Greed..

Greed:

Good morning! I thought I would relate to you a story about greed I thought about this morning. Real life can be stranger than fiction, especially in real estate. Of course I can’t name names here. Anyway, a couple of years ago I had a buyer contact me to purchase a lake lot. He came to town and we spent a day driving from Greenwood to Spartanburg and all in between looking at lots. We looked at a few homes too. At the time prices had been rising rapidly and there was much speculation going on.

We found a lot and got a contract on it. The seller had purchased the lot about 8 months earlier and was going to make about $60,000 on it. I believe we had contracted at around $140,000 again I’m going off memory. My buyer returned home (he was from out of state). We had a close date about 2 months out. I went and applied for a septic permit for my buyer, staked the lot and paid for the permit. Again, my buyer was in another state.

About 15 days into the transaction the closing attorney called me to tell me there was a problem with title, as he put it the title was cloudy. He explained that apparently the ex wife of the previous seller was still on title. Not the current seller but the previous seller. When I called the listing agent, he called his seller and his seller acted like he didn’t know anything about it. To make a long story shorter, the previous attorney missed the problem with title. Now it’s a real dilemma. Both my buyer and I have time, money and effort in this. He had already ordered an appraisal. Seller and buyer agreed to extend the contract 2 months to get the title problem worked out.

The ex wife from the previous sale was contacted to release the title. Well of course she contacts another attorney and figures she will get what she can out of it because nothing can be done till she is taken off title. Now this whole time the listing agent is telling me everything is going to be fine, we are working through this, the previous attorney is in touch with the ex, etc. etc. etc. The contract expires. I figure we are just going to move on. About a month passes and I get a call from the listing agent saying they will have the problem corrected in a month and do we want to rewrite the contract. I call my buyer and he agrees. We put the closing out about 30 days. Guess what, appears the ex wife is still not willing to settle and get off title. The listing agent has the nerve to call me and tell me the previous attorney (who missed the problem) will close the transaction and he has a title company that will insure it. You’ve got to be kidding I said! Then I said to the listing agent “You want me to go to my buyer and ask him to purchase a property with a title problem, just because a title insurance company will cover it????” No way. So after two weeks the listing agent tells me we have it all worked out. I’m happy, my buyer is happy and we are getting close to close. Well I get a call from the current attorney about a day before closing who tells me that the ex still has not released title.

I call the listing agent and he tells me that we should have it in a day and all is well. Since the contract is about to expire I ask that an extension be signed. Listing agent says no problem. I never get it and about two days after close I call the listing agent to write a new contract so we can finally close this thing. This has taken about 5 months and lot availability on this lake has dropped drastically, prices have continued to rise. I get a call from the listing agent. He says, “Don, I’ve got some bad news. The seller is willing to sell but he wants $100,000 more than we wrote the original contract for. Folks, I nearly fainted. Can you imagine what my buyer said? I’ll give you the printable version here…no. Greed folks, pure greed. What goes around comes around though. The listing agent called me 6 months later to offer the lot at the price we originally agreed upon because the seller had not been able to sell it. We said no thanks. As of a few months ago the seller is still holding the property with no buyers. Everybody loses.

Let’s finish on a positive note. Rarely do I ever see anything this outrageous happen but if it does that’s why you should always have a buyers agent on your side.

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