Home Selling Fun Fact #8: Do I Fix It?

Welcome to the third installment in a ten part series discussing some of the nuances of home selling. Today let’s discuss buyer demands.

Tip #8: After the inspection the buyer usually come up with a list of things they’d like addressed before they will sign the P&S. These requests can run the spectrum from tightening a bolt or touching up some scuffed paint, all the way up to installing a new roof or replacing a furnace. Instead of trying to do any of the repairs yourself, offer the prospective buyers money off of their initial asking price compensatory to the cost of the repair.

Unless you’ve lived through this you might not really appreciate this advice yet. In fact, our realtor gave us pretty much the same tip right before our first buyer fell through and being cavalier new sellers we didn’t listen. I urge you: Don’t make our mistake!

So what happened?

Well, the buyer, a first timer prodded along by one of the most self-righteous and bitter agents I’d ever had the misfortune of shaking hands with, made a few (what we shall call) reasonable demands (but only because I don’t feel like being uncharitable will really get me anywhere) after his inspection. These demands were only reasonable if: 1) We could make most of the repairs ourselves and; 2) we could find an inexpensive contractor to handle the one that we couldn’t do. On top of that he “requested” that we go through the nightmare of getting the house hooked up to natural gas. Why we capitulated on that last one on top of everything else I have no idea. But we were trying to treat this guy fairly – even though he was clearly taking advantage of our good nature and stressing us out.

Things spiraled out of control and smash landed into crazy town shortly there after. First and foremost he squawked that we’d done some of the repairs ourselves, even though how the repairs got done had never been stipulated. Then, once that was settled, he threw a fit because the contractor we used didn’t meet his or his psycho agents idea of who we should have used. The final nail in the coffin was his realtor sending a nasty gram to mine basically telling her off.

And the lesson in all of this? I guess the first one that comes to mind is know when to dump your buyer and move on. The second, and far more applicable moral is that all of this could have been easily avoided at the beginning of negotiations if we’d just offered him a few thousand off of the price of the home and said no to the gas line demands. If he’d said no at that point then we would have gotten back on the market much sooner, but if he’d said yes, the transaction may not have gone on without a hitch, but at least we here at the Stronghold would have had a less stressful June.

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