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What would YOU do?

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If you read my blog on a regular basis, or follow me on Facebook, you know that my family is trying to sell our condo and buy a house upstate. We out grew our condo many years ago and we really need to move on with our lives and have a fresh start upstate. Four people living in a one bedroom condo just doesn’t cut it anymore. It was fine and dandy when our kids were little. Now that they are teenagers they desperately need their own space. Not only that, our dog and our cats need a yard to run around in.

We have the real estate agent “from hell”. From the moment the ink dried on the contract we signed with him it’s been downhill. It all started with him YELLING at me on the phone because we were at a family gathering and unable to get home by a specific time for a showing. We have a dog that we can’t crate so we can’t keep a lock box on our place. We need to be home to get our dog. I understand that we need to be available all the time but it was a family gathering and there was no need to YELL at me for it. Since that day I never spoke with him again. My husband takes care of all the communication.

Our agent had us list our place for $159,900. That was HIS idea based on what other condos in our complex were going for. He also told us that we need to sell it for AT LEASE $10,000 more than we owe to cover his commission and other fees. That means the lowest we could go, without profiting a dime, would be around $143,000.

Our agent suggested we drop our price to $155,000 shortly after we listed. We agreed. Two months later my husband told him to drop it to $149,900 because he thought it sounded better then $155,000.

In 7 months we’ve had 5 showings. Our agent has yet to show anyone our place. Only agents from other agencies bring people over (we’re listed on multiple listing service – MLS).

The time time someone was suppose to come over to see our place was the straw the brake the camel’s back. Our agent called and told us that someone who has seen our place before wanted to come and see it again. Hearing that made us excited. It was great to hear that someone wanted to come back for a second look.

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We cleaned our place and made sure to leave with the dog about 15 minutes before they were scheduled to show up. We sat in our car in the parking lot to see who was coming to see our place and so that we knew when they left so we could go back inside.

We saw the agent and her client show up. We did recognize the guy. We watched them walk in the building but only to go into the condo that is for sale below us. After about 10 minutes they came out, got in their own cars, and left. They never went to see our place. We come to find out that the person coming to look at the place DIDN’T want to see our place again. He wanted to see the place below us but when he arrived he told the agent he already looked and didn’t like the location. I guess he humored her and went to look at it anyway.

WHY did he tell us this person requested to see our place again when he NEVER did?

To say we were livid is an understatement. My husband got on the phone with him and tried to find out why he would tell us misinformation. Instead of answering the question he told my husband that he didn’t appreciate him taking his frustrations our on him. Really? He’s the one who got us frustrated. UGH!

About a week later the agent e-mailed my husband and suggested we drop the price by $1,000 every two weeks. ????!!!! Is he kidding me? Not only is that a lot, we don’t think it would look good if our listing drops by $1,000 every two weeks.

Last weekend my husband told him to drop it to $148,000, but he has yet to do it (even though he said he would do it right away).

This afternoon my husband posed a question to me, and neither of us are able to answer it. As we see it we have two choices.

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1. Drop the price to $143,000 (the lowest we can go) and sell it with $0 profits.

2. Take the place off the market and make due in our tiny condo.

What is hurting us is a lot of foreclosures and short sales in our condo complex. The people across the hall from us sold in 4 months at $139,000 (they bought the place 3 years ago for $203,000!). The one across the street (with a lot of water damage) sold for $125,000. The one downstairs from us is also listed at $125,000 (the man hasn’t lived there in about 5 years and didn’t have a mortgage on it). The place diagonal to us sold for $139,000 too.

As we see it the only way to compete is to drop it to $143,000. At least that is close to what the others sold for. They also had no updates. We spent a small fortune on new sliding glass doors, new windows and other upgrades.

If we drop to the bare minimum and have $0 profit that means we have to borrow $$$ from my father for the down payment, inspection, moving costs and miscellaneous other things. I don’t want to move into a house already in debt to him for $25,000. It’s taking us about 3+ years to pay off $5,000 that we borrowed – and we still owe a few thousand. It will take the rest of our lives to pay of $25,000. That is why I wanted a little bit of a profit on the sale of this place. At least enough to cover movie expenses and closing costs.

Our condo is painfully small for the four of us. My husband and I have to sleep on a sofa bed in the living room and my kids have to share the bedroom. We only have one bathroom which makes mornings a nightmare as you can imagine.

Do you think we should take a chance, sell our place for $143,000 and just owe my father for the rest of our lives – or – take our place off the market and deal with our current living situation (not to mention our school taxes are astronomical and our condo fees/HOA fees keep rising)?

We don’t know what to do. We want a house so badly. I was even watching QVC the other night when they aired some beautiful flowers and I was picturing them in a garden behind my own house. I literally dream of a house all the time. I want one so bad.

If you were in our shoes, what you would do?

Thanks for letting me ramble (and for reading this far).

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Kimberly

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About Kimberly

Kimberly Vetrano resides in the suburbs of New York City with her family, five cats, dog, a tank full of fish and snails. She is also a freelance writer and photographer.

Comments

  1. what about just dropping the agent from hell and looking for someone else to list with? it sounds like he’s dropping the ball…badly. another agent might be just what you need!

  2. Wow, your agent, What a jerkward! Could you ret out your condo, and use the proceeds from that to help fund buying a house? My one concern with staying is that that extends your move, and as your kids get older you might not want them to change schools.

  3. First thing I would do is think about getting a new agent. Your agent is supposed to work for you. Regardless of what the other condos are selling for he should be talking yours up and trying to get a good price. If you borrow the money from your father , will it make things tough for him? If it won’t then I would do it.

  4. I agree with Tammy, you really need to get a new agent and then reassess your options. I would make it work for a little longer in the condo and wait for the market to get better. Good luck, it’s a tough decision to make.

  5. Do whatever it takes to move forward. Rent the condo, change up the agent, take the parent loan. We are already indebted to our parents for life any way, aren’t we? Focus on the peace that will descend on your family in your new space. How great will that feel? Then follow whatever path you can find to get you there.

  6. Elizabeth D. says:

    I agree with all the others you need a new agent. Spring market is picking up. Not sure I would drop the price again until you talk with another couple agents. Rates are low and hopefully a buyer will come along. Good luck!

  7. Do you have a contract with this guy? If so, read it carefully to see how he’s broken the contract. From the sound of it, surely you can find something that will help you get out of it. Is he an independent realtor or does he work for someone? If he has a boss, talk with that person about your frustrations. Even if you chalk it up to a personality conflict instead of assigning blame to the guy, get someone else. Hell, even if you loved the guy, if it’s been months without anything positive, it would be worth a change.

    Another idea – take it off the market for a couple of months. It’s winter now, people have just gotten through the holidays. When springtime truly hits, it’s warming up, lovely out, they may be in more of a buying mood.

    Have you any way to promote this sale within your complex? Maybe someone who lives there knows someone who’d like to move in? Are there any universities or large businesses nearby that might have a bulletin board for housing? If your agent isn’t working for you, maybe you can find some cheap and simple ways to get the condo in front of people looking for a place to live.

    That one incident involving a family event is not enough reason to yell at you or to stop working to sell your condo. Besides, most people don’t look for one day and buy. The buyer should have understood and been willing to schedule for a different day.

  8. I agree you should try to get a new agent. But I also think you should forgo buying for now and rent until you can buy. You may have to drop the price of your condo a bit, but I wouldn’t as far down as the 143,000.

  9. Contact the agency he’s associated with. My hubs has been working for a real estate company for over 10 years (in the IT department), and most agents, although they’re not EMPLOYED by a specific real estate agency/company, they’re probably associated with a larger brand (like Remax or something else). See if he is and contact them.

    If not, break the contract, and find someone else. Sure, they do a lot of legwork to get your house listed, it’s just a day in the life. He’s just the listing agent, though. When your agent lists your house, any licensed agent is able to come and show your house, so the part about other agents showing, and not him, is pretty normal. He doesn’t exactly have to be the selling agent. And honestly, you don’t want him receiving the FULL commission. The listing agent will get a % and the selling agent will get a %.

    I would call another agent, let them know you house is already listed, and in the system, but you do not think that he’s a good fit for you because of the way he speaks to you and overlooks your house. She what they have to say about it.

    hugs, and good luck

  10. I would get a new agent he just sounds awful, considering the way he’s treated the two of you why would anyone make a purchase through him, I know I wouldn’t.

  11. In the end even if you end up breaking even just think about it as if you lived rent free for all these years. It stinks but you can’t change the housing climate so why stress about it.

  12. First, I would contact this agent’s supervisor and outline your complaints. His behavior is unacceptable and should be reported to his superiors. This is important in case he tries any funny stuff or tries to intimidate you when you tell him that he’s fired and you’re finding a new agent. Bringing in a supervisor and some transparency will help you get out of that contract easier.

    Next, it’s time to find a new agent. Don’t pick the someone from the same agency. Give yourself a fresh start and pick another agency entirely. But don’t pick someone else quickly or out of desperation. Take your time and interview a few agents before making a final decision. It’s important to find someone who understands your needs and works well with you. I had to meet with several agents before I found the right one, and it was well worth the wait.

    Finally, real estate agents in general can be pushy. I’m sorry if this next part sounds patronizing, but you need to have a strong backbone when dealing with them. They are not your friends. They are not looking out for your best interests. Don’t feel bad when you tell them “no.” Don’t let them rush you into any decisions that make you feel uncomfortable. Don’t let them brush off your concerns. And for the love of God, don’t feel bad about firing a bad agent. If my agent yelled at me for any reason, I would have fired her immediately. You are their CUSTOMER. They are depending on YOU for money. Don’t forget that power balance when they try to intimidate you. You don’t need to be the “client from hell”, but you do need to BE FIRM.

  13. I agree that you need a different realtor. Good luck.

  14. Catherine Shaw says:

    I tend to agree that you should consider giving that agent the boot. Maybe look into a “for sale by owner” strategy? You can list the place for free on Craigslist and I do believe anyone can list a property with Streeteasy. (Do google Streeteasy; it’s a comprehenseive list of properties for sale.) We sold and bought a co-op two years ago; it was one of the most stressful times of our lives. Take care!

  15. Tammy S says:

    I was just wondering if you guys had made a decision on what you were going to do about your condo situation. Good luck with whatever it is you decide.

  16. Maria Iemma says:

    I understand your problem…I tried to sell my house to move to a condo (reversed from you!) and my agent gave me a runaround and I ended up not selling and waiting for a better time. Good luck

  17. I would first try to get a new agent, but between your 2 options in this circumstance I would still move. You may owe your father, but I think the lifestyle change would do wonders for your family. It sounds like you are ready for a move!!!

  18. I’m sorry, that sounds so tough! But, I agree with the above poster and moving would ideally be the better choice. And definitely ditch the agent, that kind of thing should cost him his job! Is there any way you can report this incident to the agency?

  19. I agree with everyone else, get a new agent from a different agency (perhaps after doing some investigation into finding the agency with the best success rate in your area). Don’t lower your price until getting feedback from multiple sources (look at other house listings and see what the rate is for similar living spaces). If your situation is really desperate, maybe there can be a temporary living situation until the market gets better? Maybe there’s other options (apartments, studios) with enough space than what you have right now so that at least your family doesn’t have to live so uncomfortably. Good luck!