Thursday, September 29, 2011

House Selling Experience - Part 2

I am continuing my story.  Here is Part 1, just in case you missed it.  It started out well, but took a turn for the worst.

We had a showing of our house on the very first night that it was listed.  I was convinced that this was a good sign.  I had to call our Realtor two days later to find out how the showing went.  She was very vague and said that the people who saw it were just starting their search and were wanting older houses with more finished square footage and a flat backyard.  This made me wonder why they looked at ours at all, but I didn't linger on that thought long.  We had three more showings in that first month and one Open House where one person showed up.  She had promised to get it on a 'Realtor's tour' (where Realtors go around to houses to see them with other Realtors every Tuesday and Thursday); which she never did.  She had one more Open House where two women showed up and said that they were also looking at another area of the city too.  There were no more Open Houses after that, even though she kept going on and on about how she was going to do Open Houses all the time and that she just loved doing Open Houses.

Then July hit and it got HOT.  This was one of the hottest summers that I could ever remember (and yes, it was probably worse because I was in my second trimester).  I also knew that this would cause house seekers to do more of their house hunting online....which meant that our house wouldn't get that much exposure because our Realtor didn't understand Social Media marketing.  We had one showing that whole month.  It was frustrating.  I was in contact with our Realtor and I kept asking, "How are things going?  How is the house?  Is there anything that we need to do to get more showings?"  I kept getting the same answer every time that everything was just fine and that it was the slow market because of the heat.  My Mom and I came down to the house with the kids on July 18th.  When we came into the house, the kitchen sink and counters were dirty and there were paper towels left crumpled in the sink.  It was also in desperate need of vacuuming and the plants were in need of water.  We figured that it was just because there hadn't been a showing for a few weeks and overlooked the other little things.  Before we left, we cleaned the windows and the kitchen again.  We vacuumed and got everything back in order.  We couldn't mow, but I told my Realtor that so she could have it taken care of.

The weekend before school started in the first part of August, The RacDad and I went down to check everything out.  We had gotten calls from our neighbors that it was in need of some maintenance.  We were shocked at what we found when we got there.  There were weeds so thick that they were choking out the flowers in the front gardens.  Nothing had been watered during the insane dry and hot weather.  There were weeds growing up in the cracks of the driveway that were bigger than dinner plates.  Nothing had been mowed or trimmed.  This made me upset.  I was starting to question our Realtor's work ethic and her dedication to get this house sold.  I was also upset because we originally talked about only having it listed up to Aug. 1st and then we would try to rent it out, but she wrote the contract to go to October....too close to my due date for comfort.  At the time that we signed that contract, I trusted her and didn't say anything about it.  We spent the day getting the house put back together again and getting it back to show quality.

After a frustrating month of inconsiderate texts from her, lack of communication and no showings, I was finally at the end of my rope. I was so sick and tired of hearing about these other houses in the area (that have sold since) that are 'showing so well' with no feedback as to what we could do to be competitive.  I even suggested lowering our price and she said that it was fine at the beginning of the month and then 2 weeks later I get a text that said, "Consider a price reduction."  Like it was her idea.  Plus, you don't text someone with something like that.  If it deals with money, have a little consideration; pick up the phone and talk to the person!  (Those who know me, know that I don't text.  I refuse to text back, and she knew this.)  I was getting rubbed the wrong way all month; plus we had not had even one offer in three months since we hired her!  She was telling me about how she was finding people who were interested, but couldn't get financing.  Or she was bringing people over even though it was out of their budget or smaller than they wanted.  Why waste the time on people who will obviously not want it or could afford it?!

After a lot of talking, The RacDad and I had our lawyer draw up lease agreements for us and we started our search of finding a renter for our house.  We went down on our Anniversary (the last week of August) to get the storage unit organized so that we could move our furniture out of the house and get it emptied.  We called her a few days before to let her know that we were going to empty the house.  She said that she was going to have 2 showings just a couple days before we were going to be there.  We were excited because there was finally going to be some traffic.  We didn't hear anything back from the showings and couldn't get a hold of our Realtor the day that we were coming down.  We got into town that Saturday at 11:30 pm.  It was late and we were exhausted.  Here is the list of things that we came home to:
  • The informational flyers in front AND inside the house were still at the original listing price. We lowered the price a week before.  There had been plenty of time to get these updated, or at least removed until the updated info could be displayed.
  • There was a dead ivy plant hanging off of the wall. It looked like this plant has not been watered since I was last there 4 weeks ago.
  • The three violets are almost dead and the soil was so dry that you could lift them completely out of the pots.

  • There were dried grass clippings all over the floor of the living room and the stairs.

  • Spots on the couch upstairs that look like food was dropped on it.

  • There were dead bugs all over the carpets in the basement AND on the kitchen floor.  (They could have been easily picked up with a tissue instead of left for people to think that we had an infestation.)

  • The toilet seats were up.  (Which is a major pet peeve of mine and never happens in my house.)
  • The towels in the master bathroom had been used and not even put back nicely. Not only that, but there was proof that someone was doing their makeup in there and leaving the cellophane garbage on the vanity.  Plus, it was MY makeup that was used!  And the washcloths were missing....I still haven't found them.

  • There was a milkweed next to the air conditioner in the back yard that was at least 3 feet high and the bush in the backyard was completely overgrown with grass.

And that's just what we could see in the dark!  It ended up that the next day we found that our bush and all of our flowers had been killed.  Also, the downspouts had been left off of the house and there was a big hole....luckily no water in the basement!

We spent that evening writing up an email addressing all of the issues that we could see that night and we sent it off to her.  We requested that she get in contact with us the next day to address these issues.  We also explained about how we were still willing to work with her.  We told her that we weren't upset that she didn't do this stuff herself; we were upset that she didn't tell us that it needed to be taken care of.  I also couldn't believe that she would show the house twice that week with the house in that kind of condition!  No wonder we had no offers!

We had absolutely no contact from her that day.  The next day, we had to leave town by 11:30 am to make it to my ultrasound.  We got everything fixed up around the house again and the storage unit arranged.  We knew that we would have to go back the next weekend to move the big stuff out because we didn't have time to get it done with all the work we had to do around the house again.  I decided that since we couldn't get in contact with her and she wasn't contacting us, that I needed to get in touch with her manager.  I contacted him right at 8 am that morning....I wasn't going to waste time.  I told him the story and that I wanted to talk to her and get things made right again so that she could sell our house.  He said that he'd talk to her and have her come and meet us.  I also told him of our time constraints that day and he said that he would make sure she knew.  She called me at 10:20 am.  She said that she was on her way to a showing on the South side of town and would be available at the office around 11:30 am.  She then said that we should just sign cancellation papers and leave it at that and that she'd leave our key on the front porch.  Then she hung up.  I couldn't believe it!  She quit!  Plus, for one, we couldn't meet her at 11:30.  For two, she would NOT leave the key to my house sitting right by the front door!  I was livid!  I called her manager back.  He said that he was disappointed and that he'd draw up all of the paperwork and send it to us to sign and return back to him.  He also said that he'd get the key and mail it to us.  I voiced my concerns about the cost to replace all of the plants that she killed, but he never responded to that.

So, we were stuck with no Realtor and repairs to make because of her negligence.  We came down the next weekend and got all of the furniture out and everything ready for us to try to sell or rent it on our own.  We are quite jaded from this experience.  I hope that my experience can help you spot the warning signs so that no one else has a bad experience like we did.


**All opinions written are from my personal experience.  Everyone's experiences with house buying/selling is different.  Nothing written is intended to be professional advice.  If you have a question or concern about a Realtor, please contact your personal lawyer or Realty Board.  I cannot be held liable for another person's experiences.  I am also not liable for any thing resulting from this post to the Realtor or her company.**

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