This was an interesting one. I am a Board member on Pike Township Residents Association. (19 years) Other Board members sometimes give me referrals. This was one of those occasions. I was given the phone number of one of 4 siblings. Their mother owned the house. Because of health reasons, they had moved her out and were in the process of trying to sell her house.
First time I saw the house, all 4 siblings were there going through all their mother’s possessions. The eldest son had power of attorney and was the decision-maker/signer.
The house was in an older Pike community (1971) and had a few modifications. A dining room wall had been taken down to open up the kitchen/eating area and a half bath had been turned into a full bath. All in all this 3 bedroom, 2 bath was very saleable. The eldest son (from Texas) was thinking about making the family room/bonus room into a bedroom. MIBOR says in order to call it a bedroom; it has to have a closet. He thought this would improve the value of the house. Most houses in this community only had 2 or 3 bedrooms. There did not seem to be a premium for 4 bedrooms. I told him not to waste his time and money on building a closet. He agreed.
After 2 weeks of cleaning out the house, he called to me list the house. When I drove up to the house, I was amazed at the yard work that they had done. The curb appeal was fantastic. When I walked in, it seemed like a different house. They had moved everything out and cleaned the place thoroughly.
He signed all the documents; I put the lockbox on the front door and the For Sale sign in the front yard and headed back to my office. As I sat down at my desk, my phone rang. I answered and it was a buyer call about the house. Apparently they had seen my sign. I answered their questions and hung up. I entered the listing information into the Broker Listing Cooperative. Within the next 2 hours, there were 6 showing requests from other Realtors.
The following day we had an offer that was higher than the list price. The son accepted it.
Home inspections followed with long and extensive negotiations over repairs. It seemed that the siblings were not aware there were major repairs needed. After some discussions with the son, they decided to pay for them and move forward. The other choice was to not get things repaired, release the sale and wait for another offer. The challenge with that is that major items that are found during an inspection have to be disclosed. Disclosing the major items would limit buyers who would want the house and the buyers who would make an offer would low ball the price.
We were a week away from closing and there was not enough time to have the repairs done before closing. It was decided that if the estimates for the repairs were sent to the title company, they would pay the vendor out of the proceeds of the sale. Raw money passed at the closing table is against HUD rules. It is considered fraud. Having the vendor paid by the title company and putting it on the closing settlement statement is a normal practice. I sent the title company the estimates. They responded that the buyer’s lender would not accept estimates on the settlement statement. I called the vendor and asked if they could send me invoices for the repairs. They said they do not send invoices unless the repairs are paid for. I was in a catch 22 situation.
I had the son send a check to the vendor for the repairs and I got a “Paid In Full” estimate that the buyer’s agent and the buyer accepted. On to closing.
The son was in Texas and we had to do a remote closing for him. This has become very common and seems to be much easier than years ago. The only drawback is an added expense for the seller of about $150. For that price, an authorized notary comes to your home and has you sign all of your documents. They are emailed back to the title company. The notary also overnights the originals back to the title company.
The buyers closing went well. The buyer was very excited. Once she signed the last documents, she stood up and jumped up and down. She was extremely happy.
No two real estate sales are the same. Every transaction has its twists and turns. New agents are astounded by what we have to go through. To me, it is just another day at the office (or should I say in the field.)