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Thread: Failed real estate transactions - tell your stories

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    Default Failed real estate transactions - tell your stories

    So I was set to close on a condo today and start moving in. That is not happening and for a few days I was really upset. I may have actually dodged a bullet but that doesn't ease the sourness of it going south in a hurry.

    The first warning sign came about two months ago when the property appraised lower than the agreed price. We all thought the appraisal was missing a few things and for sure didn't include some features which were of value to me personally, like a second parking spot and storage room in the building. We are cyclists after all.....

    So the seller came down in price a bit and I agreed to fund the difference with my own cash. I was at peace with that.

    Deal is back on and we reset the closing date to August 1. Getting closer and I'm not hearing much from the mortgage loan specialist at the bank. I try to reach him and he's often not available but finally we connect and I get information. I relay my concerns about his poor communication to my agent who says yeah, it's weak, but she knows him so no problems. Nothing to worry about. About two weeks ago after much pestering I get an estimate of "Cash to Close" but it's not very exact. Higher than I expected but not out of sight high.

    A week ago Thursday I get a call from him in a panic (after seeing some kind of concerned email from my agent about me needing to hear from the banker - I was working and only sporadically in touch that day) and he let's me know that the application for the mortgage has been denied. "WTF", I ask. He gives me a rundown of things with the condo and that the underwriter (Fannie or Freddie - don't know much about that) denied the application due to some metric on unit ownership percentage in the association being exceeded. They approve practically everything it seems so not we have the second major negative of this deal. I'm not at peace anymore. Not even close.

    But this isn't a problem I'm assured because there are alternate forms of financing available....... Huh? I have perfect credit and a large down payment and no contingencies. I'm a good client. The problem was on his end. My agent is now scrambling for ideas, some of which sound only slightly better than a payday loan outfit and one of which was, literally, "I know a guy who writes personal loans". This was when I knew they were grasping at anything.

    I had a furious, but not shouting match, conversation with her about trust and accountability and that this whole thing started to smell rotten. She assured me it wasn't but it definitely stunk at this point. The fact that there were some questions about ownership in the unit was not an insurmountable obstacle but something I was totally unprepared for as it's not my area of knowledge. It's theirs and they should have been able to figure this out long before a week prior to closing.

    The "alternative" financing was going to be at a higher rate and that was something I was unwilling to accept because this situation was not of my making. So I pulled out of the deal and will get my earnest money back.

    It was infuriating because I had set up utilities, started my association dues, changed my address, paid for some furnishings from the owner and previous occupant, rented a truck, arranged assistance with moving, etc. Then to be blindsided with this failure on the part of the loan specialist was too much.

    I'm already moving forward and have a new agent and some new options and have a place to stay so I'm not desperate but it's time to get a new place to live soon too.

    Not to bore anyone to tears but I'm curious about other stories of deals gone bad folks have to tell. This one thankfully only cost me time and a few hundred dollars. Far better to have no deal than a bad deal but it's a bummer to lose out on something that looked like a great long-term home.

    What else have you folks experienced?
    La Cheeserie!

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    Default Re: Failed real estate transactions - tell your stories

    Ummm Try buying the house across the street for your parents from two raving alcoholics. Luckily, buying a house and doing all the paperwork myself is not rocket science. Everytime they objected to some minor "thing" I'd write their inconsequential (annoying) demand on the contract margins and initial it. The contract had changes on every page amounting to...wait for it....nada.

    It was a exercise in patience.

    Oh wait, to make you feel better, when Mrs. Too sold her house to move in with me (gasp) she was a little underwater. Do you know how hard it is to sell a house and write a check for $10,000 for the privileged?

    Hope you get exactly what you want Yimbo, you deserve only the best.

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    Default Re: Failed real estate transactions - tell your stories

    Feel assured that you are 100% on the better end of the buy/sell circus. It's far better to be able to walk away from a deal and wash your hand of it than be on the other side and still be holding the property you really need to move.

    i totally understand the frustration though, and even more so since this is going to be your primary residence. I'm still a little baffled by the whole story also, i would not think that incompetence on the part of the loan officer could sink your whole deal, that's amazing and disappointing!

    i dont even want to talk about it, because i probably have some hidden PTSD concerning real estate deals gone bad. yes, i have rehearsed bold, red faced screaming speeches to realtors while pacing around my living room only to let cooler heads ultimately prevail. you're not alone. this stuff can be maddening and sickening.

    hang in there saab, it'll work out for the best in the end.

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    Default Re: Failed real estate transactions - tell your stories

    Glad you got your earnest money back. NC has been so hot we've had as much as $5K on the line in those conversations. It's an awful feeling to be had by the Chris King Precision Components ball bearings.

    We have been really blessed in the real estate department in the big picture, but two things come to mind:

    1)losing our financing when we were under contract because my wife's a teacher, changed to a better job, but didn't have a start date til the following August. It was a hall of mirrors as to why our timing was what it was, but they couldn't fathom working with us. I didn't register in the credit world in those days, seriously FICA hadn't heard of me, so I was no help. I woulda made a pretty decent doomsday prepper.

    2)negotiating work done/not done during the due diligence period, I feel like we have always got into red-faced situations like Angry Scientist's, except one time an ace realtor managed to negotiate an "as-is" offer for us. One situation people yanking our chains and shaking us out of $10K when we were selling. another situation with our huge earnest money check on the line in a hot market, the heirs of deceased owners of this house fixing to reap nothing but $300K pure profit, unwilling to give us anything at all despite a bunch of major problems uncovered in the inspection. Hard people as far as I was concerned. The son was at the closing (I was nice, but he was a d*ck, in my wife's opinion, and if she thinks it, it's true); the joker had the nerve to cry about his boyhood home after all of that, too. Boo hoo.

    It's hard. I feel lucky to have a place though. Good luck, hope you get somewhere good, soon.

    JZ
    Last edited by zambenini; 08-01-2019 at 08:31 PM.
     

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    Default Re: Failed real estate transactions - tell your stories

    Quote Originally Posted by Too Tall View Post
    Oh wait, to make you feel better, when Mrs. Too sold her house to move in with me (gasp) she was a little underwater. Do you know how hard it is to sell a house and write a check for $10,000 for the privileged?
    When I sold my last house I was so underwater that I was thrilled to only have to write a $10,000 check when I finally sold it!

    Saab, I've had a few deals fall through, but mostly at the appraisal stage, so no major issue other than time lost. All of them fell apart because the appraisals came in significantly lower than the offer price, typically due to misrepresented square footage. One fell apart because about 250 of the square feet were added without a permit and the city was either going to require us to knock it down and rebuild it or have a bunch of issues with taxes. And we almost lost the deal on our current house because the inspection revealed that they lied about a bunch of stuff on the disclosure form, the biggest issue being the 45 year old roof being claimed as only 9 years old. Try getting insurance in Miami with a 45 year old roof. In the end we had leverage because they lied and our real estate attorney is top notch, so we got a credit back for something like 85% of a replacement roof. The sellers were so pissed that they tried to steal some appliances when they moved out. Badass real estate attorney stepped up to the plate again and everything miraculously showed up at our house a couple days after closing (and before we moved in). Unfortunately the A/C died on moving day, right in the brutal summer of mid-July, and I'm still convinced it was sabotage. I should mention that I hate home ownership and, if it wasn't for my wife, I'd happily rent a condo.
     

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    Default Re: Failed real estate transactions - tell your stories

    Wow, Matt, I will never complain again.
     

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    Default Re: Failed real estate transactions - tell your stories

    Oh man...so glad you walked away.

    Our transaction was this past year, and it actually worked out, but it was the wackiest bullshit transaction I could ever imagine. Included in the deal were:
    1) a seller who refused to use a buyer's or seller's agent. His estranged daughter is a big wig attorney at Zillow...so he didn't need an agent
    2) sketchiness on his end even when we had a two week to close cash offer at asking price buyer for our place. I literally had to bring our agreement to him and be a hard ass about how I couldn't sell my place without a contracted place to land for my kids and pets and myself.
    3) he was a hoarder and couldn't manage to pack anything...so we packed every-single-thing and carted it out to his new $1.3 million dollar place
    4) We had to move into the basement for 1.5 months after closing as he lived on the ground and upper floor. He was alone and we are a family of 5 with a dog and two cats
    5) He was a hoarder (did I say that), and because he couldn't clean the place, the inspection ripped him a new one. We asked for some fixes and he responded with a, "I don't even need to sell the fucking place". He ended up fixing the roof.

    I hate that guy, and I love him. If he was normal, he would have paid $20,000 to stage the place and get landscaping done with an agent netting him another $100k. Instead, we've got the place of our dreams at trailhead for a world class trail system and an opportunity to put sweat equity into the place.
    Jason Babcock

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    Default Re: Failed real estate transactions - tell your stories

    Saab - Sounds like you were getting set up to spend a bunch of cash that would get split between all concerned. I’d report the realtor to the state.
     

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    Default Re: Failed real estate transactions - tell your stories

    Quote Originally Posted by AngryScientist View Post
    I'm still a little baffled by the whole story also, i would not think that incompetence on the part of the loan officer could sink your whole deal, that's amazing and disappointing!
    I foolishly went with her advice on the lender and I won't be doing that again.

    Maybe I'm being generous or naive but I don't think there was actual malice involved here. I think it was more incompetence and complacency. In this particular area condos of the kind I'm looking for are actually pretty rare. But I like condos and I'm single and travel a lot, so there is a lot to be said for the lifestyle in a condo. Security of the building, zero attention to maintenance or lawn (even though that part I sort of like) or snow removal/management, etc. Anyway, this condo was available in a place along a very scenic river with bicycle riding literally out the door. The unit itself is really, really nice. Perfect in fact, for me.

    I'm sure the lender and agent and attorney (Illinois requires lawyers to be involved in these transactions, or so I was told) all know each other and have worked together before. But I also think they aren't very familiar with condo transactions. Nor am I though I have some knowledge of toxic associations because my brother and sister successively owned a condo in Minneapolis in the 1990s and early 2000s. Lifestyle was unbeatable but the politics of the association were awful apparently. Both of my siblings got involved specifically to keep one resident off the association board. Both my siblings led the association for years, not for their own gain because both are very selfless people, but for the betterment of the whole community. I digress.

    The banker, for lack of a better term, had to get a "Condo Questionnaire" out to the association. This lays out all the finances and ownership facts. The building is newish, having been built in 2008 or thereabouts and the developer planned to sell the units but then the crash of 2008 came in the real estate business. Many units went unsold and remain unsold today. They are rented and supposedly the owner is still attempting to get higher ownership in the building but still owns like 36% of the units. This was a red flag to the financial powers that be. He apparently got the results of this questionnaire late in the process and blamed them but his office is a mile from the association so my opinion was that he needs to get in his car and go down and not leave until he gets an answer.

    As mentioned, there are workarounds for this. I was not unwilling to consider alternatives to a traditional 15 or 30-year fixed rate mortgage, but only on my terms, in order to make this happen.They normally have the best interest rates. But a week before close is too late to have this bomb dropped on me and they all acted like it was on me to scramble for financing when they failed to do their homework in advance. I lost all trust in the agent and banker and even the lawyer after a conversation with her and began to wonder if the whole deal was a sham.

    Anyway, that's the long version. I've got another property in another location lined up and may put in an offer tomorrow. Literally the only negative is a compromise in the proximity to cycling, but even that can be worked around with diligent planning. I hope to have a better transaction this time and now know to ask better questions. And I'm going back to the credit union that has done two mortgages for me in the past. Going with folks I trust this time instead of a mirage in the desert.
    La Cheeserie!

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    Default Re: Failed real estate transactions - tell your stories

    If you have any questions or something doesn’t smell right with regard to the condo association, it’s best to walk away. You’re getting married to the association as well as the unit, and the association is more often than not the money pit.
     

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    Default Re: Failed real estate transactions - tell your stories

    Quote Originally Posted by Saab2000 View Post
    I foolishly went with her advice on the lender and I won't be doing that again.

    Maybe I'm being generous or naive but I don't think there was actual malice involved here. I think it was more incompetence and complacency. In this particular area condos of the kind I'm looking for are actually pretty rare. But I like condos and I'm single and travel a lot, so there is a lot to be said for the lifestyle in a condo. Security of the building, zero attention to maintenance or lawn (even though that part I sort of like) or snow removal/management, etc. Anyway, this condo was available in a place along a very scenic river with bicycle riding literally out the door. The unit itself is really, really nice. Perfect in fact, for me.

    I'm sure the lender and agent and attorney (Illinois requires lawyers to be involved in these transactions, or so I was told) all know each other and have worked together before. But I also think they aren't very familiar with condo transactions. Nor am I though I have some knowledge of toxic associations because my brother and sister successively owned a condo in Minneapolis in the 1990s and early 2000s. Lifestyle was unbeatable but the politics of the association were awful apparently. Both of my siblings got involved specifically to keep one resident off the association board. Both my siblings led the association for years, not for their own gain because both are very selfless people, but for the betterment of the whole community. I digress.

    The banker, for lack of a better term, had to get a "Condo Questionnaire" out to the association. This lays out all the finances and ownership facts. The building is newish, having been built in 2008 or thereabouts and the developer planned to sell the units but then the crash of 2008 came in the real estate business. Many units went unsold and remain unsold today. They are rented and supposedly the owner is still attempting to get higher ownership in the building but still owns like 36% of the units. This was a red flag to the financial powers that be. He apparently got the results of this questionnaire late in the process and blamed them but his office is a mile from the association so my opinion was that he needs to get in his car and go down and not leave until he gets an answer.

    As mentioned, there are workarounds for this. I was not unwilling to consider alternatives to a traditional 15 or 30-year fixed rate mortgage, but only on my terms, in order to make this happen.They normally have the best interest rates. But a week before close is too late to have this bomb dropped on me and they all acted like it was on me to scramble for financing when they failed to do their homework in advance. I lost all trust in the agent and banker and even the lawyer after a conversation with her and began to wonder if the whole deal was a sham.

    Anyway, that's the long version. I've got another property in another location lined up and may put in an offer tomorrow. Literally the only negative is a compromise in the proximity to cycling, but even that can be worked around with diligent planning. I hope to have a better transaction this time and now know to ask better questions. And I'm going back to the credit union that has done two mortgages for me in the past. Going with folks I trust this time instead of a mirage in the desert.
    Saab,

    Some people are so crooked, even when they are playing it straight, it's still bent.

    If you have incompetence on one side, and a sharpie on the other, it is a recipe for disaster.

    I am like Matthew. I have a top notch lawyer, and she is sharp. She has worked a few deals for me, and now I just turn her loose.

    Douglas

    I'd bore you with real estate, lawsuits and beach front in Goa India, but I know I had you at India.
     

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    Default Re: Failed real estate transactions - tell your stories

    Sounds like everyone else in the deal was on the opposite side from you. You need your own lawyer, someone with no skin in the game. Plus any condo with nearly 40% unsold (if I understand correctly that the original owner/developer is still holding 36%) is not optimal. What happens if he declares bankruptcy? And 2008? How many other units are effectively underwater on their financing? I think you are really lucky getting out of that situation.
    Last edited by j44ke; 08-02-2019 at 06:10 AM.
     

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    Default Re: Failed real estate transactions - tell your stories

    I've got two.

    First: Back in 2012 my wife & I dipped our toes into the Boston market. We saw a condo we really liked on a hill in Roslindale: a basement garage & workspace and, three stories up, a picture window with a view of downtown. The nearly-new building was part of a small association, maybe five two-unit buildings on a cul-de-sac backing up on some woods.

    So we dived into some on-line research and quickly learned a couple things: The monthly condo dues were, like, $120. Not surprisingly their reserves were low and the association was not going to be prepared to deal with any large-scale projects. But even more troubling were the condo docs, that showed the developer had retained perpetual rights to build on the lovely woods next door. So we passed. I remember the RE agent saying something like, "I've never seen anyone look at this stuff!" Really??? What. The. Holy. Hell?

    I was not surprised to drive by the place five years later and see what had happened to the woods. The yellow house was the one we'd looked at. The beige place behind that massive stone wall was where the woods were:

    20161113_155457.jpg

    Second: Three years later we were shopping again, and found a single-family in Jamaica Plain. Our initial research uncovered questions, but not so many that we didn't make an offer. Which was accepted. As we negotiated the P&S we got answers to those questions.

    Well, all of the questions except one: The next-door neighbors parked in two of the four spaces on the house's property. We could not find any documentation that gave them the right to park there, and the sellers would not provide us with a straight answer about the issue. We negotiated a clause that said the property had to be delivered to us free & clear of anyone who could not park there as of right, recorded at the Registry prior to the P&S date. We were disappointed but not surprised that the neighbors remained there after we closed.

    To make an excruciatingly long story short, it took three years and a trial to resolve this. (We won.)

    One of the biggest lessons for me is that almost no one pays careful attention to what they're actually buying: Our neighbors, who had lived next to the former owners for fifteen years, never missed an opportunity to miss an opportunity to legally solidify their parking. And now they’ve lost it forever, to the new guys who read the documents.
    GO!

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    Default Re: Failed real estate transactions - tell your stories

    Quote Originally Posted by matthew strongin View Post
    i should mention that i hate home ownership and, if it wasn't for my wife, i'd happily rent a condo.
    ditto!
    -Dustin

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    Quote Originally Posted by davids View Post
    the new guys who read the documents.
    Always read your documents.
    Having spent significant time in real estate related litigation at one job, and having worked for a REIT that was founded and run by lawyers after that, there is no such thing as overkill in knowing what you have signed up for, and knowing your rights and leverage points.
    my name is Matt

    INSTA

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    Default Re: Failed real estate transactions - tell your stories

    Did you hear the one about the two perverts and the Russian mobster?

    Pervert 2, a.k.a. Individual 1, outbids Pervert 1 to acquire oceanfront estate in Palm Beach for $41 million. After each of them tried to get the other disqualified from the auction. Creep vs. creep.

    Four years later it's sold by Pervert 2 to a Russian kingpin for $95 million. Step 1 of how to make dirty money clean again.

    Walter

    Calmer than you are.

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    Quote Originally Posted by robin3mj View Post
    Always read your documents.
    Having spent significant time in real estate related litigation at one job, and having worked for a REIT that was founded and run by lawyers after that, there is no such thing as overkill in knowing what you have signed up for, and knowing your rights and leverage points.
    It's almost certainly the single largest purchase you're ever going to make (until your next home, etc.) It boggles my mind that so many people don't know what they're buying, or what they own.

    And yet...

    We and our neighbors have silly, silly property lines, carved out by the developer to ensure sufficient lot size, floor-space ratio, etc. My wife & I had our property surveyed (as we marshaled ourselves for the parking conflict) so know our borders.

    Our patio extended over the edge of our property and as we replaced it we sure weren't going to build beyond our line. However we did want to spring for some plantings to fill in the space. So we wrote our neighbors and asked their permission to plant on their properties, where they squeeze past ours:

    borders.jpg

    One wrote back, totally perplexed by our request. She had no idea what she owned.
    GO!

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    Default Re: Failed real estate transactions - tell your stories

    I bought my first house in 1992 and closed on my 27th birthday. I was working 3rd shift and had a day off for closing. Closing got moved up two days so I was woken by a call from the realtor to be at the closing attorney's office in 30 minutes. I wasn't at my peak. Sold that house to the Corps of Engineers as a consequence of BRAC in Charleston. Broke even, got my VA back.

    Second house in VA Beach (Kempsville) in 2000 was easy, really good broker and motivated sellers. Financed at 8% (good rate at the time) and refinanced later at 6%. Sold it for double what we paid in 2004. Put that money in the bank because we were moving to Oahu.

    Third house in Poulsbo, WA in 2007. VA again but put $40K down. Pretty easy, Navy Fed mortgage at a decent rate. Then the housing market collapsed and I ended up selling it in 2012 for what I owed. Thankfully I had relocation with my new job and didn't have to pay any realtor or closing costs. Still lost $50K in equity.

    Fourth house in Paris, TX in 2012. I grew up in real estate offices, my mom is a broker and owns her own company. She is also the past president of the Texas Board of Realtors. I asked for her help in buying this house, not financially, but in finding a good value. I used 0 down VA and bought a nice house way under market. Lived there for the next 6 years while my son finished school. After he graduated and headed off to Annapolis, we filed for divorce and put the house on the market. I had another relocation deal so no realtor or closing costs. Still took 5 months to sell, the whole time I was paying rent in AZ and a mortgage in Texas. Finally sold, had to split the proceeds evenly with the ex even though I had solely paid all costs for the last 6 months. That sucked.

    Now I'm in Kingman, AZ and have zero desire to buy another house. I've been dating someone in Flagstaff and I'm starting to lean towards finding a new job there and relocating. I would consider buying a house there as long as it has RV parking or can find a decent RV storage place. The girlfriend has a nice class A RV, we'd go places. Just need a home base with <1500 square feet and room for bikes.

    As far as horror stories, as the son of a realtor, I had to do a few 36 hour workdays to fix all kinds of stuff in a house so it would close on time. Sometimes that meant having a dumpster delivered and just throwing everything in it including clothes, furniture, and kitchen stuff. One house had a hoarder and it took three dumpsters for a 1200 square foot house. If anything looked of value, I'd put it out near the street while I was working and if it was still there at the end of the day, it would go in the dumpster. If the clothes weren't dirty or smoky, they'd get dropped at Goodwill or St Vinnies. Found a dead cat under a pile of clothes once, it had been there for a long time. People can be gross.
    Weight Doper

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    Default Re: Failed real estate transactions - tell your stories

    Quote Originally Posted by Matthew Strongin View Post
    I should mention that I hate home ownership and, if it wasn't for my wife, I'd happily rent a condo.
    Quote Originally Posted by dashDustin View Post
    ditto!
    ditto.
     

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    Default Re: Failed real estate transactions - tell your stories

    We work with clients in procuring and developing commercial and institutional properties...market analysis, due diligence, entitlements, civil engineering, permitting, acquisition, land development, architecture, construction, etc. I have observed over the years that many client decisions can be based on emotions more so than economics and in some cases, logic only plays a supporting role. We always insist that a commercial real estate attorney be made part of our team and they help bring folks to reality...sometimes. I preach to clients..."do not fall in love with a property or building until you own it and to not own it until you're absolutely sure that this acquisition won't cost you your job."...that statement usually works wonders.
    rw saunders
    everything is connected

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