My Real Estate Horror Story

House_for_sale : dollar in shape house isolated on white background

I bought a house, then I didn't buy a house.  It all went by that fast.  Having been a Realtor for 6 years I never imagined what my buyers' went through when buying a home.

The waiting, the excitement, the loan approval, the inspection -tons of paper work-  documentation, social security numbers; you name it - everything is required except your pantie size.

Not to mention school.  That's right, homeowners class.

 You see, I was approved for state funding for my down payment, so I went to a TERRIFIC class on the do's and don'ts of home buying.  I would advise EVERY buyer to take this class.  It is offered in every locality by the City in which you reside.  It is a wonderful resource at least, and at best; it provides for a down payment assistance that can be inexpensively paid back and is folded into your mortgage payment.

I have gone through this before - over 5 years ago.  I don't remember it being as stressful.  Oh, I have had multiple homes before which I shared with husbands.  However, I have never bought just for me and Pepe, my Great Pyrenees; and Coco, my Goffen Cockatoo.

After the running, the excitement, the shelling out of money for the inspection and appraisal, and earnest money - the transaction fell.

Not because I didn't qualify, not because I didn't want the house, but because the repairs agreed upon were not done to my satisfaction.

The seller did agree to correct the issues, but after I had already documented what I wanted repaired  and I found these during the walk-through- I was less than willing to be let down a second time.

I had to ask myself the hard question.  Can I afford to take on the financial responsibility of this house? Can I play roulette risking that the structure was sound? Can I afford to make these costly repairs if not?

Interestingly, there is no remedy for this in the real estate contract. It would require mediation, and of course, the seller gave me the opportunity to let him repair the items for the second time (which he didn't do correctly the first time).

Moreover, with just 5 days before closing, and having given my notice to vacate my apartment (which was already RENTED by the way), it took more than logic to terminate the transaction.

Shame on me.  And this happened twice. How could I make this mistake twice?  Me, the real estate professional.  I had always been so protective of my clients; how could I let myself down?

 There is so much to share I don't know where to begin.  I'll try to get this right for you:

1).  NEVER EVER fall in love with the exterior cosmetics of a house until you know what is behind the smoke screen. Having done this twice, shame on me.

2)  When you find your dream home, don't put anything on paper UNTIL your own  professional checks it out.  I don't mean inspector.  My inspector, as most will do;  pointed out the most critical things on the report.  My personal representative (a construction worker friend of the family) pointed out a ceiling so full of insulation that it buckled when he put his hand on it.

 I should have known.

3) Measure your bedroom IMMEDIATELY.  I was so ga ga  about this little doll house I didn't bother to  measure the rooms to see if my bedroom furniture would fit.   I found out after I went into contract  I would  have to break up my furniture set because it would not fit in any of the bedrooms.  Take that tape measure the first time you step into a home!

4) Talk to neighbors, get the skinny on the neighborhood and the history of the house...this was pointed out over and over again when I researched my transaction and at homeowners class as well.

The GOOD News?  by the grace of God I was able to get my complex  to get the new tenant to transfer to another apartment (which magically became available the day the transaction fell!).

My furniture all fits in my bedroom, and I won't have to give up my heavy duty washer and dryer that would not fit into the bungalow I was going to purchase. And, I won't have to wait to buy a dishwasher and air conditioner because I already have one in my humble abode.

The BAD News?  I had to tell  Pepe' that he was not getting his yard....not quite yet anyway.


  1. I am hoping that Pépé was good with that.
    Dogs are good about things like that.

    Good article.

    We bought a refrigerator recently, and I was totally swept away by the blue lighting, and the LED lighting inside the fridge. I hope I didn't allow a superficial cosmetic factor to sway me too badly. It was rated #2, but not #1.

  2. Excellent advice. Having someone watch out for your interests in such deals is so very important. Three days before closing on our current home, the boiler (yes, a freakin' boiler) was red tagged and the seller didn't want to pay the $8,000+ to replace it. But he was required to or the loan wouldn't go through, the sale wouldn't happen, which would then screw us as our current house was scheduled to close the same day. Very stressful time. That seller did it, though very reluctantly. Thank God the thing didn't poop out a week later than it did or we would have been in quite a jam (and pretty darn cold as it was November).

    Waving hello from the south of you. I'm in Colorado Springs. :-D

  3. Hello Lisa, Wow, how frightening is that? You were so fortunate that this happened when it did. I swear these transactions take YEARS off your life.

  4. Susan, I forgot to mention, that just when this was going down, so was Pepe'. He has some kind of spinal issue with his hind legs. Poor guy. Maybe he wouldn't have enjoyed that yard as much as I thought. Things happen for strange reasons. The fridge sounds great! I like the high tech washing machines...LOL

  5. This is indeed so stressful. Went through it once (much younger and in a good economy) with a husband, and years later on my own (into a tiny house with my kids). Not fun! None of it!

    It sounds like you (and Pepe) have weathered well.