Friday, April 6, 2007

Condo for Sale -- Sometime this Summer

In all the excitement, I forgot to keep you updated on the efforts to sell my condo.

OK.  Here's what happened.  There was a buyer interested in the condo.  (That's a good thing.)  She came back and saw it, like, three times.  Finally, she drafts up an offer.

The offer is low.  Very, very low.

See, I have in mind a selling price.  I know this is a good selling price, because the two other offers I had -- which fell through for unrelated reasons -- were both in the neighborhood of that price.

This offer was thirty thousand dollars less.

Much laughter on my part. 

Excepting ...

The offer had come in on a Saturday.  The day before, a repair dude had been out to the building, to estimate repairs to a few units, due to water damage.  We're still not entirely sure whether the problem is a leak on the roof or unsealed electrical outlets on the balconies.  Some of the damage in one of the units downstairs might have been caused by the unsealed outlet on my balcony, so they brought the repair dude up to my unit.  As long as he was there, they showed him a water stain on my ceiling (which I had previously reported, and been told to just paint over, on the theory that it was caused by really heavy rains and wouldn't recur).  Repair dude was "concerned" about the water stain on my ceiling.  Saw evidence of "ponding."  Followed the water stain and saw another one near the floor.  Concluded that I had water damage inside the walls.  Recommended removing several of my walls (and ceiling), drying 'em out, conducting water testing, testing for mold, remediating as necessary, and putting the whole thing back together again.  The process would take three weeks, once begun.  And it wouldn't be begun until the homeowners association confirmed that any problems with roof and/or unsealed outlets had been taken care of.

All of a sudden, my unit was one of the water damaged ones.

I made a counter-offer.  I disclosed everything -- although I was careful to point out that, while all of these repairs would be a pain in the butt to whoever was living here at the time, the actual expense would not fall on the unit-owner, as this was a homeowners association problem.  (And if, by some freak of nature, it wasn't an association problem, it was a problem caused by the unit above me, and they'd be responsible for the repairs.)

Still.  A pain in the butt is a pain in the butt.  Being the kind, generous, thoughtful individual that I am, I lowered my mental selling price $5,000 to compensate for the pain in the butt factor, and submitted that as a counter-offer.  A "don't counter a lower price at me" counter-offer.

They countered a lower price at me.  Ten thousand dollars lower.  In case you were keeping track, that's now $15,000 lower than what had been "my price."  Their theory (as explained by their agent when submitting the counter) was that they'd accept the pain in the butt, but wanted $10,000 for it.  (Yes, I thought, but you don't realize that I've already offered you $5,000 for it.)

I thought about accepting their counter.  I really, really did.  I actually considered it.  Because, yeah, I'd be happy to be out of here before they take out my walls.  And also because I had recently seen a house that I'd pretty much fallen in love with. 

I made phone calls.  I found out exactly how much it would cost to pay off my mortgage and exactly how much I would walk away with (after closing costs and commissions) if I took this offer.  I checked interest rates on new mortgages to see if I could afford the house I was in love with.  I consulted with the Bank Of Mom And Dad.

Long story less long:  I could do it.  I could accept this offer and (most likely) afford to buy the house.

And yet:  I couldn't do it.  These buyers were taking advantage of me -- trying to get my condo for a bargain basement price, based on the coincidental circumstance that I'd just found out about these necessary repairs.  I mean, I'd had two other people willing to buy the place for $15,000 more, so I know that I'm not being unreasonable on price here.  And I know these people were trying to screw me.

Much deliberating later, I make a counteroffer.  You will note that our prices were $10,000 apart.  I offer to split the difference.  There's a certain logic to this.  They'd said they'd wanted $10,000 to compensate for the pain in the butt factor -- I am actually offering them $10,000 less than "my price."  I expect them to accept this offer.

They do not accept it.  They accept my price, but only on condition that, prior to close of escrow (30 days from acceptance of the offer), I make sure all necessary repairs have been performed (by a licensed contractor, etc.)  My agent reads this to me over the phone and I tell her to stop reading before she's even finished.  Obviously, this is impossible.  Repairs are going to be done by the association, and only in sequence (i.e., after they've fixed the roof and the outlets).  I can't guarantee repairs will be completed by any time, and even I could, there's no way I'd accept $10,000 less under those circumstances.  I tell my agent to tell them the offer is rejected with no counter.  (I might have told her this in slightly more colorful terms.)

I also pulled the listing.  There's no point in trying to sell the unit now, given that I know these repairs have to be conducted.  Because, boy, won't the unit show nicely when there are no walls in the living room!

The silver lining to this particular cloud was that I was able to go back to living like a slob, which really helped during those last few days leading up to the Awards.  So much easier to do all this stuff with three notebooks, dozens of folders, and a coupla economy-sized boxes of envelopes strewn about my office, rather than tidily keeping all this stuff stacked in the closet and accessing it only on an as-needed basis.

The Association got a couple bids for the repairs, and at the last meeting (the day after the Awards -- when I was supposed to be packing for London), accepted one.  The balcony outlets will be fixed next week.  Still don't have a start date for the major repairs to the units, as we're waiting on the roof repair.

I anticipate re-listing around June.


lanurseprn said...

That's a lot of work. Good luck!

helmswondermom said...

Good decision.