A Home Buyer Almost Lost Her Rosemont Home

I just closed escrow on Friday for an incredible couple of sellers of a Rosemont home who had moved to Florida. They had owned a rental property in which the tenant had vacated and it was now time to sell. An agent in Florida referred this couple to me. I think the agent found me through one of my blogs and noted that I sell homes all over the Sacramento area. Because I sell so many homes (100+ /yr), odds are I probably sell a lot in any one area, and Rosemont is one of those neighborhoods for me. I know it pretty well. And I knew this particular home might pick up comparable sales from a nearby subdivision, which has a higher per median square-foot-cost than the surrounding neighborhood. Which meant if we positioned this correctly, the sellers could probably get a bit more for this home than they would otherwise.

I look to maximize profit for my sellers. That’s because I really enjoy what I do. It makes my sellers happy as well. I feel like I’ve done my job above and beyond when sellers walk away with a lot more money in their pocket than they thought was possible. Being a Sacramento real estate agent is one of the greatest jobs in the world. Being a top producer is even more fun, if you can imagine that.

The sellers had finished painting, making a few repairs, and buying a new microwave. The home in Rosemont looked great. Even the door knobs glistened. A bunch of offers arrived. One of them was all cash from an out-of-state investor (warning bells), but the buyer’s agent swore up and down the investor would perform. Easy peasy guy is what he said. Exact words. Except the investor was anything but easy peasy and the agent failed to respond to requests for documents. My recommendation to the seller was to drop the buyer. Fast. Like a hot potato. Because the Sacramento real estate market is too danged hot in itself. It’s a seller’s market right now, which means there are a lot of buyers competing for limited inventory.

Sure enough, we went back into escrow immediately with a new buyer. She wasn’t cash, though. She needed an FHA loan. And the appraisal came in a little bit lower than the asking price. That’s the problem with buyers who use financing. They must rely on a Sacramento appraisal. If they don’t have the cash to bridge the gap between the appraised value and the sales price, they risk losing the home. The difference wasn’t that great, though, and it was still more than the seller had hoped to receive, so the seller elected to move forward at the new sales price.

See, that’s the problem with an appraisal. Appraisals are not chiseled in stone. An appraisal is just somebody’s opinion of value. Could be a person of great integrity and intelligence who prepares the appraisal or it could be a lame-ass doofus who couldn’t find his way home with 3 maps and 2 flashlights. You just don’t know who you’ll get.

After we moved forward with the appraisal, the buyer’s lender simply could not close. It’s like an epidemic sweeping Sacramento: lenders who can’t close. Not on time anyway. They might say whose time frame are you looking at — is it the purchase contract that gives us only 30 days, which isn’t enough time to brush our teeth much less brush our hair? Or, is it our time frame, which is somewhere south of the border, west of the International Date Line and in another century?

The escrow dragged on and on and on. The buyer’s agent submitted an extension. Then another extension. The sellers questioned whether they should sign it. At this point, it might make more sense to just rent out the home in Rosemont, put it on the market next spring and deal with the new influx of buyers. Or, not. It was enough to give the buyer a heart attack. See, this is the importance of selecting a mortgage lender who can perform and not some group that can’t close on time. Because, as a buyer, you could run out of time and the seller could cancel the purchase contract, hand back your earnest money deposit and say nice to know ya; don’t let the door hit ya in the butt.

But these sellers elected to close escrow and extended. It made no difference to me because a commission now versus a commission next spring doesn’t matter; besides, I want what is best for the seller. Who it mattered to was the buyer. The buyer was a first-time home buyer. My agent who picks up my lockboxes after closing said the buyer was very grateful when he stopped by yesterday. It’s nice to have a happy ending. Happy sellers, happy buyer, happy buyer’s agent. What else could you want? How about a happy referring agent in Florida? Yeah!

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