Trulia Voices, a conglomeration of Q&As from real estate consumers and frequent shameless grovelings by real estate agents is often a source of amusement, frustration and head scratching.
It’s also frequently provides insight into the minds of home buyers, sellers and real estate agents.
Here was a recent question from “Todd”, a “Home Buyer in Arizona”:
I am trying to buy a house from a FSBO and we have agreed on a price and agreed to buy as is. After an inspection, I don’t want to pay that much can I send an addendum to see if they will lower the price or should I cancel the contract and then send a new contract for the lower price taking into account the inspection items? Thanks.
It would appear Todd is an “unrepresented buyer” — meaning he has decided to not use the services of a real estate agent. And Todd is attempting to buy a home from an “unrepresented seller”, a “FSBO” — For Sale By Owner.
So we have both sides of a real estate transaction going it alone, both deciding for whatever reason that they do not need the services of a real estate professional.
I do find it curious that Todd, who ventured off on his own, is now seeking free advice from real estate professionals as he finds his real estate deal beginning to swirl down the drain.
The problem is, no matter how many agents think (for whatever bizarre reason) that they will somehow secure Todd’s business, no one can possibly answer his question.
Why? Because we haven’t seen the contract between these unrepresented parties.
Oh, several agents have answered assuming the standard Arizona Association of Realtors Residential Resale contract was used. An interesting assumption given that no Realtors are involved in the transaction. Even more interesting when one considers that anything in the AAR contract form can be modified.
Did Todd and Mr./Ms. FSBO take a quick trip to OfficeMax and pick up a “real estate contract”? Maybe they went online and found one. Maybe they wrote their own contract on the back of a napkin.
We don’t know what is in this contract. Therefore there is no possible way to give Todd the free advice he so desperately seeks.
There are a few things we can glean from Todd’s situation:
You agreed to buy a home in “as is” condition — now you are finding “as is” means “needs repairs”. This should not have been a surprise.
You are now considering re-negotiating, or possibly canceling a contract. Contracts are, well, they are contracts. They generally aren’t designed to just be canceled on a whim. Often you can’t “just cancel” a contract.
My favorite part of this question is, “…and then send a new contract for the lower price…” You can’t just send a new CONTRACT for a lower price. You can send a new OFFER, which Mr/Ms FSBO can then soundly reject (and likely would — why enter into a contract with the same guy who bailed on your previous contract?).
Todd is frustrated. He may even be concerned, asking himself, “What am I going to do? Am I going to be stuck in this thing and get a home I don’t want?”
I feel bad for Todd. I really do. Buying a home is a lengthy, involved process jam-packed with potential pitfalls. It’s not a process most people go through on anything close to a regular basis.
What I can’t understand is why Todd decided to go through the home buying process alone. Yeah, of course I am biased, I’m a real estate broker for Pete’s sake. But honestly, I see things like this all the time. People come through this very blog all the time, with questions, and with very valid and deep concerns. I know Realtors are a group that many love to hate. Part of that we’ve brought on ourselves. Some of that, not-so-much.
I’m not going to beg and grovel for your business. But I am going to plead with you to at least look into using the services of a real estate agent. The ramifications (in cost, time, stress, legalities and more) of not using an agent need to be explored. We are not all evil twisted devil-spawn. Yes, there some lousy agents out there. But there are some brilliant ones too. Interview a few, find one that you can work with and trust and they will work their butt off to make sure you aren’t relegated to asking unanswerable questions on an Internet message board.