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Land Buying Blues

1418 Views 18 Replies 11 Participants Last post by  Jena
I need a new realtor.
The one I have is lazy, dishonest, inefficient, disorganized, and ignorant. So far every question I've asked has been answered either with "I don't know" or "I think..." which irritates me because it's her job to either know or find out and have definate answers to basic questions, not speculation. She isn't on the MLS, unfortunately, so I'm stuck with her. She's selling a piece of land that may be my utopia...if she and the sellers would ever get the necessary stuff done, maybe I could buy it.
But no, they all screw around and blame other people for not calling back or not showing up. So far I've done the vast majority of long-distance phoning and document research- my time, my money. What supposedly was taking them two weeks to get an answer to I untangled in five minutes with one phone call. I've sent them names and phone numbers of everybody they need to get the whole process done in a month. They just don't make the effort. I don't know if it's ignorance or apathy.
Last weekend I wrote a firm, straightforward, but polite and non-accusatory message to the realtor- who is sellers agent exclusively- about how fed up I was becoming with this dilly-dallying and refusal of everybody to make any progress. There are steps that the owners need to take before the land can be sold, but they don't want to spend the relatively small amount of money- which could be partially reimbursed at closing- to take them. They want to put it all off till they get an offer and start it up at closing...which judging from their indolence thus far would mean an indefinate limbo of no progress whatsoever. I made it clear in my message to the realtor that considering that we've been in this hamster wheel for three months already the land must be completely legally ready for instant purchase before I make a serious offer or enter into a contract.
The next day I had an idea for a possible solution to everything, which would work very well for me practically, and benefit them financially. I wrote again to the realtor about this, asking her to discuss it with the sellers. It has been a week and I haven't heard anything back from her.
I realize it's a busy time of year, but with all the past annoyance I've been through with her I'm increasingly getting ticked off.
I am not a timid or mealymouthed person so perhaps I should err on the side of excessive niceness if I'm forced to be the first one to reestablish contact after the holidays. If the place were any less alluring, I would let it and her drift into the outer darkness. Has she even read my second email? Has she discussed it with the sellers? Was she so offended by the first email that she's "punishing" me by not communicating?
My one ace up my sleeve is that I can contact the sellers' lawyer, who if he hasn't heard about my idea would hopefully see the sense in it and the benefits for his clients. The one time I called him before, he was very furtive about his contact with the sellers and the realtor, promised communication that never occurred, and immediately phoned the realtor after we got off the phone, like some little sneaking rat. However, this characteristic of his would in this case be good because if the realtor hasn't passed this new suggestion on to him and the sellers she will get a nasty surprise when he calls her and asks why he wasn't told...maybe that will also give her the necessary incentive to communicate with me in a reliable, professional manner from now on.
There has got to be some way of motivating idiotic people to get things done in a sensible way. I suppose that anymore it's either brute force or bribery. If they had any brains, they'd see that my idea would net them an extra $9,000 without any expenditure- except for getting the necessary legalities done- on their part...but who knows if they've even been presented with the suggestion yet.
This is just a rant. Thanks for being the ten thousand solemn-faced monkeys. I'll go back to my hut now. :)
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You said, "I made it clear in my message to the realtor that considering that we've been in this hamster wheel for three months already the land must be completely legally ready for instant purchase before I make a serious offer or enter into a contract."

In my estimation, you are being unreasonable. If this is truly the opportunity you seek, you lessen your chances by taking such a hard stance. Make the offer and put in contingencies to protect yourself. You will need to put down earnest money, but thats what it means. It isn't a contract until everyone agrees. You specify the things you want done and the time frame. If they don't go along, you walk away. Quit wasting time. You have zero clout until you make an offer.

Good Luck!
I agree 100% with GoBug. It is up TO YOU to make a formal offer with a deposit of earnest money. Until then I wouldn't do much for you either if I were the seller as you are nothing more than a prospect, not a serious buyer. If the deal doesn't go through because of something which is seller related you get your earnest monies back.

Ken Scharabok
I have had my share of problems with realtors, but I have to agree with the crowd here. You need to put your ideas in writing in the form of an offer. I have never written an offer wherein I couldn't back out were it necessary. I have never had a problem getting my earnest money back. In fact, in most cases the check was never even deposited in the very early stages of negotiations. Realtors have to kiss a lot of frogs before they meet a real buyer. Time is money; don't waste yours or theirs ;-)
sometimes sellers aren't really that interested in selling;sometimes they are so unreasonable or so unrealistic that they NEVER get the property sold. i've seen this happen quite a few times.

i agree with the other responses you've had: make an offer, specify exactly how you want it to go, they can take it or leave it. at least if you submit a written offer the agent is obligated to present same to seller. (at least in the state where i've done most of my business). so you'll at least know it's been seen.

also, they just may be cagier than you think. maybe the non-responding is calculated to draw you out, get more out of you. it's always possible that if you stop communicating, they'll come looking for you. sometimes negotiations really do go on for months.
I agree with everyone else. You want them to do some work and make promises (that the land is legally ready to sell), yet you offer no evidence of serious intentions (earnest money) or even serious interest (an offer).

You are trying to do things backwards. The determination of clear title, etc. comes AFTER an offer is made. That is why it takes so long to buy property.

Go get your own lawyer or another realtor to help you draw up an offer, put some money with that and send that to them. If you really want this land, or any other, that is what you are going to have to do.

OK I'll take your side in this because I know where you're coming from. To make an offer on land that you don't have all of the information you want on it is foolish. See another post about septic woes after the land purchase.
Basically the real estate people want you to walk in with money and just blindly make an offer. They don't want to put any effort at all, except possibly advertising, into the sale of the real estate. They feel it's the sellers job to have everything in order. The seller on the other hand believes the realtor is or should do everything necessary to sell the land. What complicates this more is that with the real estate agent involved you don't have direct contact with the seller. As a buyer you actually have to provide motivation for them. Obviously their only motivation is easy money. So basically you have to do all of the research and leg work and then give them everything in writing and hope they'll follow through.
but you can make your offer contingent upon their clearing up whatever the issues are that you want fixed; if not done, and by the deadline you prescribe, then your offer expires and your earnest check is returned.
1. Go to register of deeds and find out whom the owners are.

2. Make a Certified offer to Realtor and send copy to owners.

3. Be prepared to follow through with your offer.

Buying land is journey and it takes a few steps from both parties to get it done. I've always did the grunge work myself. ( I like to be sure it's done right) Realtors can be a pain in the grits Most are :D But if you make it Crystal clear that you mean business They'll usually come around After all they want there $$$$$$$$$$.

Kenneth in NC
Hire your own realator as a BUYERS agent. The realators fees would then be divided by the sellers and buyers agents. No expense to you and less for the sellers realator that isnt doing his/her job to your satisfaction. The job of a buyers agent is to exclusively look at for your best interest.
I don't think I would do the buyer's agent suggestion, One leech is plenty. The only person any realtor feels any obligation to is themself. Again as someone else stated they only breathe when there is the smell of money in the air.
I respectfully disagree Beeman,

If you find a competant agent a Buyers agent is working for you. The listing realator is working for the seller.

The comission is paid through the seller of the property. If there is just the listing agent working for both parties then they recieve 100% of the comission. If you have 2 realators the comission is divided 50-50.

The is no out of pocket expnse for a buyers agent but you need to have a contract that says you are working with them exclusively. We have used a buyers agent on a couple of propeties we have purchased. It was most diffenatley in our best intrest to have our own realator representing our needs.
Add my vote to everyone elses. Realtors don't make money unless they sell property. Up to now, how does the realtor know you're not just out kicking tires. I don't think any seller is going to move until they hear the magic word "offer" and know that it's bonafide.
A while back someone asked where to find a reputable realtor. I believe the response was, right next door to the reputable lawyer and used car salesman.
I understand how a buying agent works but since you are the buyer and you are the one with the money bottom line is you're paying the realtor whether it's yours or theirs.
This is one reason I have really come to like buying at auction where it isn't subject to sellers approval. Reputable auctioneers will frequently have a title search already completed. Auctions also knock out the tire kickers real quick (even the ones that are trying for a real lowball bid, although I have seen some parcels go for amazingly cheap).

Took us a while to find our place but it worked for us. You just have to be somewhat flexible in terms of what you are considering (I believe that most properties in any price range have pluses and minuses.)

As usual, just my 2 cents.

Without an offer on the table, I'm surprised the realtor even bothers taking your calls.
No offer puts you in the category of "tire kicker".

Your offer can spell out everything you find essential to carry through with the tranaction. Naturally, you'll want the property free of liens, property taxes paid up to date, a warranty deed, etc. You may want a perk test or some sort of contingency that the land must perk.
Write it all in your offer.

SPELL IT OUT with your offer.

DO NOT consult a lawyer unless you have $$ to burn. The lawyer will tell you in no uncertain terms "I think we have a good case" the obscene legal fees ring up.

NOW.....quit whining about the poor realtor.....and give them something in writing!
You realize you dont actually NEED to have a realtor represent "your side"... You can opt to use the same realtor the sellers are using....
We ran into alot of the run around you are getting when we bought our land. Only ours involved a 92 yr old lady in a retirement home at the other end of the state from us and the land LOL... We gave leeway for her and her distance.. We however did NOT give leeway for stupid stuff like disclosures and improvements..Mainly because the office that was handling this property was perfectly capable of getting their butts in gear if properly motivated...We were in a 30 day escrow that got stretched to 60 due to the realtor not sending us disclosures until 1 week prior to our original closing date... Seems there was a wee matter of an easment that was sort of not mentioned. We made them remove it at thier expense... Who wants some water canal easment that was original designated for water run off from drilling for minerals running "Somewhere" on your property??? It was over 100 yrs old, not to mention water dredging isnt even legal anymore LOL....
Personal after 3 months I would be fuming... Perhaps this is the reason the land in question is still avail? I mean sheesh they either want to sell it or not..
As far as putting money up front all you have to do is write it into the papers that PRIOR to closing these things must be done, which at closing will be reimbursed... We put up NO MONEY up front when we got this place. The seller recieved no money until it closed escrow. Mainly because what happens if you have your money up front, say you pay for work they agreed to do etc, if your escrow falls out you are out the money.
You could of course put the money into an escrow account that is held until closing, that way if it falls out you dont loose money.
What exactly is sooo special about this particular stretch of dirt??
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If people know what they are doing, and you already have your financing approved, you can close in a week. Your top selling real estate agents have a team of professionals working for them (like admin people) and with them (quality repair people, mortgage/title company people, etc.) Usually people drag out escrow because they're having trouble qualifying for a loan, or any work needing to be done on the property takes time or is weather-delayed, etc. With a conventional mortgage you can close as fast as you can meet all of your contingencies (needed repairs, inspections, disclosures, etc.). VA, FHA loans always have long escrows.

Part of the reason much work is not done before putting a house on the market or having a bona fide offer is that I believe there is a limited time frame for deducting repair work as "selling expenses", and if your property sits on the market too long and doesn't sell, you lose the deductibility.

Depending on where you live, they won't lift a finger without not only an offer, but earnest money (I've seen $500, I've seen $1000) to boot, and it should be in an escrow account. You don't need a "buyer's agent", unless you can be sure that they are receiving no compensation at all from the seller (that is, NO commission split, NO bonus, NO finder's fee, etc.) because if they are, or if they tell you that "oh the seller pays it in escrow", believe me, there is no incentive for them to do the best job for you, which should include pointing out every possible defect in the property that you can use to get a lower price. Any fee based on the price of the house and they're in direct conflict with you, so you might as well use the seller's agent--at least you know up front who they're working for.
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Escrow is a California (and maybe some other states) thing. Most places don't do escrow. They look at you funny if you mention it.

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