Not too long ago both of my wife’s parents passed and after about six months she took charge and decided to have their modest house fixed up and put on the market. A week later, sales agreements were signed with a 30-day closing date. Now the pressure was on to find a new place for her youngest brother who would need a new place to live.
My brother-in-law’s new place needed to be nearby, small, maintenance free, low cost and preferably not an apartment or condominium type complex.
As luck would have it, or at least that’s what it seemed like at the time, my wife noticed a “For Sale” sign in front of a very small property less than two miles from our house. Apparently it had been on the market for a few months. I drove by it almost every day but never noticed because I wasn’t in the market so I wasn’t looking.
The lot was just over 3000 sq. ft. and featured an 824 sq. ft. house with a stand-alone garage, both of which were built in 1910. The house was in severe disrepair and needed significant work on every component (frame, siding, windows, roof, etc.). Only the foundation was apparently in good shape, but nothing else, including the cesspool, which had to be replaced with a modern septic system.
Of course, being a builder/carpenter, I was undaunted by the condition. In fact, it’s this type of property that I look for as an investment knowing that I can improve it cheaper than most others by using sweat equity, calling in favors, and even trading labor with some of the sub-contractors.
So, as is my custom with properties like this, I had my broker submit a cash offer with no contingencies or inspections. There was a little back and forth with the offer amount but not much. The entire process was pretty simple. I ended up coming in at close to the asking price and it was accepted. But that is when things started to get interesting.
The usual dozen or so pages of the purchase and sale documents were emailed from their agent to my broker, who in turn sent them to me to sign and initial. I signed and initialed them then sent them back up the chain. The next day my broker received a correspondence from the other agent stating that one or two initials weren’t executed and since this was a time sensitive deal (which was news to me), I needed to resign all of the papers again, immediately. Of course, my broker reviewed the documents and quickly recognized the problem: the error was from the other agent’s scanning of the original emailed P&S. There had been a couple of initial boxes omitted when the scan cut through some of the margins.
But in the spirit of cooperation, my broker printed out the P&S pages again and we met face-to-face, to be certain everything was meticulously signed and initialed, and then he immediately sent them back to the other agent.
However, once again, the other agent stated that not all of the documents requested were submitted correctly. The owner’s agent warned us that if the documents were completed incorrectly a third time the sellers would move on to another buyer. And the agent said all the executed paperwork must be in their hands by the next business day.
Hmmm… In the past I have been on the losing side of a real estate bidding process because, as I found out later, the other agent had some skin in the game, or maybe a friend or business associate who wanted the property. I got that same feeling from the owner’s agent and decided it was time to bring in my attorney. Suddenly there were no more threatening correspondences or major issues. Less than three weeks later, I closed on the property and figured the remainder of the project could proceed without interruption or hassles.
Yeah, right. Watch the video and see what happens next!