Friday, April 20, 2012

Sold! Almost

The villa is just about sold.  I have had an offer, there is a contract with no contingencies, and most important, the buyers have sent their deposit.  The final sale will take place in June when we will all go to the notary, sign the critical papers, and pay (they’ll pay me and I’ll pay my bank).

I lowered the price significantly towards the end of February and since then the villa was shown more than 20 times by numerous agents.  I kept a list so I could follow up with the agents, but in the end there were so many people coming in the same day with offers flying left and right, that I gave up trying to keep track of it all.

I would describe the system here of selling real estate except that I don’t consider it a system.  It is a method of invoking chaos and rattling nerves.

There is no multiple listing service.  If you list with only one agent, only the buying clients of that agent will see your property.  Some agents cooperate with other agents, but it still means that your property will reach a very limited buying public.

If you are a buyer, you are likely to have to work with several agents in order to see a good portion of the local market.  Agents will only tell buyers about properties that they have listed unless they are collaborating with another agency.  This also means that all agents end up representing both the buyer and the seller.

So you list with more than one agency.  You list with two, or three, or four, or more.  I ended up with 14.  Too many, you say?  Oh, I don’t know.  Frankly, there was nothing else I could do to get the house sold but to list with a variety of agents who would have a variety of clients, and to lower the price.  A few agents were local and a few others were from further away.  And in fact, the one who was the furthest away sent three clients, one of whom made a kind-of offer.  A kind-of offer is one that has nothing written and no cash with it.  They made their offer to the agent who told me and I accepted.  Then they disappeared for a couple of days – didn’t answer the agent’s phone calls or her emails.  Today I received a note in my mailbox, dated two days ago (mail is only delivered every few days so I don’t check the box daily) that they didn’t understand my attitude.  I don’t know what they expected.

During the last two weeks there was a lot of talk but few meaningful actions.  How could someone think a seller would block the sale of their property for a verbal offer from a person who disappears?  But this was not the only such person.  One of the others forked over 300 euros before avoiding phone calls and disappearing.  At least I got to keep that money. 

But to tell you the truth, for all the stress of people offering to buy, some offering full price and some offering less, you thinking you’ve got a sale, thinking you can tell the others the house is taken, but you don’t because until money it put down, there is no obligation to buy, the 300 euros wasn’t worth it.

I lost the first offer partly because the people disappeared and I thought they weren’t serious and partly because my main agent (that is, the one who showed the property the most and who did finally sell it) thought she had someone who was a sure bet and they were willing to pay full asking price and sign an offer immediately.  In the end they disappeared too but not before causing me some grief and disappointment.

At this point, I’m just glad it’s all over and really happy that the villa is being sold.  I’ll have to do extra meditations to get my nerves calmed down.  It was something I’ve wanted for a long time and it’s finally happened.  My next step will be to find a new place to live.

Unfortunately what should have been a very happy day for me has been greatly saddened by two friends of mine, wonderful women, who told me they have cancer: Trini, here in the village and Shellie in Pittsburgh, a good friend of mine since the age of 12.  GET WELL!!!!  


  1. Congratulations, Dvora! Will you make the leap across the border to France? Have fun with your transition, wherever it takes you.

  2. Thanks Janet. I still have France in mind but there are some problems with moving there that I haven't solved yet. I'll probably just rent for a while in northern Catalunya, not far from the French border, and see how things pan out. It would certainly be easier to stay in Catalunya where I speak the language.

  3. Oh what good news! Well about the house of course. I'm sorry to hear about your friends. One is bad enough, but two on one day is a bit much isn't it?

  4. Oh I'm so happy for you, Dvora! This should give you the more freedom you've wanted.

    And I'm sorry about the friends. That's heavy-heart stuff. :-(

  5. Thanks Bekah! Haven't seen hide nor hair (or is it hare?) of you in ages.

  6. That's quite a story, especially for a former realtor. When you bought the place in Barcelona, it all happened from afar, as I remember. Do you still own it?
    Perhaps you should try to institute a Multiple Listing Service and rake in the dough! At any rate, Mazel tov!
    And I, too, am terribly sorry to hear about your friends. I hope they'll both beat the crap out of the big, ugly "C"!

  7. I sold the Barcelona apartment years ago. I have spoken with several people in the business about starting an MLS, describing how it works. They are very very resistent. All they can think about is having the largest commission possible, they don't want to share anything, they don't trust each other (probably for good reason) they can't conceive of hanging a secruity box with keys, just "no, no, no." If someone else ever succeeds, they will have my respect!