We had no more completed the tour and I was preparing to go home when her phone rang. It was her Realtor. She attempted to inform him of my interest in the house and ask questions about the listing she had just signed with him.
This was a struggle and it was apparent that she was getting frustrated. I could only imagine what he felt like on the other end.
I offered to talk to him. She handed the phone to me.
I introduced myself and told him I was interested in buying the house “as is” and wanted to sit down with them both to work out the details of an offer.
I did inform him at that I was aware that his listing wasn’t binding until Monday. I made sure he understood that I wasn’t about to cut him out of the deal and his commissions. I told him I felt he had earned a commission but not the whole six percent.
When he became a bit testy, I told him that I understood. However, I reminded him that she was under no legal duty to do anything with him and his firm and that she could simply cancel the listing and his cut would be zero. I explained this wasn’t my intention and felt we could work out a reasonable deal that would work for all parties. After all, as I pointed out, he hadn’t spent a dime on this listing and had invested no time at all.
I also pointed out that the market for this house was not only very limited, considering its condition, but that she was under a tight time-line regarding the pending foreclosure. I also reminded him the city had started condemnation proceedings.
He sudden got quiet and asked me what my proposal was.
I told him I felt he should be paid a one time flat fee at closing of $3200.00. I explained to him I had talked to the home owner about the several thousand dollar saving she would realize by taking advantage of this. I again pointed out all he really had to do was write up the offer and do some minor paperwork. Then he would simply show up and collect a check for $3200.00 at closing for about two hours of work.
I thought this was a very fair offer. I wish I could make that kind of money in two hours.
He said he would talk to his client about this and would get back to me. He then hung up the phone.
I told her what he had said and reiterated to her that it was her money and she could do what she wanted and that it was a fair and just offer. I explained that there was a very good chance she may end up with nothing if the house hadn’t sold by the time the sheriff’s sale took place. She had no idea that this could happen. I then spent about 30 minutes with her going over all the possible scenarios.
This was one time I was grateful I had paid attention when I was going to college to become a Para-legal.
The irony of this whole thing was that this was what the real estate agent’s job was suppose to be.
I was doing his job and looking out for his commission and he wasn’t even here. I wasn’t getting paid for any of this. In fact if I got all the parties to agree to sell I would be paying top dollar for a house that was heading towards condemnation.
What was the matter with me? I shuttered to think about the possible answers.
I then left and she agreed to call him back right away and discuss in private my suggestion and pending offer.
I left her my number and also invited her to come across the street and we could visit in private with out all the interruptions. I told her I would answer honestly any questions she might have and help her understand what her options were regardless if she sold the house to me or not.
She seemed skeptical but somehow I felt she trusted me.
I then left.
Within a thirty minutes, she called me and came over. I had been working in my shop and just happened to be working on a hope chest. She stood near the door staring at the chest and admiring it. I could tell she liked the chest a lot. I told her that if we come to an agreement on the house, I would build her one and she could use it store her pictures, memorabilia, and the various items she had collected of her late murdered fiancée. At the moment, they were just sitting in a pile on the dining room table.
You could tell this touched her.
I invited her into our home and offered her some coffee and cake. She accepted.
We visited for a while and then she informed me that she said she had talked to her realtor. They both agreed that my offer was a fair one, and that he should come over and write up the deal.
As she went out the front door she said, “I sure would like one of those hope chests.”
I smiled and said, “I think that I can do something about that, let’s see how the I meeting and offer I would like to make goes this evening.”
Neither she nor I had any idea what was going to transpire later that evening.
He didn’t like me.
She didn’t like me.
I knew this.
Somehow, I had to convince them both to sell me that house for a lot less than the amount for which they had it listed.
They had decided that they would list the house for $157,500. This also included the vacant lot.
Even though housing had increased sharply in price during the previous few years, this was a steep asking price. The city had started the process of condemnation.
I had done my homework and even though she and the realtor had claimed the lots couldn’t be separated I knew that this wasn’t correct. With nothing on them, the lots were worth about sixty thousand dollars apiece.
But to me they were priceless.
After all I had gone thru and put up with over the previous two years; I was preparing myself for whatever it took to buy this house and vacant lot.
The realtor arrived and we exchanged pleasantries.
The atmosphere was tense.
I could tell he didn’t much care for me. I understood that he knew I had him over a barrel and he was going to loose a lot of commission money if he had been able to sell the house at full commission.
I pointed the obvious out to him; that the house wasn’t exactly in good condition. I also reminded him of the fact that the sheriff’s sale was fast approaching and that I could just wait until the end of the redemption period, step in and buy it. He wouldn’t get a dime.
He knew this and the risks associated with it.
I also knew the risks involved and knew that a negotiated settlement was in all of our interests.
I was also well aware that I was working with limited funds. I had a lot of my money tied up in our recent remodeling projects for which we had paid cash and invested over $18,000.00. I also had several side projects going which I was funding and that I wouldn’t get paid for my work until the work was done and the new home improvement loans closed. I had to keep enough cash to fund all the work I had going. I only worked part time as a bus driver, so my salary was not enough to cover all the expenses. Buying this house would also mean that we would have to carry two mortgage payments and this wasn’t something to which I was looking forward for any extended period of time.
To satisfy the city and make the house saleable, I was keenly aware of how much money it would take to bring this house up to just a basic living condition.
I was well aware of the long journey that was ahead of us.
Undaunted, I told the Realtor I wanted to offer ten thousand dollars less than they wanted which amounted to $147,500. I then presented him in written detail how I had arrived at that price.
Once again I was grateful I had paid attention to the class on real estate appraisal and investments in college.
He read my outline and the memo that I had put together which outlined how I arrived at my offer price.
He even agreed with my reasoning.
Now it was his job to convince her it was in her best interests to sell.
He seemed to have arrived at the same conclusion I had outlined in my analysis.
While he was walking out the door I said to him to tell her that I would give her that hope chest in my shop as a gift regardless of what the outcome of the offer was.
He was taken back by this offer and asked me if I meant it. I told him that if I hadn’t meant it, I wouldn’t have offered it.
He then went across the street to bring my written offer to her.
A short time later he called me and told me he had an answer and wanted to come back over.
She had accepted the offer but he had some concerns.
His major concern was my financial status. He was concerned that I might not be able to obtain financing for the mortgage because of the amount of debt I would be carrying. He knew of the two mortgages and that I only worked part-time. He was also concerned about the financial burden of my sideline business. He feared that while the mortgage approval process was occurring, time was running out on the foreclosure and subsequent sheriff’s auction. She had no alternative but to bring her current past-due mortgage up to date.
I took a huge leap of faith at this point. I offered to give him $10,000.00 non-refundable earnest money if I was unable to obtain financing for a new mortgage.
I gave him a check for $500.00 and told him I needed to have 24 hours to transfer and arrange for the other $9500.00.
He understood, took my check and the signed purchase agreement.
He stopped at the door shook my hand and said it’s a pleasure doing business with someone who has integrity and knowledge.
I thanked him.
Now the real work began. I was only short $9500.00 and had a little over 23 hours to raise the money.
At the time, I had no clue how I was going to come up with it.
copy right all rights reserved D.Jerzak 04-08-07