Friday, January 12, 2007

The Nerve

Warning: I am about to go off on a major tirade/rant. If you are offended by the F-bomb, you may wish to stop reading now. Because I'm dropping A LOT of them. Also, if you are in the construction business or legitimately flip houses for a living and pay fair prices, my apologies. I'm not talking to you. I'm talking to real estate vultures, the ones who pick the bones of the dead and prey on naivety and lack of knowledge to their own benefits. You know who you are. You probably don't read blogs like this anyway, because Knitters are NICE people and your type isn't nice.

OK... you can't say you weren't warned. I almost considered not posting this out of fear of offending someone or coming off as too harsh, but then, I resolved to be more authentic this year, and this is nothing if not authentic. I authentically feel exactly this way right this very minute.

If you're still with me, the topic is my Grandma's house in Southern Ohio, which passed to me and my sister through inheritance from my Mother. For years, my poor Mother received calls from several people pestering her about wanting to buy the house, which has gone downhill considerably over the years despite being rented out. The potential buyers made insultingly low offers, which my Mother turned down. I mean, insultingly low. All the calls start out the same, follow the same pattern, and end the same. Lowball City.

Since she died, and I've been living in their house with the same phone number, I've been the recipient of said calls. I changed the message on my machine and told them if you're callling about the House, call the real estate agent at 555-555-5555 (television fake number substituted here for the real number). Because I don't WANT to come home to a bunch of messages saying "please call me, I want to buy the house".


Just a few minutes ago, I received ANOTHER call from a Gusher ("oh I used to live on Blablah Road down here in Southern Ohio, just up the road from your house down here, I just loooooove the house, I've always wanted to live there, drove by it every day, yadda yadda yadda...) followed by a measly offer.

The phone rang. What possessed me to answer it rather than let the machine get it like I usually do is beyond me. I hear a woman ask if this is our residence. I reply in the affirmative. She launches into her spiel. She tells me her name, including her maiden name like that's gonna mean something to me. She SAID she'd "called the number on the message but the real estate agent said the house wasn't listed for sale". I'm thinking, Yeah. Exactly. So why the hell are you calling ME? What part of "call this other number" did you not understand? (It's been a long exhausting week, and this Knitter gets crabby on no sleep.)

I said "That's correct."

She gushed some more. I interjected with the appropriate uh-huhs and ok's and let her divulge. That's my practice. I learned it from my lawyer. Don't respond. Just stay silent and let them talk. Eventually they get around to telling you things they don't want to tell you if you wait long enough.

Hubby's in construction. Like I was a bit surprised to hear that. You and everyone else that's called about the house, lady. They fixed up the house they're living in right now. Good for you. How does this apply to me? I don't need replacement doors or windows if that's what you're offering.

She finally got around to the real reason for calling. They are interested in buying the house (of course). Could she make an offer?

I told her the house was still in probate and we weren't even certain we were going to sell the house at all, but she persisted so I said, "sure (whatever), go ahead..." thinking, this ought to be good.

She said, with a straight face, I'm assuming, "Well, it's in such bad shape... we'd be willing to go as high as $75,000."

I laughed in her face. Well, into the phone, anyway.

I said, "That's not even CLOSE to what we'd consider. It's not even close to the appraisal".

She said, "Well, but the appraisal cost was done for tax purposes and doesn't reflect the real value of the house."

I said, "Darn tootin'. And they appraised it much LOWER than the actual true value of the house BECAUSE it was for tax purposes and they intentionally go lower than the potential sales price to keep the estate taxes lower."


(OK, I didn't actually say "darn tootin'" but I felt like it.)

She said (kind of snottily), "But the house is in pretty bad shape. There is a huge crack in the foundation and—"

I said (equally snotty), "I'm aware of that. But the value is not in the house, it's in the land it's sitting on." (It did not occur to me at that moment that she'd been tromping around peering through the underbrush at the foundation. Tromping around. On MY property. Uninvited.)

She was silent for a moment. (Yeah. That's right. I'm not as think as you dumb I am, lady.)

She said, "Well what WAS the appraisal price?"

I said, "I believe all that information is publicly available", dripping ice now because the only place she could have gotten my number was from Public Records.

She was actually rude to me and said "well do you suppose we could get in there and look around and maybe raise it a bit?"

NO. You may not. Because we have no current plans to sell but we'll keep your number on file (round file) and WE will call YOU (in your dreams) IF and when we decide to pursue that route. (Besides, didn't I just tell you forget what the HOUSE looks like, it's the LAND you're after and we both know it?)

I ended the call pretty quickly after that. While I steamed, I realized I should have added, "AND, the next time you think it's OK to just go 'round and check out the condition of the foundation, why don't you read that clearly-posted NO TRESPASSING sign a little closer (or doesn't it apply to YOU, because you're special, because in your mind, you already own it?).

That's right.

YOU are TRESPASSING. On PRIVATE PROPERTY. You have NOT been given permission to set tire nor foot on MY PRIVATE PROPERTY, no matter how empty or run down you think it looks. It DOES NOT BELONG TO YOU.

Dear Overly-Interested Opportunists Parties:

My answering machine message CLEARLY STATES that all calls inquiring about the house MUST be directed to the real estate agent. I'm sorry if they didn't give you the answer you wanted to hear, but that doesn't mean I will either! In fact, YOU just cost yourself serious points. Anyone who persistently calls and pesters me about the house will be DECLINED if they make an offer. I am NOT willing to deal with you if you cannot respect my wishes, my PROPERTY and my golllld damned answering machine message because you think it'll get you an "in". Or a jump on it over the public.


The reason I want people to call Real Estate Agent is because I do NOT want to be BOTHERED by you people! I am NOT interested in fielding 20 phone calls a week from similarly-gushing individuals raving about the house. I HAVE A LIFE. I am IN SCHOOL. I do not have TIME to listen to your big fat line of bullshit. Because we both know that's all it is. BULL. SHIT. Every fucking one of you starts out the same. Rave, glorify, sentimentalize, gush, lurrrrrvvveeee. Followed by such a shame, bad condition, we realize it's a pile of timber but we loooooooooooooooooove it sooooooo much (poor, stway wittle house that just needs someone to wuv it again). Followed by an admission intended to warm me up and prove to me that YOU are different, YOU can take care of her the way she needs to be, because you and/or your hubby are "in construction" and "did all the work on the house we're living in now" and you actually have the gall to think I'm stupid enough to fall for that crap. You think I can't see through your thinly-veiled white lie about your real nature.

I know what you are.

YOU, my dear caller, are an OPPORTUNIST.

You are a vampire.

You are looking for a hapless victim off of which to feed.

What you really want, c'mon, just admit it (oh that's right, honesty is a foreign territory to you, my bad)—what you want to do is buy the house super duper cheap. Then, you'll either fix it up... or (more likely) tear it down and put up new construction. If you're a smart vampire, you'll also clear cut the field, divide it up, and sell IT off—with three new construction houses on it—houses that are less expensive for you to build than for most people because you are "in the biz" and get wholesale prices and can do the work y'selfs.

Then, you'll turn around and sell them, and turn your *cough choke gag snort* $75k investment *giggle* into dang near a million.

And what'll I get? $75,000, less closing costs. (Half, actually, split with the sister.)


Go bite someone else and leave me the fuck alone. If you really loved me the house, you'd pay whatever it took to have the privilege of owning it. No price would be too high. You wouldn't insult me AND the house by offering meager pennies, and you wouldn't blanche in outrage when I ask for at least the much-higher-and-only-that- low-for-tax-purposes appraisal cost, which we, as instructed by the Lawyer and the Probate Court's estate rules, must sell it for, minimum. You'd honor that, gracefully.

And the rest of you who think you'll beat 'em to the punch and be able to convince me to sell it to you before it's listed if you override my request and call me instead of the real estate agent?

Get. In. Line. I think it starts somewhere around Milwaukee.


At 12:22 AM, January 13, 2007, Blogger tiennieknits said...

I was told that your blog is like your living room in which you ask people to visit. So that means you can act anyway you please in your living room, right?

I can't believe the nerve of some people! They really are vultures and the worse part is that they act like they're doing you a favor when they know they are going to come out better than you. I can't believe people are tromping on your property!

At 11:11 PM, January 20, 2007, Anonymous Juls said...

this is appalling! I am a real estate attorney and the things I've heard from clients about how others have taken advantage of them is just awful. I get steamed hearing about these things.


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