Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Sale Pending

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Just off a very busy highway lined with strip malls, parking lots, and power lines are homes with signs in front-new price, move-in ready, crazy low mortgage, priced to sell.

A white Cape Cod with a matching picket fence.  Great curb appeal.  A three bed, two bath, 1,823 square foot home on a quarter-acre lot.  There’s a two-stall garage, forced-air, central A/C, and all the amenities we have come to expect.  Just put out an open house sign with balloons and we’re all set.

That couple over there is wasting my time.  They’re not here to buy a home.  They’re neighbors comparing this house to theirs.  Hoping their mortgage isn’t underwater.  All they are doing is taking my flyers and wasting my time.

Buyers with dreams twinkling in their eyes.  I’m in my Brioni suit watching and listening for a weakness to present itself.

Use the wife’s imagination.  Make her see new paint on the walls.  How great it will look with your furniture.  What a wonderful place for you to raise your babies, host events, and grow old together.  Once the wife falls in love; fuck the husband.  Sell them the potential because they’d never by the reality.

You need a house.  No more apartments.  So what if the carpet is shot.  It still has a roof over it.

House filled up, opening cupboards, looking at the furnace, leaky foundation.  That’s why it has new drywall.  It will take six months to find that problem.  Is there a history of water damage?  Not that I know of.  Says so in the disclosure.

This couple is taking up my time and I let them know it.  If you’re not going to put in an offer, there are plenty of others here that will.  Make them feel guilty.  Guilt puts more money in my pocket.

What’s that sweet smell?  Why that’s cookies fresh from the oven.  Not this oven, it barely works.  But, an oven all the same.  Doesn’t baked goods make you feel right at home?  Plus, it hides the stench of cat piss and stale cigarettes.  Those stainless steel appliances look great.  They aren’t included in the sale price.  I’d remove the marble countertop too if it weren’t custom built and so damn heavy.

The attic is blanketed in mold.  Just cover what you can see from the crawlspace with paint.  Can’t afford to remediate the problem.  Few inspectors will do more than shine a flashlight in there.  If they do, nothing that a Ben Franklin or two can’t fix.  Pictures to prove it too.  God, I wish I had more houses like this to sell.

What’s that guy doing?  Thinks he’s a handyman.  Playing around with the faucets and electrical box.  Well, some of the plumbing has been replaced with garden hoses and the GCFI isn’t grounded.  This guy may have shit for brains, but if he finds something he might start talking.  I don’t need others to hear anything about anything he might find.  Get him out of the house.

Beautiful, isn’t it?  The couple that owns it put $50,000 into it. 

How’s the school district?  Best rated school in the state.  Hell, maybe even the nation.  Why not?

Who stepped in mud?  How can there be mud if it hasn’t rained?  I would have cancelled the open house if it rained.  The backyard is graded into the basement.  Don’t need buyers seeing all the flooding downstairs.  Don’t think I could pull off selling it as an indoor pool.  Get your kid’s face off the window.  I just cleaned that.  Can’t you leave those monsters in the car or at grandma’s?  With all these kids you can’t afford the asking price?  Then why the hell are you here?

Paint that water stain on the ceiling.  Put toothpaste in the missing grout.  This home is so well insulated that your heating and cooling bill will be zero.  Or have many zeros.  Put a potted plant in front of that bulge on the wall.  Landscaping is a more affordable solution than answering questions about the structure.

Are any of these people pre-approved for credit?  I want some offers.  I want a bidding war.  Nothing jacks up my commission more than two idiots fighting over the same piece of rotten meat.

I staged this house perfectly.  Boxed up the clutter, new rug on the water-spotted hardwood, barrowed some lamps, family photos in storage, fake flowers.  Looks good online too.  A stage needs actors.  There’s a middle-aged couple I hired to pretend to casually discuss all the wonderful features of the home that is so affordably priced that it will sell fast. 

Look at that dumb bitch all excited about the double sinks.  Need to find out if they have any dough.

Just need a sucker to sign on the dotted line.  Once they do that, I get paid and they’re the bank’s problem.  If they miss a payment or find a flaw with the house, it’s not me the bank will be after.  It’s in the contract.  Don’t blame me if you didn’t read the 100+ pages of fine print; talk to your lawyer.  Your lawyer and I do a lot of business together.  Great guy.

Not too many people in this town I haven’t worked with.  If you don’t play, you don’t stay.  I like to get drinks with a buyer’s agent when an offer has been put it.  Lots of drinks.  Get answers to how much credit they have.  See if we can set up a bidding war.  Which inspector to call that won’t reveal any major defects.  I already know all the attorneys and can make a suggestion.  The best thing about this business is the buyer never meets the seller.  It makes our parlor tricks so much easier to pull off.  Let’s celebrate by doing a few lines.

Time to put the open house sign and cookies away.  If this house doesn’t sell in a few days we’ll have to cut ten grand from the price.  The sellers are back from the coffee shop and want to know if there are any nibbles.  Don’t want to sell for less as they paid far more than it was worth during the bubble.  Bubbles burst.  I’m just glad they didn’t come back early like the last time.  Tried doing their own sales pitch.  Got offended when someone made a comment about the pea green wallpaper.  Thought I wasn’t doing enough of the hard sell.  Just because they’re the ones living out of storage bins doesn’t mean they can tell me how to do my job.  But they’re desperate and they signed with me because I told them exactly what they wanted to hear.  People love it when I validate their bad ideas.

I get a text from the office.  There’s an offer on the table.  Some shit head trying to lowball me.  Their agent works at my office and I tell him I won’t even consider it.  Won’t waste my time filling out paperwork with a counteroffer.  Tell the buyer we had a good open house and we have other offers coming in.  It’s bullshit, but we want full price to be considered.  The agent agrees, convinces the buyers they will lose their dream house, and resends their offer ten grand over the asking price.  We’ll stall on accepting.  Their agent has a weakness for vodka and an incentive to raise the bid.  Pry the buyer’s wallets open.  Hold out a couple of days to see if one of these Wall Street hedge funds would like to make an offer.  Use some of that bailout money to take advantage of the new class of renters they’ve been foreclosing on.

God, this is a great house.  Just off a five-lane intersection dotted with chain stores, empty parking lots, and water collectors made to look like fountains.  This home at the end of a side street will soon have a new sign-sold.

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