The past few days have been an exercise in fun and games. I had been accused of breaking a dishwasher. It was my opinion that this was said to provide a negotiating position on the seller's side because of the multiplicity of things wrong with the house and their apparent unwillingness to address them.
The selling agent had been receiving numerous emails from the listing agent and was overwhelmed with the barrage. The other agent and the sellers "were very upset!" She had been forwarding them to me because it seemed that other things that weren't right with the house were becoming MY FAULT too.
AGAIN, THE PEOPLE SHADOWING ME THE WHOLE TIME KNEW WHAT I HAD DONE AND NOT DONE AT THE INSPECTION. I SAW THOSE THINGS MENTIONED ABOUT ME AS A NEGOTIATING TACTIC.
Fed up I decided to do something probably beyond my purview, but I was becoming the negotiating issue. I INSERTED MYSELF. So I called the listing agent. Flustered, but short, she shot off a list of things that I obviously broke, which I wrote down, and she told me to call the seller. IT TURNS OUT THE SELLER IS HER BROTHER!
I called him immediately before she could warn him!
When he heard my name he became immediately polite, even humble. I read people very well. It seemed the little negotiating cabal was falling apart.
I asked him specifically what was wrong with the dishwasher and how my simply turning it on could have caused that.
He mumbled something about a funny noise "for a minute" after they turned it on that night, but the sound went away and they had run it twice since and, "I guess it wasn't broken after all."
<---------- That got my ire up, but I was calm. Now I was not only speaking with him but battling this little guy on my shoulder. He had changed the Pat Benatar song a bit and was singing "Hit Him With Your Best Shot!" I resisted.
Among other things, apparently I had also broken the sump pump and one of the kitchen circuits. (the sump was unplugged and made no sound when I plugged it in; the remodeled kitchen was apparently wired by a stone mason and was a total joke). Asking about each of them he admitted:
- He unplugged the sump pump years ago because he had heard that if the pit was empty it shouldn't be plugged in (WHAT!?). When he looked at it after the inspection it looked really rusty. It "probably doesn't work now."
- The pantry light doesn't come on and he thought it was the circuit breaker, and that I had done something. "Is the breaker on now? (yes) You do realize that breaker on or off shouldn't have anything to do with the pantry light, don't you? (yes) Look at the GFI receptacle beside the sink. Is it tripped? (yes) Then push the button now. (he did and the light came on) You do realize that the GFI should not control the pantry light, right? (yes) So I didn't break it? (no, you didn't)
We went through a couple of other things, and they were fine too. My thinking this was a negotiating ploy was correct and that the brother had folded! I politely thanked him for his time and told him to call me anytime he has a question about his house. (A Scout is helpful, friendly, courteous and kind)
The Little Devil left my shoulder in disgust. I think he bit my ear.
I emailed the selling agent and my clients and told them that the problems were no more, and in fact never existed, and to have very good luck dealing with that other agent.
In reply, I got a simple email back from the agent.
"Thank you Jay. You are a little angel."
My recommendation: when you think the "other party" is taking an irrational negotiating position, politely get to the bottom of it and tackle it head on because they may be hiding something! But be nice! Flies are more easily caught with honey...
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC
Based in Bristow, serving all of Northern Virginia.
Office (703) 330-6388 Cell (703) 585-7560