Monday, July 20, 2009

When Nice Gets You Nowhere

We found a house! Horray! But it was such a long gruesome path I'm still trying to decide if I'm happy or just relieved.

We found "the one" last Sunday. Although it was a notch out of our desired price range and although the bedrooms were just a tad small and although the basement wasn't "perfect," Brian and I knew in our hearts this was our house. I wouldn't call it my dream house but I would definitely call it my dream location which just happens to include a dream kitchen. Check out that beautiful photo. And that's not even the half of it!

We heard through the realtor grapevine that there were several other interested buyers. In fact, the house actually sold in the first 24 hours it was on the market only to be relisted after the buyer, sadly, lost his job.

So when Brian and I saw the house for a second time on Thursday we knew we needed to move fast if wanted any chance at calling this place home. We rushed home and worked with our realtor via email and our scanner/printer to get our offer signed and in the hands of the sellers as soon as possible.

Because we knew there was a good chance we could be in a multiple offer situation I decided to write a letter to the sellers. It was clear they put a lot of love into this home and I wanted them to know that if they agreed to sell it to us, their home of ten years would be in good, deserving hands. It was the Minnesota Nice in me coming out in full force.

I wrote about our marriage, our son and our newborn daughter. I wrote about our long quest to move back our beloved city of St. Paul. I wrote about our faith (it was clear from the decor that the sellers were also practicing Catholics) and how we were excited to join the parish that is located just one block from their home. I even enclosed a family picture from the day Lucy was born.

What kind of seller wouldn't want our family to buy their home?

Well, apparently these ones.

I'm the first to admit than when it comes to buying houses I'm pretty much 100 percent emotional about it. Not good for the business side. But that's why I've got my objectively wonderful husband and a kick-butt realtor.

The sellers read my well thought-out letter and took advantage of us. They knew we loved the house too much to let it go so they strung us along. They took their sweet time getting back to us on our offers and they offered ridiculous and childish terms in their counteroffers.

After four days of back and forth counters and a pit in my stomach the size of Alaska, our realtor made "the call." The call that got us the house.

She told the sellers' realtor that we were getting really tired and felt as if we were being taken advantage of. We had made a very reasonable offer and it was clear the sellers were looking for a better bid. If they weren't willing to accept in a timely manner we would be handing over our walking papers. She gave the sellers one last chance to accept before we went out to look at other houses.

I admit I was scared. I wanted that house so badly and I didn't want a few thousand dollars to stand in our way. But our realtor and my husband assured me that it wasn't about the dollars. It was about them trying to squeeze out every ounce of our self pride in order to purchase this home under their terms.

Less than an hour after that call was made the sellers accepted our offer with an added contingency. They were keeping the dining room chandelier. Childish enough for ya?

So forgive me if I'm not shouting with excitement from the rooftops just yet. I still have a bad taste left in my mouth. I like being nice to people and I like when they are nice back. I know that selling a house is business but it still can be done in a cordial manner. Unfortunately that was not the case with our experience.

But in the end, we got the house we wanted. Insert tiny squeal here.


  1. Congrats! Although I am sorry to hear it was not the ideal business relationship. I'll e-mail you for more details on the location and moving dates - so excited for you guys!

  2. Congratulations! Let me know if you need any help with the kids when you're moving.

  3. Congratulations!

    You must post more pictures (before and afters)!!

    I love the kitchen. I am jealous of all that cabinet space! ...and those counter tops! I can smell the pine-sol now....

  4. Congrats Jenny!!!
    Please let me know if we can help with moving or even take the kids while you pack. Anything you need. I'm jealous of your kitchen too. I LOVE the sink. I want more pictures and details lady. I'm praying that the closing goes smoothly. How exciting for The Nash Family!!

  5. Yay!! Whew! That's done, now...on to the packing!

  6. so very happy for all of you! Sounds like that (Catholic) family could use a little attitude adjustment.Hope everything goes smoothly,and yes id like more pictures also,good luck,Nancy

  7. Just because someone is "Catholic" doesn't automatically mean they're nice. In fact, I've experienced just the opposite...people who like to think they are nice, but kick you when you're down.

  8. I actually wasn't implying that being Catholic means they're nice. What I meant was that the act of me writing a letter was nice and thoughtful and that, in turn, got me nowhere.

  9. Congratulations!

    And that kitchen does look great - lots of storage space!

    I hope you'll do a "photo tour" after you move in. :)

  10. CONGRATS!!! (Champagne bottles popping) After buying our house, I swore I needed counseling! Our seller almost backed out, too, even though the house had been on the market for over 9 months and he was living in a different state! We weren't being unreasonable w/our offer, but it's like you said, it seems he wanted it on his terms! Grrr! You were so sweet to write a letter and I would never think to do something like that, however, now I don't think that I ever would hearing about your experience. The nerve!

    Again, congrats! I will see you in a week!! Yikes! I am really nervous about the golfing, it's been so long...

  11. I'm late to the party but Congrats! I am so happy for you. As for the sellers, what goes around comes around...


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