page report. My parents have a lot of house pride. My mom loves to garden and keeps the house clean and neat. My dad has not been actively keeping up with the house in the past several years due to his physical condition, but has been paying for upkeep. We think the house is in good condition, and the report is nit picking every tiny defect, or possible defect. Example: a tree is too close to the house, and that could possibly cause damage - Isn't that what home insurance is for?
Maybe we're naive, but the list of items the sellers want inspected, repaired or replaced is, in my opinion, ridiculous. If they want a new home, they should look at new construction. But this older home is a bargain compared to new construction in this area (not many new homes in the school district). They even asked for150 gallons of heating oil, to make sure they don't run out?!?

My opinion is that the home is 50 years old, and will have some things that will need to be addressed, but that is to be expected in a 50 year old home. When I bought my home (14 yrs ago), we had a home inspection, but the purpose for it, in my mind, was to know what the potential pitfalls were with the home. We did not go back to the sellers and demand repairs, or money off. We bought the house as is, but with our eyes opened!

Our realtor seems to think it's a "given" that we fix what they asked for. I'm confused as to which side he's on. It doesn't feel like he's on our side. My parents need the money from the sale of the home to pay their way into the retirement community. They'll have to make up the balance out of their savings. The buyers have the rest of their lives to fix the place up.
I say -  the house is "as is", we disclosed everything we knew about, and did not hide anything. But, the realtor ominously warns we could "lose" this buyer, and we'll never get a bid that's better.

Has anyone out there bought or sold a house in the past couple years? Is it normal for someone to offer the asking price, then to come in with ridiculous requests? Maybe we should have taken the lower bid? Are we just being naive?

Sorry for the break in jewelry posts :-) I could use some advise on this issue though.


  1. I am not sure what happens overseas - but over here millions of houses are over 50 years old and they do have a survey report done on them. This is mainly for structural reasons - i.e. dry rot, wood worm, damp, leaks, that sort of thing - our houses are brick built in the main.

    If there is say a big tree to near the house which might cause damage to the house foundations, then it would be on the survey, but if it's a 'cosmetic' thing then there would be no major reason to remove it unless you felt the need for the sale.

    Any decorations, replacement kitchens, bathroom, cupboards, carpets, heating etc would be taken into account in the house price before it went up for sale.

    As for filling up the oil tank - well that is a downright liberty isn't it.

    Are there any other similar houses for sale in the ares? Do you have 'estate agents' or I think you might call them real estate agents where you can look at details of properties for sale and get a better idea of what is a fair price? I think that in these times when the property market is flat there will always be people who really take advantage of the fact to get the best deal they can at the expense of you person selling - with the hope that they are desperate to sell. The offer of a price so high about the asking price seemed a bit 'fishy' and a ploy by the sounds of it. I wish your parents good luck in their new home and hope that you do achieve a fair price. And if you have other offers - well 'call their bluff' of the one that are being so demanding - if there are no other offers then I guess you will have to negotiate - but you don't have to submit to every single demand - and if they want the house that much they'll accept that. They seem to be 'trying their luck'.

  2. When I bought my house, the home inspection showed some minor issues for repair, which I requested from the seller. The seller said no but I bought the house anyway. Frankly, the house should have been listed 'as is' so I would have known there would have been no discussion about repairs. However, I think sellers shy away from 'as is' because the perception might be that a lot of repairs are needed. But it really just means that the seller is not going to make any repairs that come up. So depending on how badly and quickly your parents want to sell, they might try saying no. Another option is to give a credit toward repairs depending on an approximation of expected costs. The third option is to see if one of the other offers wants the house.


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