The homebuying process can get pretty interesting when buyers and sellers have outlandish demands. Here are a few particularly strange stories.
The process of buying and selling a home is fairly simple when you look at it from a distance. One person provides money, and the other person provides a deed, a set of keys, and an empty house. Up close, the process is more complicated.
Most people need mortgage financing in order to buy a home, which adds a lot of paperwork. Other factors also come into play, such as property taxes, homeowner’s insurance, and various fees. Buyers and sellers have a great deal of flexibility to add extra terms to the deal on top of all the requirements.
Sometimes a strange request helps a deal go through, and sometimes it derails the whole thing. Here are a few examples of outlandish demands from both buyers and sellers.
Bizarre Seller Demands
Housing has been in short supply since at least 2020, meaning that some sellers feel they have room to add some extra requirements to their buyers. This can lead to some strange seller demands.
"The dogs come with the house."
An article in Money has accounts from several real estate agents about sellers who insisted that the buyers were also buying their pets. In one case, a seller had a golden retriever named Jimmy who “was born in the house and had an emotional attachment to it.” The seller felt that it would be best for Jimmy to remain in the house he’d known his whole life. The agent was able to find a buyer willing to take a house that came with a dog.
You can take some of it with you.
The Money article also describes sellers who insisted on taking parts of the house or the property with them when they moved out. Examples include:
A high-tech toilet seat
All of the kitchen and hallway floor tiles
Trees in the backyard
While a toilet seat is reasonably easy to replace, removing the other features left bare floors and large holes in the ground. If buyers are not fully on board with the plan, this could cause problems with the sale.
Listing houses without an intent to actually sell?
A Reddit user described overhearing a real estate agent friend having an angry exchange with someone over the phone. The friend said that every agent in town knew the person on the phone and knew not to accept listings from him. He apparently viewed listing his house as a “hobby,” as he had listed it multiple times, but kept taking it back off the market despite receiving generous offers.
Bizarre Buyer Demands
Buyers can make odd demands as well.
Demanding a face-to-face meeting.
Some people seem to enjoy confrontation. This was apparently the case at a closing described by a real estate agent where the buyer threatened to walk away from the deal if the seller didn’t show up. The buyer said they wanted to give the seller and the seller’s agent a piece of their mind about how poorly they thought the whole process had gone.
There were two problems with this plan. First, the seller was never supposed to be at the closing in the first place. Second, the seller was a bank, so there was no single person for the buyer to yell at. Sounds like a juicy episode of reality television.
"Any window will do."
Requests for repairs are a common part of the homebuying negotiation process. Sometimes the requests can be strange, sometimes they can be vague, and sometimes they’re both. A Reddit user described a buyer who asked their friend, the seller, to replace four windows. They did not specify which four windows. When asked by the seller’s agent, the buyer’s agent said something to the effect of “just pick 4 of them.”
Photo by Pixabay from Pexels
"Where have all the flowers gone?"
A mortgage lender on Reddit described watching a buyer and seller get into a “massive fight” at closing over the perennials that had been in the yard.
The contract made it clear that the seller would be taking all of them, but the buyer must not have read that part. After doing a walkthrough shortly before closing, the buyer noticed that all of the plants were gone. They threatened to walk away from a $300,000 deal because of it, even though the seller was 100% in the right.
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