We just sold a Miami home and everything was going perfectly until the end. I’m telling you this story just so you are aware that even “picture perfect” real estate transactions can have obstacles and you need to be ready for them, whether you are a Miami real estate buyer or seller.
The particular property in question was located in Miami Shores. The house was an estate and needed a lot of work but its location was fantastic. The buyers were looking to remodel, so the house fit their needs, especially because it was priced well from the get go. The buyers placed an offer, a price was negotiated and we had an executed contract.
In the next couple of weeks we opened the house for inspectors, architects and appraiser. We granted access to the buyers as many times as they wanted. We obtained timely escrow letters, loan approval and the house was even accepted “as-is” in writing after the inspection report was completed. There were no open permits, no code violations and the house had a clean title.
So what could go wrong? The buyers were well aware of all the flaws of the house and were ready to take on the project.
I really can’t begin to guess, but maybe they got cold feet, maybe they wanted to test the waters and see if they could get “a little more” from the sellers, maybe they were just playing the “mean buyer card”. (which, by the way, a lot of people are playing right now)
So here’s what happened. They knew about some exterior glass doors that were installed 30 or 40 years prior that were not in compliance with “today’s building code” – these doors had survived several Miami hurricanes without protection and were in perfect condition. The buyers’ intention from the first day they saw the property was to remove those doors and enclose the porch area correctly, but in the last hour decided to request an additional $15,000 because the city had no records of those doors having been installed with permits. The buyers gave the sellers an ultimatum of reducing the price or loosing the sale.
To make a long story short – their inspection period was over and as much as the buyers tried to get a reduction, it did not happen. We closed on the day specified on the contract for the amount specified on the contract.
What does this mean if you are a selling your Miami Beach home? Be aware that buyers today will try to negotiate the price to death. It helps to work with a Realtor that is on top of the transaction that makes sure all the deadlines and correct disclosures and contingencies are met so you can at least get the deposit money if there happens to be an issue.
If you are a Miami real estate buyer and have a legitimate concern for the condition of the home, make sure you hire the right home inspector and make sure to include any requests BEFORE the inspection period is over…..you will not be able to change your mind later. In the case of these buyers, they may have been able to negotiate the price down a bit when they were still within the inspection period of the contract.
Your Miami Realtor should know their contract, they should be good at real estate transaction management, should be thorough about meeting deadlines and should be excellent communicators. All that should guarantee a successful real estate transaction especially when those come with problems and obstacles.
**original article written December 23, 2007**