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An update on selling our house in Houston: we received our first offer in June.  It was a low-ball offer, but we counter-offered in hopes of a mutual compromise.  The prospective buyers continued playing hard ball.  In fact, they walked away when we didn’t accept their counter-offer in the 2nd round of negotiations.  In a moment of desperation, we reconsidered and decided to accept their counter-offer.

During the 10-day option period, we began working on the buyer’s requested repairs.   This included renting a boom lift and spending an entire weekend in the 100 degree heat & Houston humidity, scrubbing the brick with muriatic acid to remove the paint overspray along the eaves due to the previous owners’ painter’s laziness.

Paint Removal

Paint Removal

Several other repairs were requested after the buyers received their inspection.  The big ticket item was the upstairs HVAC unit.  The inspector noted its age (19 years), deemed it a fire hazard, and stated that it needed replaced.  He reported “excessive noise and vibration” and proceeded to turn our A/C OFF without our permission.  Since this was during the heat of the summer, and we were 3 hours away, we were HOT, pun intended!

The buyers were convinced that the HVAC unit had to be repaired/replaced upstairs, although to us it seemed the only issue was noise/vibration.  They also were requiring us to replace the flex gas lines (which was not a code issue, but possible safety concern).  We struggled with spending more money on items that were functioning!  In fact, the inspector had noted in his report that the A/C units were still functioning and cooling properly.

There was a bit of a disagreement here because we did not feel obligated to fix items that were still technically working.  But then as luck would have it…the fan motor went out.  Remaining optimistic that our home warranty would cover the repairs, we had a service tech come out to diagnose the issue.

More bad news: the warranty didn’t cover the repair.  The original fan motor had been replaced (by us) and was not the specified unit.  Prepared to negotiate with the buyer, we offered to pay for the half of the repair.  They wouldn’t budge.  Finally, we agreed to go ahead with the repair – in attempt to keep the sale.

Unfortunately, it wasn’t good enough for the buyers, and they backed out on the last day of their option period.

Our house is back on the market now.  In addition to reducing our sales price, we actually decided to sink $2,000 into a new HVAC system for the upstairs instead of spending $800 to repair it.  With all the repairs complete, a new upstairs HVAC, and a lower sales price – our hope is that we can lure new prospects into a quick & agreeable offer!

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