Author Topic: Which House Would You Choose?  (Read 3258 times)

AMandM

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Re: Which House Would You Choose?
« Reply #50 on: June 30, 2020, 10:36:50 AM »
Yeah, I'd be game for something like this, but my husband is not.  He has a demanding job and pre-existing hobbies, and he does not want house repair to become a new, all-consuming activity that takes up all his free time for years, no matter how cool the property is.  This is one of his lines in the sand.

I fall somewhere between you and your husband. I don't mind doing the work, but the end has to be clearly in view. A year, or maybe two, of work and expense to get your dream house would be worth it to me, but if it will take all my time for the foreseeable future, then it's not a dream anymore, it's a nightmare.

Everyone has their own set of worthwhile trade-offs and you (plural you in the case of a couple) have to be realistic about yours. My cousin and his wife bought a gorgeous Victorian mansion, except it didn't have interior walls, HVAC, wiring, or plumbing. They basically camped in it and fixed it up bit by bit. I visited them at the point where they had a kitchen, a bathroom, and a bedroom, with two and a half floors still to go, and I commented that I couldn't imagine ever taking on a project of that magnitude. My cousin looked at my kids (five of them, ages 9 and under) and said, "That's exactly how I feel about you."

Good luck! I hope you find a helpful contractor and that it all works out!

marble_faun

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Re: Which House Would You Choose?
« Reply #51 on: July 01, 2020, 08:48:56 AM »
It seems like can afford the repairs, so long as they remain basic/non-fancy and don't spiral out of control.  The project will require us to be less Smaug-like with our savings, but we will be fine, so long as we keep things simple.


I spoke with a couple of potential collaborators on the project to get a sense of how things work. 

The first was a design/build firm.  These are folks who seem to be thoughtful about things like architecture, landscape, every detail and finish, etc. They would work closely with us to help us figure out what we want to do with the property.  As you might imagine, this boutique-type experience is expensive and might be overkill for some of the more basic work we need done, like roofing and electrical.

The second was a general contractor who called me back right away.  He was like, "Right after you close, I roll up with my crew and a dumpster! We start demo ASAP and can be done in a couple of months!"  I had to slow his roll with regard to completely sledgehammering the whole place, but he was affordable, and he could start quickly.  We were glad to know that our timeframe and budget COULD be achievable.

Then, a wrinkle!

I googled the contractor more deeply and learned that he is a convicted sex offender! 

!!!

On one hand, this happened many years ago, I would like to believe people can be rehabilitated, and also the offense has nothing to do with home renovation. 

On the other hand, not gonna lie, I'm really weirded out by this! 

If he were just the guy laying tile or installing a faucet, I wouldn't mind so much.  Sex offenders need to work somehow.  But he would be the person in charge of everything.  I need for him to be trustworthy and am applying a higher level of moral scrutiny. 

I'm now ruminating over other potential red flags.  Like WHY is this affordable, experienced contractor available when all the others are busy?


Just when you think things could start to sail smoothly, there's always SOME wrench in the works.


Gonna make some more calls just to see what other options we might have.  Feeling a little harried here!

AMandM

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Re: Which House Would You Choose?
« Reply #52 on: July 01, 2020, 09:06:09 AM »
Wow, always another plot twist!

Maybe the reason he's affordable and available is that few people want to hire a sex offender. Then it's a way for you to get a bargain if it's not a deal-breaker for you. Can you find out what his offence was? It might make a difference to how you feel about working with him.

marble_faun

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Re: Which House Would You Choose?
« Reply #53 on: July 01, 2020, 09:45:01 AM »
@AMandM : Lewd and lascivious behavior with a minor!

Edit: At first I thought the victim was a teenager.  Then I googled a little more into some of the details, and now I think she was probably more like 10-11 years old.

I think I just can't work with this guy.  I'm feeling a very bad feeling.
« Last Edit: July 01, 2020, 10:06:39 AM by marble_faun »

MoseyingAlong

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Re: Which House Would You Choose?
« Reply #54 on: July 01, 2020, 10:41:06 AM »
@AMandM : Lewd and lascivious behavior with a minor!

Edit: At first I thought the victim was a teenager.  Then I googled a little more into some of the details, and now I think she was probably more like 10-11 years old.

I think I just can't work with this guy.  I'm feeling a very bad feeling.

I think you've got to listen to your gut.

But...if it's just your initial reaction, may I suggest thinking a little more about it?

Will there be any minors on the job site or in the area?
If not, how do we as a society expect felons/people with a record to rehabilitate and rebuild their lives if we don't provide any opportunities to work?

I think we need to be smart about it. Based on this info, I wouldn't hire the guy to watch any kids. But to do some construction, probably during daylight hours, at a site without kids. Seems like he's avoiding bad situations.

Just something to think about it. But again, as I started with, I think our guts are often right and we should listen to them. Maybe not be ruled by them but definitely consider what they're telling us.

SailingOnASmallSailboat

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Re: Which House Would You Choose?
« Reply #55 on: July 01, 2020, 10:46:30 AM »
@AMandM : Lewd and lascivious behavior with a minor!

Edit: At first I thought the victim was a teenager.  Then I googled a little more into some of the details, and now I think she was probably more like 10-11 years old.

I think I just can't work with this guy.  I'm feeling a very bad feeling.

I'd also look at how old he was/when this was. If he was 16 and this happened, it feels different than if he was 50. That said, @MoseyingAlong has great points about responsibilities, rebuilding - and also trusting your gut.

AMandM

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Re: Which House Would You Choose?
« Reply #56 on: July 01, 2020, 04:58:42 PM »
Oooh.  That is a tough call.

In the child protection trainings I've had to take as a volunteer for youth organizations, one thing that stood out to me was that child abusers tend to be really entitled, with the attitude that rules don't apply to them. That to me would be a reason not to hire someone as a contractor, especially for a long and complex project.

OTOH I don't think that characteristic was true of people who were guilty of less serious offences (e.g., exposing themselves rather than raping a child). I don't know where "lewd and lascivious behavior" falls.


marble_faun

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Re: Which House Would You Choose?
« Reply #57 on: July 01, 2020, 06:17:20 PM »
Thanks for the thoughts on this.

I had a call with the guy today (which we had scheduled prior to my google-investigation).  I felt almost a sense of dread in talking with him and had to force myself to be friendly. 

Before, he had seemed pleasant, with a John Candy type of personality.  Now he struck me as off-puttingly sales-y and over-eager. 

He wanted to schedule another talk later. I said I just needed more time to think about everything and avoided committing to any next steps.

The sex offender thing really has poisoned me against him, whether it's logical or fair or not.  I think I am just applying more critical scrutiny to him now.  Little comments I might have overlooked before now strike me as red flags.

My realtor is putting me in touch with some other contractors, so we'll see what our other options are.

Nothing is easy!

marble_faun

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Re: Which House Would You Choose?
« Reply #58 on: July 02, 2020, 06:08:32 PM »
More weirdness! 

The sellers think we are taking too much time to commit to the purchase, post-inspection. 

Supposedly they now have other potential buyers knocking at their door, so they sent us a message (via our respective agents), basically saying that we are being unreasonable and acting in bad faith by drawing out our decision through the whole inspection contingency period.

We definitely are NOT acting in bad faith.  We are using this time to gather information about how much the repairs will cost!  I have no interest in delaying more than necessary, since if we say no to this property, we will need to start all over again with another place.

Also, they have not cooperated with us on scheduling the radon test.  Our agent thinks they are trying to lure us into cancelling the contract by not abiding by the deal. 

Not cool, sellers!

As a reminder, THEY dragged out signing the contract for ages (after we agreed on a price and arranged the inspection), probably as a last-ditch effort to try and get higher offers.  That is why they are in this situation.  If they had signed on time, we would have had to have already made our decision.

I want to maintain good will toward these people, but they are starting to seem a bit unpleasant.

SailingOnASmallSailboat

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Re: Which House Would You Choose?
« Reply #59 on: July 02, 2020, 07:24:02 PM »
Where are you? We are just under contract on our house (we're selling) and the date of how long our buyers have to get the inspection contingency  removed is spelled out, as well as our responsibilities as a seller. Sounds like maybe this is not the case with you?

I'd talk to your agent as this is part of why they are hired by you - to advocate. If it's like where we are (Virginia, USA), agents make no money on either side until the deal goes through.

waltworks

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Re: Which House Would You Choose?
« Reply #60 on: July 02, 2020, 07:33:12 PM »
I had a seller bail on me once. Like, outright refuse to sell the house we were under contract on.

A demand letter full of angry legalese boilerplate later, they paid us $10k to go away. Fun times.

Point being, now that you're under contract - YOU have all the power. Don't worry about what you think of the sellers, or what they think of you. Just worry about the contract, and whether or not you think the house will work.

-W

AMandM

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Re: Which House Would You Choose?
« Reply #61 on: July 03, 2020, 07:57:43 AM »
Agree with walt, don't let them rattle you.  You have as much time as the contract says to make your decision. Whether they are happy, whether they are unpleasant, whether they think they have another opportunity---none of that matters. Water off a duck's back. Gather your information and make your decision. Good luck!

marble_faun

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Re: Which House Would You Choose?
« Reply #62 on: July 03, 2020, 03:58:56 PM »
Record scratch!

We have backed out of the purchase of Hobbiton House.

After much discussion with contractors, family members, assorted respected elders, etc., we came to the conclusion that fixing up the house was going to be way too stressful.

There would be money stress.  Time stress.  Depletion of energy levels that we need for other things (the baby, potential future babies, our work, our hobbies).

If someone could have guaranteed that the house would cost X amount to fix up in Y number of months, we could have handled it.  But there was too much risk and uncertainty, on top of all the normal stressors of life right now.  It started to make us nervous.

I spoke with one of my mentors (who shares a lot of my tastes and understands my quixotic emotional attachments).  He warned me that this house had the potential to become all-consuming.  He reminded me that it's not my job as an individual to save all the old houses, considering I also have other goals to achieve.  I should be thinking about overall quality of life, not just about the house.

Cancelling the contract does feel like letting a dream die.  But after calling our realtor about it, my husband and I both felt a tremendous burden lift from our shoulders, and we knew we had made the right choice.


After cancelling, we immediately made an offer on our second-choice property: a modest but cheerful suburban house-flipper house.  I never imagined I would move into a flip, kind of like I never imagined I would live in a post-WWII home, but there is some relief in not having to worry about major renovations (that we know of so far).  I think we could spend some happy years there.

AMandM

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Re: Which House Would You Choose?
« Reply #63 on: July 03, 2020, 04:30:45 PM »
But after calling our realtor about it, my husband and I both felt a tremendous burden lift from our shoulders, and we knew we had made the right choice.

After cancelling, we immediately made an offer on our second-choice property: a modest but cheerful suburban house-flipper house.  I never imagined I would move into a flip, kind of like I never imagined I would live in a post-WWII home, but there is some relief in not having to worry about major renovations (that we know of so far).  I think we could spend some happy years there.

Congratulations! Sounds like you thought it out and made your best decision.

SunnyDays

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Re: Which House Would You Choose?
« Reply #64 on: July 03, 2020, 05:35:37 PM »
Looks like my post is a little too late, but this is what I was going to say.  (It might still be applicable to future purchases.). If you really love the property and aspects of an old house on it, but shudder at the expense and amount of work involved, there could be a hybrid solution.  Tear the old one down, saving some of the historic features, like bricks, mouldings, railings etc then build a new house with the same or similar blueprint.  Add back the historical features and you have a new version of the old place in a setting you love.  Plus, itís way cheaper to tear down and rebuild than rehabilitate.  And probably faster and you donít have to live in a construction zone.

betsbillabong

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Re: Which House Would You Choose?
« Reply #65 on: July 05, 2020, 10:54:36 AM »
Congratulations from a fellow cheap suburban home-buyer to be!

Goldielocks

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Re: Which House Would You Choose?
« Reply #66 on: July 05, 2020, 12:02:02 PM »


The house will need a LOT of work: a new roof and new electrical system just for starters. 

Roof and electrical are expensive but to be expected, can be a "one and done" effort, especially if electrical is re-run through the attic fairly easily.  Build this into the offer price.
Quote
Then there's all the deferred maintenance.  The siding may need to be replaced.  There's potentially some hidden water damage in the bathroom.  Some window frames are rotted. There is some cracking in the foundation which may or may not be serious.  We aren't sure yet about radon or the condition of the chimney. Etc. etc.
The bolded items above are what I would be very concerned about.  Window rotting is not as frequent, and often a sign of water that has run down several levels to cause a large problem, on the outside.   Foundation issues are real and major, so triple check that one.  Chimney liners or cracked chimneys are a significant issue as it can be hard to find someone to even do the work.   If it is just repointing and recapping it, that would be straightforward and able to be done with the roof repair.

Most bathrooms have some leaking / rot, and most of them have not spread too far.  A local or full bathroom makeover will solve this most of the time.  Siding is intended to be exposed to elements, and over time wood siding WILL rot, so if you catch it early, this is more of an expected thing.

ETA.
Good Luck on your new second choice.  I think you will like it a lot more.   There are too many hidden issues with the old one and all contractors would work on a "cost plus" basis, even if it looks like they are quoting something specific, IMO, on that type of construction work.
« Last Edit: July 05, 2020, 12:07:12 PM by Goldielocks »

Dicey

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Re: Which House Would You Choose?
« Reply #67 on: July 09, 2020, 11:58:34 PM »
Well, I have to say I am relieved for you. I've been holding my breath and my tongue this whole time. Something just didn't feel right. There is a better opportunity out there for you.

marble_faun

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Re: Which House Would You Choose?
« Reply #68 on: July 11, 2020, 07:38:10 PM »
Thanks to those who have chimed in!


I do find that I have to push away thoughts of Hobbiton Hall.  Images of the views and the woodwork will drift into my mind, and I have to mentally force them out.  Otherwise I get too sad about how our baby won't be growing up there and how the place will be turned to rubble.


Meanwhile I am trying to get excited about our ACTUAL future home!  As I mentioned, it is a small house-flipper house which used to be an Airbnb. 

The sellers are charging a premium for all their trendy furnishings and stylings, which are included with the property.  I'm sure someone else would have been thrilled to get all this stuff with the sale.  But my husband and I are a bit annoyed by it.  After so many years as renters, we want to put our own stamp on the place rather than inheriting a houseful of someone else's decor!  And the generic Instagram/Airbnb look is not what we typically go for.

(There is a selection of books on the shelf chosen and arranged just for the hue of their spines. Need I say more.)

We're going to lean on the sellers to remove a lot of the big stuff.  Things that are smaller and easier to deal with, we can sell.

Also, the house smells strongly of VOC off-gassing, especially from some wall-to-wall carpets they put in. We will be taking out the carpets ASAP and replacing them with a better-quality material, since we don't want our baby to be inhaling the fumes.  In the meantime I'm looking into air purifiers to see if they might help.

It's a little off-putting to buy a house with all these "new improved" features that to me actually make the place worse!


But yeah.  Like I said, I am trying to stay positive!

We are moving to the Shire.  We have reclaimed an Airbnb for the people.  We don't have to worry about a huge renovation or spending too much of our savings.  We and our loved ones are healthy. If the worst thing in our lives is that we have to live in a trendy house-flipper house that needs some airing out, we're actually doing pretty well.

Zamboni

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Re: Which House Would You Choose?
« Reply #69 on: July 11, 2020, 09:53:17 PM »
It's a little off-putting to buy a house with all these "new improved" features that to me actually make the place worse!

But yeah.  Like I said, I am trying to stay positive!

We are moving to the Shire.  We have reclaimed an Airbnb for the people.  We don't have to worry about a huge renovation or spending too much of our savings.  We and our loved ones are healthy. If the worst thing in our lives is that we have to live in a trendy house-flipper house that needs some airing out, we're actually doing pretty well.

So glad you found a home that will work for you!

I hear you on the airing out. The sellers of both of the last two houses we bought both did the "lipstick on the pig" job right before going on the market. The first place had all new bottom-on-the-line carpeting installed throughout. It was a neutral color so I just put up with it until we moved, but it was by far the lowest quality carpet I've dealt with in my adult life. The most recent place we bought had a lot of very low quality handyman work done to make the photos look decent (probably similar to the Air BnB  vibe you are getting). Things like only painting the trim on the front view side of the house. And it still smells like paint inside several of the kitchen cabinets nearly a year later. Ugh!

Much of what we initially didn't like has grown on us, though. My vote would be eject what you absolutely hate right away, but don't be too hasty to toss something if it is functional and you don't have an immediate replacement available.

marble_faun

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Re: Which House Would You Choose?
« Reply #70 on: July 12, 2020, 01:03:45 PM »
It's a little off-putting to buy a house with all these "new improved" features that to me actually make the place worse!

But yeah.  Like I said, I am trying to stay positive!

We are moving to the Shire.  We have reclaimed an Airbnb for the people.  We don't have to worry about a huge renovation or spending too much of our savings.  We and our loved ones are healthy. If the worst thing in our lives is that we have to live in a trendy house-flipper house that needs some airing out, we're actually doing pretty well.

So glad you found a home that will work for you!

I hear you on the airing out. The sellers of both of the last two houses we bought both did the "lipstick on the pig" job right before going on the market. The first place had all new bottom-on-the-line carpeting installed throughout. It was a neutral color so I just put up with it until we moved, but it was by far the lowest quality carpet I've dealt with in my adult life. The most recent place we bought had a lot of very low quality handyman work done to make the photos look decent (probably similar to the Air BnB  vibe you are getting). Things like only painting the trim on the front view side of the house. And it still smells like paint inside several of the kitchen cabinets nearly a year later. Ugh!

Much of what we initially didn't like has grown on us, though. My vote would be eject what you absolutely hate right away, but don't be too hasty to toss something if it is functional and you don't have an immediate replacement available.


The trim thing is hilarious!  Ours isn't quite that bad, though I did notice that they painted only part of the back fence, the little stretch that faces the road. But it's more forgivable as the fence is rotting away and needs replacing anyway.  I'm actually glad they didn't "improve" the backyard too much. There's a nice old tree, a bird house, and an old shed -- all survivals from the pre-flip days.

I actually found images of the house online from before it was flipped!  Mostly I think the flippers made okay decisions, except with the carpet.  And when they redid the kitchen, they replaced the wooden cabinets with MDF.  Why oh why!

AMandM

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Re: Which House Would You Choose?
« Reply #71 on: July 12, 2020, 06:17:52 PM »
I totally sympathize!  When we decided to move, I was excited about all the Craftsman houses in our new city. I had visions of a bungalow full of stained wood trim, Arts and Crafts decoration, stained glass, ... Then we learned the prices and bought a little brick box renovated by a previous owner--I wouldn't quite say flipped, because it took him longer than a flip should. Everything is done with shoddy workmanship using the lowest grade, cheapest materials from the local big box store (I know, because I've seen them all in stock).  But as you say, we don't have to worry about a huge renovation or spending too much of our savings.  We are redoing things the way we like, little by little. This summer my 18yo is ripping the ceramic floor tile off the fireplace, restoring the brick underneath, and building a new mantel.

marble_faun

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Re: Which House Would You Choose?
« Reply #72 on: July 16, 2020, 11:14:42 AM »
The sellers of Hobbiton Hall are asking us to share our inspection report with them.

We paid for it, and to be honest, I thought they were a bit unpleasant through the whole process.  They dragged their feet for ages on signing the contract, did not cooperate on the radon test, then hectored us and basically accused us of being bad people for taking our rightful time to decide on whether to go through with the sale.

So I'm not inclined to do them any favors.

Should I ask them to pay for half of it? 

If they hadn't been so rude, I would definitely just give it to them for free. 

SailingOnASmallSailboat

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Re: Which House Would You Choose?
« Reply #73 on: July 16, 2020, 11:25:19 AM »
Did you ever get to the point of sending them a list of requests based on the home inspection? If you did, they may be legally entitled to a copy of the report (they are in Virginia anyway). If you did not get to the point of sending them a list of requests, then I'd say decline. If they want an inspection done, they can pay for it.

Or you can offer half.

marble_faun

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Re: Which House Would You Choose?
« Reply #74 on: July 16, 2020, 11:32:44 AM »
Did you ever get to the point of sending them a list of requests based on the home inspection? If you did, they may be legally entitled to a copy of the report (they are in Virginia anyway). If you did not get to the point of sending them a list of requests, then I'd say decline. If they want an inspection done, they can pay for it.

Or you can offer half.

No, we knew up front they wouldn't be covering any requests, so we didn't send them anything like that.

I want to be a kind and generous person!  But Grudge Mode has been activated. 

Probably asking for half the cost splits the difference!

Goldielocks

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Re: Which House Would You Choose?
« Reply #75 on: July 16, 2020, 12:00:21 PM »
Ha,  I would ask for the whole cost.  It saves them a lot of hassle right now.  Then negotiate.  Just respond in a kind tone so you aren't saying "piss off" (because you aren't).

FINate

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Re: Which House Would You Choose?
« Reply #76 on: July 16, 2020, 12:05:48 PM »
If you have a legal obligation to share the report then, of course, share it. Otherwise, just walk away.

Your report, if shared, will likely be provided to other prospective buyers. Do you want your name and implicit backing of the details in said report sent to other potential buyers?

IMO, selling it to them (at half price) adds to the problem. Selling something generally means you take on certain liabilities for the product being sold.

Real estate transactions are big and complex, and involve plenty risk in the best of circumstances. No point in adding more variables to the process.

marble_faun

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Re: Which House Would You Choose?
« Reply #77 on: July 16, 2020, 12:19:59 PM »
If you have a legal obligation to share the report then, of course, share it. Otherwise, just walk away.

Your report, if shared, will likely be provided to other prospective buyers. Do you want your name and implicit backing of the details in said report sent to other potential buyers?

IMO, selling it to them (at half price) adds to the problem. Selling something generally means you take on certain liabilities for the product being sold.

Real estate transactions are big and complex, and involve plenty risk in the best of circumstances. No point in adding more variables to the process.


Huh, I really had not thought of that at all.  We have no legal obligation.

I'm actually surprised they want it, since if they read it, they may need to disclose certain issues to other buyers that they wouldn't have otherwise been on record as knowing about.

Dicey

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Re: Which House Would You Choose?
« Reply #78 on: July 17, 2020, 04:11:51 AM »
If you have a legal obligation to share the report then, of course, share it. Otherwise, just walk away.

Your report, if shared, will likely be provided to other prospective buyers. Do you want your name and implicit backing of the details in said report sent to other potential buyers?

IMO, selling it to them (at half price) adds to the problem. Selling something generally means you take on certain liabilities for the product being sold.

Real estate transactions are big and complex, and involve plenty risk in the best of circumstances. No point in adding more variables to the process.


Huh, I really had not thought of that at all.  We have no legal obligation.

I'm actually surprised they want it, since if they read it, they may need to disclose certain issues to other buyers that they wouldn't have otherwise been on record as knowing about
.
And that's exactly what I'd say to them as I politely declined their request. They're just being cheap, IMO.