buying homes in sacramento

When a Home Seller Cancels the Contract for Non-Performance

Home seller cancels the contract

When a home seller cancels the contract for non-performance, she must have a specific action that the buyer failed to complete. In this case, it is the buyer’s good faith deposit. The contract specifically states the buyer’s funds must be deposited into the title company within 3 days after acceptance of the buyer’s offer.

In this particular escrow, there have been many conversations about the deposit and several reasons why the funds have not been wired. A car wreck, an illness and then a tragedy in the family with their child. Another reason for the delay just happened this week. The funds were somehow wired to the wrong title company. The seller’s agent has been very patient. Everyone has a line in the sand and the seller and her Realtor have reached that point with the buyer. The buyer has truly tried everything within her means but has been unable to perform.

As we are 12 days into this and no deposit has been made, the Notice to Buyer to Perform was received yesterday. The notice specifically states: “If the buyer does not remove all contingencies within two days from the day after the delivery of the notice, the seller can cancel the agreement.” As the notice was received yesterday, the buyers legally have until the day after tomorrow at 5:00 PM to deliver the earnest money deposit; if they do not, the seller simply cancels and sells to another buyer.

When a home seller cancels the contract for non-performance, this can be sad news for buyers. The buyers in this case are from out of state, so even further complications. This notice is important. The seller has lost valuable time on the market to sell the property as it has been in pending status. Pending sale in MLS detours other buyers from looking at the property.

When a home seller cancels the contract for non-performance, this is a last resort ditch effort. If a buyer wants to save this escrow from cancelling, they must go to the bank today. The seller’s agent needs confirmation the funds were wired and deposited with the title company.

If you are looking to buy a home, always make sure you have your deposit funds ready to go when you sign your purchase agreement. This will ensure that when a seller cancels the contract for non-performance, it will happen to someone else, but not you!

If you are thinking about selling a property, rest assured Weintraub & Wallace Realtors will always insist on a deposit check immediately on our listings. Call us today at RE/MAX Gold, 916-233-6759.

— JaCi Wallace

home Seller cancels contract
Weintraub & Wallace

When the Pest Inspector Finds Bones Under the House

bones under the house

These are not the pile of bones under the house but they are what we imagine.

Do you have bones under the house? If you haven’t adequately sealed your crawl space, all sorts of critters can get under your house in Sacramento because we have a ton of wildlife roaming about. You’ve got your possums in Sacramento, rats, squirrels, skunks and raccoons, all of which can invade the area under your raised foundation. Finding a pile of bones under the house was not what an agent expected yesterday to hear from the buyer’s pest inspector. He called it a human body, which totally freaked out the buyers.

Who wouldn’t be freaked? It sounds like something related to Sacramento’s notorious serial killer, Dorothea Puente, who was convicted in 1993 for killing a bunch of tenants at 1426 F Street and burying them in the yard. Much of our housing stock in the capital core area of Sacramento is older, built prior to 1940. Some homes are a hundred years old.

The pest inspector later changed his story and said it was a huge pile of bones under the house, not a skeleton or human body. Although, he had thought about calling the police, adding fuel to the buyer’s anxiety. One of the parties, I hear, crawled under the house and looked at the bones, and determined they were the kind you get from a butcher shop for your dog. Cellphone photos passed around.

After much discussion, the matter appeared settled. When I passed on this information to my seller, he related another horror story. During an escrow to sell his home in Central California, the pest inspector produced a large rat, which he conveniently found at the entrance to the attic and by some miracle had not yet decomposed. The pest company demanded $7,000 to replace all of the attic insulation and clean up the area. When the seller went to Yelp to check on the pest company, he discovered accusations of similar “discoveries.”

Who would imagine that a pest company would plant a rat? Where would they find such a critter? I guess it doesn’t astonish upon reflection. There are so many crooked people in the world.

I’m fairly certain this particular pest company did not plant the bones under the house. The previous tenants had two large dogs. Seems it is common for dogs to hide a stash of bones, and the coolness under the house in our hot Sacramento summers would be just the spot. Still, it would be unsettling for anybody to find bones under the house. You never know what a home inspection or pest inspection in Sacramento could reveal.

How Could That Home Go Pending When You’re Ready to Make an Offer?

make an offer

You might lose that home if you wait to make an offer.

It’s a fine line to walk when looking at homes to buy in Sacramento and feeling the urge to make an offer. The dilemma is when you spot a home you like, should you make an offer with the possibility that if you keep looking you might find something better, which means you would have to cancel a contract? Or, do you wait to make an offer until you are absolutely certain you’ve viewed every single home that might fit your parameters, opening the window of opportunity for another buyer to step in before you can act? It’s a tough place to be. Moreover, may I suggest that it’s not really a good idea to look at homes if you’re indecisive.

Even some veteran Sacramento Realtors are struggling with their buyers. I followed up on a showing of a duplex in Carmichael to find out if the agent would share his buyer’s thoughts with me. I always like to pass on feedback to my sellers, keep them in the loop about what’s happening, and answer any possible questions that might arise from the showing. The agent said the buyers were interested, but they had other homes they wanted to see over the weekend, which was 4 days away. Why do buyers think they have 4 days to look at homes in Sacramento?

We have limited inventory in Sacramento. The principle for a seller’s market in Sacramento is when you spot a home you like, buy it. Right then. Immediately. Make an offer. Commit. There is no time to soak in a bubble bath and contemplate your place in the world, wondering what would it would be like if we were all living on a blade of grass and not planet Earth. Chop, chop, people, pen to paper or mouse to screen.

I don’t enjoy informing buyer’s agents that we are in pending status now and they can only submit a back-up offer. Another agent texted late yesterday that he had just scanned an offer to send to me on the same duplex in Carmichael. Because of the way texts work, I could see that he had texted me a day earlier at the same time, asking questions about the duplex on behalf of his buyers. I pointed that out, that he had contacted me 24 hours earlier and let him know that yes, the property was pending. Maybe he was a part-time agent who could only work after business hours, I dunno.

His response was he had told me he was sending an offer 24 hours ago and it was STILL today damnit, even though much later in the evening. As though somehow he imagined we would wait for a less-than-list-price offer from him, because I had inquired as to the amount of the offer and suggested that he bump it up. He didn’t bump it. He didn’t even send it. If I had a dollar for every time an agent said he was sending an offer and didn’t . . .. He wanted to know how high the winning offer was, and I instead asked if his offer was still less than list price. Yes, it was. Well, then, day late, dollar short.

If you don’t make an offer, you can’t buy the home. If you don’t eat yer meat, you can’t have any pudding.

A Tip for Sacramento Real Estate Investors

sacramento real estate investorsAt least a couple of times a week, this Sacramento REALTOR receives an email from a potential investor or investment group, wanting to buy homes in Sacramento. Many of these Sacramento real estate investors are investment LLCs are based in Sacramento. The managing partners and owners generally hold an active real estate license and are typically members of MetroList, our local MLS. This means they have the ability to look up homes to buy to their heart’s content . . . so, why do they email this real estate agent?

I imagine there are several possibilities. Some Sacramento real estate investors desire preferential treatment, they expect to be pushed to the front of the line in the event of multiple offers. An agent can’t grant that kind of preference because it’s against the law. To sweeten the deal and tempt agents who are, let’s just say perhaps lacking in ethics training, investors might offer to let the listing agent represent them in a dual agency situation and collect up to twice the commission. Although, they would not admit this to anybody’s face.

One investor went so far as to send me his list of “preferred” agents so I could look up the identity and records of all the real estate agents who were most likely to throw their sellers under the bus to work with him. Every one of those agents double-ended deals with that investor. Nice going. I’ll be on the look-out for those guys.

A better way to buy homes in Sacramento for an investment portfolio is NOT to try to bribe real estate agents. Although, I bet a few investors are reading this and sneering at the moment, while a few others are drawing a circle with a big red X over my face. A better way to buy homes in Sacramento is to follow the listings of the agents who tend to list a lot of property.

How would Sacramento real estate investors do that? It’s easy. Sort of like Twitter. Just set up a hotsheet search in MLS using that agent’s identification as the parameter — which is noted on every listing and can also be located under the Search tab for Agent / Office. Then, when that agent lists a new property, bingo, the MLS will email it to the investor who set up the search. I suspect a few Sacramento investors already have hotsheets set up for my Weintraub listings because some of them call me within minutes of a new listing hitting MLS.

If their offer is the best for the seller, the seller takes it. Sometimes, the early bird gets the worm. Investors don’t have to resort to under-handed tactics to buy homes in Sacramento.

Which reminds me, there is an article published today in the Billings Gazette (Montana) about investment groups. The reporter interviewed this Sacramento REALTOR and used my comments in a sidebar. You might be interested in reading Investors Hunting for Gold in Billings Real Estate Market. That advice applies nationwide.

Cash Investors, Pie Crusts and Robot Agents

cash investors sacramentoThere is an acronym company doing business as a limited liability corporation and trying to buy homes in Sacramento as a cash-infused investor. There are undoubtedly many such companies and investors vying for homes in Sacramento. But this one in particular canceled an escrow because it didn’t do its due diligence upfront, so I’m wary about them. This particular company has also hired at least 3 different real estate agents in Sacramento to throw offers at the wall. I know this because I have received offers from 3 different agents representing the same company.

You know, not a day goes by, honestly, in which I don’t answer my phone and hear the words: I am a cash investor. I suspect the callers feel I should treat them differently than I would anybody else, but they’re in for a rude awakening. Just like I am a number to them, they are a number to me. I realize they have little vested interest in the property or in meeting the seller’s needs. They probably have not even seen the property. If the escrow demands a special consideration, they are unlikely to provide it. They are not special. Their cash is not “king” to me.

It seems like the REO robot agents are being replaced by the robot buyer’s agents. The tide has changed from robot listing agents who represent banks and asset managers of foreclosed homes to robot selling agents who represent cash investors. These guys comb MLS daily looking for new listings, writing offers, uploading the purchase offers to DocuSign and emailing those offers to listing agents. You throw enough at the wall, something is bound to stick.

As a Sacramento short sale agent, I have to look out for my seller’s interests and help them to choose the most motivated buyer to close their short sale. As a general rule, short sale banks don’t seem to like limited liability corporations (LLCs). I’m not sure why, either. It could be that an LLC is in-your-face about profit, versus a home owner who just wants a roof over her head. In any case, it’s hard to get excited over these cash offers. If push comes to shove, they don’t shove.

You know, short sales involve a lot of frustration. I dodge a lot of whipped cream pies in this business. Speaking of pies and throwing crap at the wall, I’d like to share a story with you. It involves a pie crust. Those of you who have never made a pie crust may perhaps find it difficult to believe that pie crusts do not live in your grocer’s freezer. Yes, you can actually make a pie crust at home out of flour, salt, shortening and water.

The trick is to not overwork the dough. If you massage it and roll it too many times, it will become tough and crumble. I was probably 7-years-old when I made my first pie crust. I thought I had followed the directions explicitly but I was having trouble. It wasn’t sticking together. I blamed it on my rolling pin. After I had rolled out the dough, I tried to fold it into quarters and lift on waxed paper to the pie tin, but it fell apart. I rolled it again. It crumbled again. In a split second of frustration, I hurled it at the wall.

Uh, oh. I could not believe I did that. I was horrified. My mother stopped what she was doing and stared at me. I was in big trouble, and I knew it. My heart started to pound. I might never get to bake again in the kitchen. I might go to bed without dessert. Maybe stand in the corner. But instead, my mother started to laugh. “That’s exactly where my first pie crust ended up,” she said.

Today, I make a perfect pie crust. And I’m a pretty darn good Sacramento short sale agent, too. Just don’t call and tell me you’re a cash investor, because I don’t care.



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