The housing market is crazy!! There’s limited availability and what is available is way too over priced. After exploring Columbus, we knew we wanted to stay in the King Lincoln Bronzeville/Old Towne East area. After looking at a few houses we found our dream home on Eastwood Ave….1366 Eastwood Ave to be exact (https://www.redfin.com/OH/Columbus/1366-Eastwood-Ave-43203/home/79580873). Go ahead take a look…..I know it’s gorgeous. So we put in an offer and after writing a letter, our offer was accepted. So I know what you are thinking…well what happened. Well as gorgeous as this house is, it had challenges. There was a leaning chimney and a chimney well on its way to leaning that was upward $22,000 to repair. The HVAC was not up to code and was a fire hazard, leaking toxic chemicals into the home. There was no system to prevent water from coming into the basement. So us being the people we are, we wanted to get official quotes on everything before we responded to them. Well let’s just say the Sellers were offended by that and decided we were not serious. But instead of communicating that to us, they had an adult temper tantrum and decided to terminate our contract. We tried everything we could to repair the relationship. We accepted their offer, agreed to move up our closing date, and made our earnest money deposit non-refundable but we were too late and they decided to accept another offer.
To say we were devastated would be an understatement. We loved that home and was looking forward to building memories there, but obviously God had other plans. So the question remains, “Who is to blame” and to be honest all of us played a role. And by WE, I mean Matt and I, our realtor, their realtor, and the Sellers. But this is what I learned:
Only Communicate Through Contracts
Looking back one of our biggest mistakes, was that our realtor would send them a quote or message every time we found a new problem in the home. And to be honest the Chimney quote was the straw that broke the Camel’s back. I think it would have been better if we had waited to gather all of the quotes and asked them for remedies in an official contract. The issue with text messages is that you can’t discern tone and that can lead to miscommunication. Official documents lay it all out without any human emotions attached. I think the constant messaging was perceived as complaining and the Sellers were overwhelmed by this and felt we wanted them to fix every single thing which wasn’t true. All in all I feel that if they truly felt that way they should have just said it instead of writing us off.
Make Sure Your Realtor Is Direct and Upfront
One thing I loved about my realtor in Washington DC (aka Sarah Brown) was that she never bit her tongue. If she thought you were making a mistake she would say it. If she thought it was a good deal she would say it. And I appreciated that. Our realtor in Columbus was amazing but not direct. He was always afraid to sway our decision and at times I feel he held back his true feelings. After it was all said and done he said to me ” we wouldn’t be here if we had accepted their offer” and my immediate thought was why didn’t you directly say that to us a few weeks ago. If he had been direct about his feelings it would have helped us make a more informed decision instead he let us be the drivers and in this market we needed to be the passengers. If he had said, “Aeriel if you don’t accept this offer, you’re going to lose out on this house”, we would have made a different decision. Now I am not saying us losing this house is his fault but just like us he also played a role.
Stay Focused On The Big Picture
If you do not take one thing from this conversation take this…. do not focus on the small things (though the 22K chimney was not a small thing, lol) focus on why you love and want the house. Things like bad paint can be repaired. Ask yourself, “If I lose this house would I be ok” and if the answer is no…..GET THE HOUSE!!! However do this within reason. If the house has major problems, don’t do it!!
At the end of they day, we have no regrets. We truly feel that we did our due diligence and if this offended the Sellers then that’s on them. It’s horrible that they would choose to sell a home with safety and health hazards but unfortunately in this market this type of behavior is common. I would recommend that every buyer do what they’re comfortable with and not to let anyone bully them into doing the opposite!
From Aeriel, With Love