Monday, August 21, 2006

Friday's dilemma

On Wed the floor guys came to install our new 'floating' kitchen floor. Everything went well until they accidentally severed an electrical line, causing some of the lights to go out. But after a quick trip to Home Depot for parts, the guys repaired the line and left. The new floor looks great!

On Thurs the countertop guys came to install the new granite countertops, new stainless steel sink and faucet. It took them less time than I thought it would, and Joe was even able to get a plumber to come out immediately after the countertop guys were done to reconnect the dishwasher, garbage disposal, and drain. Everything turned out great!

On Fri our beach realtor Lee Ann called me at 4:45 to tell me that she'd been contacted by the listing agent for the "water house". The listing agent said she was getting a contract that afternoon and wanted to know if we wanted to submit an offer too. I told Lee Ann we'd talk about it and get back to her. Joe & I had said before we didn't want to get into a bidding war because even if we got the house we wouldn't be getting as good a deal as when we were the only offer. But the "water house" was our favorite and we didn't want to lose it. What a dilemma! Lee Ann called back to say that the offer was submitted with a 24-hour turn around, leaving the seller only 24 hours to respond. This made us think again.

If the person submitting the offer was only giving the seller 24 hours to respond, they were likely offering a very low price and didn't want the seller to have time to get more offers. With this knowledge and the knowledge that the "water house" was truly our favorite AND the best overall investment, we thought perhaps we should go ahead and make an offer.

We went to our friend Dick & Dick's house for dinner and after only a few minutes, my phone rang again. It was Lee Ann, wanting to know if we'd made a decision. We told her that we thought we'd make an offer, contingent on the sale of our house. She discouraged us from doing so, indicating that the other offer already on the table had no contingencies, and that most sellers wouldn't consider a contingent contract if they also had a contract without contingencies. So we told her we wouldn't make the offer, since we were not willing to remove the contingency of selling our house. While I had that conversation in the other room, Joe explained that we'd normally not answer the phone at someone else's house, but then explained what was going on. One of the Dicks is a realtor and suggested we not let the contingency discourage us. He suggested we write a letter to the seller, telling them how much we loved and wanted the house, and have it included with our offer to soften the contingency. I thought it was a great idea.

When we returned home at 11:00 we talked about it for a while, and decided we were going to fight for that house! I wrote a great letter, explaining to the seller how much we liked the different features of the house and how we could really see ourselves living there. Since we'd met the seller on 3 occasions, I tried to include as much about her as possible without sounding like a stalker. Then we hopped in the car at 12:30am and drove to the beach, arriving just before 3:00am. We left Lee Ann a message indicating our desire to submit an offer, and explained about the letter.

The next morning we met Lee Ann at her office to sign the paperwork and hand over a check. She told us that the seller had countered the first offer, but we were still able to submit one too. Lee Ann thought the letter was a terrific addition. Here's what it said:
"Dear Mrs. Daisey,

We are Mark and Joe, the two guys that Lee Ann Wilkinson has brought to see your home two times. However, weÂ’ve driven by your house many times, and even shown it to friends and family several times. We really want it to be our house!

Obviously we were stunned by the gorgeous views from nearly every room in the house. But even more than that, it is obvious to us that you and Mr. Daisey took great pride in your home and maintained it beautifully. It is a wonderful, solid home with a great floor plan that works perfectly. If we recall correctly, you designed the house yourself. We think its perfect, and if you accept our offer, we will maintain its current floor plan and soul, only making some updates here and there.

We particularly love the open, spacious kitchen. ThereÂ’s lots of counter space that we can picture ourselves using when our extended family comes Thanksgiving. And we can imagine ourselves eating breakfast each morning in the breakfast nook while gazing out at the water, probably the same way you have done for years.

Mark works for a company that produces internet conferences and Joe will be starting a new job with the State of DelawareÂ’s department of Children, Youth, and Families. As much as we love it, we are unable to offer you the full list price for your home. But please know that we are making our very best offer; what we feel we can afford. Coincidentally, Lee Ann told us that the house 2 doors down sold for the same price that we are able to offer you. We sincerely hope you will find this offer sufficient.

In addition, we ask your indulgence with a contingency for the sale of our current home. It is located in a very desirable area where homes frequently sell quickly. Just this week we had a new ‘floating’ floor and granite countertops installed in the kitchen, which are sure to further enhance our home’s beauty and desirability. Our realtor is convinced our house will sell quickly when it goes on the market.

We look forward to bringing that carnival glass bowl we purchased at your yard sale back to your home, along with the other carnival glass pieces weÂ’ve collected over the years if you accept our sincere offer.

Best wishes to you as you prepare to start a new chapter in your life in Georgetown!


Mark and Joe"

After faxing our offer, Lee Ann took us to see 3 more properties that were new on the market, just in case. The first was a beautiful old house in Lewes that was lovingly restored by its current owners. It had all new plumbing and electrical wiring, back yard garden to die for, along with a carriage house. The drawbacks were no garage or driveway, and all the rooms in the house seemed too small. Next we went to a house on Lewes beach. It had a 4-car garage, and breath-taking views of the bay from the top floor living room, dining room, and kitchen. There is protected state land in front and behind the house so the views will never be interrupted. Its drawbacks were the budget-buster pricetag and the fact that the neighboring houses were summer cottages so there would be no neighbors and we'd feel isolated. The third house was a colonial in the desirable Country Club Estates neighborhood in downtown Rehoboth. The house backed to Silver Lake, had lots of decking and a hot tub, good space inside, and was only 3.5 blocks to the boardwalk! The drawbacks were no garage or covered parking, very outdated decor including wallpaper everywhere, and a general 'suburban' feeling to the house.

Literally minutes after saying goodbye to Lee Ann, she called us back to say that the first person had submitted a second offer that was higher than ours. She wanted to know if we were set in our price or if we would consider paying more. Although we weren't happy that the other person had more money on the table, we were encouraged by the fact that the seller was considering our contingent offer. We discussed it for a few minutes and called Lee Ann back to say we would consider a counter offer from the seller. And then we waited.

Sun morning we left the beach and shortly after arriving home we got the call from Lee Ann. She said a third person submitted an offer late Sat evening, for more than the first two offers, and had no contingencies, so the seller accepted it. The "water house" was gone. The listing agent told Lee Ann that the seller was disappointed that Joe & I weren't the highest bidders because she thought we wanted the house the most, undoubtedly because of the letter.

Although disappointed by the news, I didn't linger on it because I was preparing for what I knew would be a joyful occasion: a reunion with my cousins.

Drag Queen name of the day: Kelly Green

1 comment:

Bugsy said...

I'm glad that the renovations went so well. I'm sorry to hear that you didn't get the 'water house'. Hopefully, something as nice will come on the market!