Thursday, April 26, 2007

Here's an email that I just composed to our realtor. It kind of sums up where things are right now as far as the whole house-hunting project. A couple things: I was actually trying to write in W's voice, because she's been corresponding w/ the agent, and I'd kind of like to limit emails from me to the very businesslike -- like, I'd only write if I were saying, "you're fired," or "we're taking you to court," or "we have to figure out how to fix this or else you're fired." But the message here is, "I'm upset and I'm trying to figure out whether you can help me" -- appealing to their emotions and desire to help a struggling young couple. Oh, another thing: I haven't sent it, not sure whether I will.

~+++ ~

Hi P,

Thank you for your frank reply. I appreciate it. I'm just trying to work through my feelings about everything that's happened here. I'm confused and dumbfounded, really, by what went on with [the house we were buying]. Every detail of it seems odd to me. Here's the rundown from our perspective -- keep in mind, we've never bought a house before and are 100 miles away, so it's all very foreign to us:
  • the seller's agent makes an offer to the buyer's agent orally; she does this, I assume, knowing that someone else is coming to look at the house that night. Why wouldn't she just wait a couple hours to see what the other prospective buyer did? If she, the seller's agent, didn't know someone was coming to look, that seems awfully weird too, particularly given that the seller was supposedly out of town, so he couldn't have arranged for the person to see the place. Anyway, presumably somebody knew this guy was coming to see the house, but they made us an offer anyway. Were they planning on backing out of any agreement we made if the other guy made a better offer? Please tell me that's considered unethical.
  • the buyer's agent, knowing that this seller has in the past made offers orally and later gone back on what she said (i.e., "oh, our offer of $395K wasn't really an offer, that was just the agent talking"), doesn't try to get this offer in writing ASAP. Why not? I gather from your email that, had we worked out the details and faxed something over right away, the seller's agent would have had to get the seller's signature that night. Why weren't we encouraged to work it out right away?
  • even though the offer is not in writing, the buyer's agent congratulates the clients on finally having a deal, despite knowing from experience that this seller had no compunction about going back on oral agreements.
  • then, the guy who looked at the place apparently unbeknownst to the agent makes a full price plus offer with no inspection contingency -- this despite the fact that the place is a hundred years old with an open sewer line in the basement and two salvaged wood beams holding up the kitchen. Why would anyone do that?
It just feels to me like something's not right. I have no idea what it is, but it all seems so weird. But whatever -- that's in the past. I'm just trying to make you understand why the whole thing bothered me so much, besides the fact that we were left with nowhere to live.

I suppose I shouldn't have used the word "serious" to describe our offers in my email. I didn't use the word in the sense of being "able to compete and win," obviously, since they weren't. I just meant to highlight that they weren't frivolous. Two were over 95% of asking price -- after you told us personally that we could expect to pay about 90% of asking -- and yes, the third was a sort of a hardball approach, but remember, it actually resulted in a deal. A deal that the sellers backed out on, but a deal nonetheless. If their offer had been in writing, it would have resulted in a sale.

I appreciate that you felt bad for us, and I know you mean it. The main reason we wanted to work with you -- even after you begrudgingly admitted to us that you actively try to hide the fact that you're also a teacher from your clients, and even after we realized that you guys didn't tell us up front you were selling a house in the neighborhood where we were looking to buy -- was that I really feel like we understand each other and get along. So I know you mean it when you say you feel bad. I guess I was surprised that, after all that had happened, you guys just seemed to fade away, stopped sending listings, didn't really express any regrets about what happened or offer to help out with the aftermath. It seems weird to me that there haven't been any listings, given the time of year, but I'm glad to know that that's the market, not you guys. At this point, we've done a lot of hustling to get rentals but are still struggling; we might ask for your help if that's something you think you can help with. One of us will be in touch with you in the next few days about that if we do need help.

Anyway, thanks again for your reply. I do hope you guys are doing well.


So that's it. I really just post it because it sums up some facts about our house-hunting situation and gives a clue as to the feelings that have been swirling around lately. We're really having a hard time, honestly.

UPDATE: So, I showed that email to W and she was like, "well, this obviously isn't my voice." We decided to send it, but I sent it from myself, not her. Hm. I wonder if that was a dumb move. The thing is, though, we're pretty much beyond all the fucking role playing at this point. They know us pretty well by now. I'm not fooling them anymore. So I might as well just let it all hang the fuck out.

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