How (not) to sell a fourplex — Part II: Angry Bird Boogaloo

How to sell a fourplex — the lessons learned

Angry BirdsWelcome to Part II of my saga on how to sell a fourplex.

In the last episode we learned how I went from mid-level, average pay employee to suddenly relatively wealthy in a very short time period. Having grown up as a dirt-poor farm boy, I was desperate to not blow my opportunity. I put some of my windfall into two fourplexes, one of which I sold some time ago. When we last left our story, it was spring and I had just received an offer on my fourplex. 

After years of trying, I couldn’t believe what I was seeing: A legitimate offer from a well-funded buyer who was already pre-approved and ready to go. The offer wasn’t for full price, reflecting the current buyers’ market. But I’d raised my price by $20,000 over the previous year’s selling price so I was still in great shape. I assumed there would be some requested repairs but my starting place was so much better than the prior year.

I was also much smarter about the preparation on the front-end this time. My realtor and I met my property manager at the building and did a walk-through to try and catch any obvious surprises that might scare away a potential buyer. I hadn’t actually been to the site in years and was hoping to never see it in-person again, but there I was, once again smelling that distinct aroma that for some reason only rentals give off.

Why would I sell?

My reason for selling was half emotional and half practical. I could make a convincing argument for holding it or for selling it just depending on how I looked at things.

The practical side:

  • I had been theoretically living off this income since I left my last corporate hellscape. Unfortunately the maintenance costs had been running very high (mostly due to various improvements aimed at selling it).
  • I was at the point where the kitchens and bathrooms needed a major overhaul if I was going to keep it. At at least $5,000 for each, that’s $40,000 more I’d need to invest in the building. And that’s if I did the work. And I couldn’t really even do that myself right now while I take care of Pretired Baby so I’d really need to pay someone to do it for me, dragging the price even higher. It’d take awhile to make that back. If I was honest, it really should be completely replumbed and rewired as well. Essentially the building was reaching the end of its useful life. Nothing really “wrong,” just basically wearing out.
  • Now that I was in a place where it was becoming possible to sell it, I began looking around at other investment opportunities. When I did the math on what I could earn by reinvesting my money elsewhere, I could clearly do better or at least as well in another avenue. Additionally I was watching some great single family homes go for dirt cheap. (I missed out on the best deals already because I couldn’t get my funds out of this property.) I did my best to look at the situation dispassionately: If I were a ruthless corporate holding company, would I continue to invest in and hold an under-performing business unit? Or would I eventually cut my losses and reallocate the funds in a better performing place?
  • The clincher: aluminum wiring. The building was built in the 1970s, which was the source of nearly all its headaches. Now I advise people to avoid buying anything built in the ’70s, but before I was such a brilliant person I blundered into buying something built during this cursed decade. There are many problems directly related to the cheap construction of this era, but the worst one was the aluminum wiring. Now electricians will tell you that aluminum wiring isn’t necessarily “unsafe”, especially if it’s maintained correctly. Its two main problems are that aluminum expands and contracts at a higher rate than copper, causing connections to loosen over the years, and, more importantly, it doesn’t mix well with copper, which is what you’ll find in every electrical device  you can buy. The mixed connections will heat up and can even cause a fire. So while it wasn’t an imminent danger and I always took very good care of the electrical system, it was always a worry.

The emotional side:

  • Like I said the building needed significant modernization if it was to remain a viable rental. They were pretty nice units as rentals in this sector of the market go, but beyond just being a little rough around the edges, they really needed to be brought up to modern standards. And I was just sick of dealing with them.
  • Tenant hassles. Although I fortunately didn’t have to deal with tenants directly, I was still dealing indirectly with all the stupid nonsense that takes place. And even when it wasn’t extra costs due to a renter throwing their trash outside instead of actually putting it into a garbage can, it was someone not paying their rent or bringing in a prohibited pet cat and stinking up the place.
  • Even beyond the aforementioned aluminum wiring, every year (especially around christmas) there were occasional news reports of a tenant burning down an apartment building. The most common cause seemed to be overloaded electrical outlets (multiple extension cords and plug expanders on one outlet) followed by smoking or candles. I never had any problems, but I was always worried about a tenant doing something stupid.
  • Although the cashflow was normally good, it never failed that a big repair would coincide with a vacancy. So while the building did OK on a yearly basis, it wasn’t exactly a reliable stream of income.
  • Feeling trapped. While I’m still a big believer in real estate investing and find it actually pretty hard to lose money with real estate, it’s obviously not very liquid. When the market took a big downturn, I was salivating at the cheap stocks and houses for sale but I didn’t have the free cash to pounce. Frustrating!

So after putting my doubts to rest, I decided at minimum I was in the win-win situation. Either I’d sell and reallocate my money to some place more lucrative, or I’d hold it and pocket another year’s rent. Which is why I now found myself walking through my units after all these years, trying to see them through the eyes of a potential buyer.

Actually, the place was in great shape. The best shape it’d been in since it was built, probably. There wasn’t much to request. I asked for some dirt to be evened out in the backyard, a new light fixture cover, a few other minor repairs, but generally there wasn’t much to complain about. The roof was brand new, fixed the prior year after some potential buyers complained it was feeling soft (it was due anyway). I replaced the gutters and brought in fresh bark to spiff up the street view. There were still some signs that birds had been accessing some areas in the attic space and I asked the property manager to have someone come out and seal that up a little better.

After my walk-through, I had to think about it a bit. Did I really want to sell? After all, it looked like something I’d consider buying today, even knowing what I know. Maybe I should hold another year and pocket a little more rent? After all the market could run up another year or even have a nice jump. But in the end, I knew my reasoning was sound and even if I could squeeze a little more money out of it by waiting another year, I knew I was done.

An offer — immediately

We polished up the listing paperwork, threw it out on the internet.  My realtor was very nervous about my strategy of raising the price so substantially (we’d be the highest-priced fourplex in the area and hardly anything had been selling). But I wanted to present a show of strength — I wasn’t a short-sale. I didn’t need to sell at all. Buy a great building at a fair price, people!

Well, imagine our surprise when an offer came through right away. A little below my asking price, but still higher than I’d tried to sell it for the year before. And it was clean. The buyer’s realtor boasted of his clients “business sophistication” and how well-funded he was. We accepted the offer and braced ourselves for the inspection phase.

It was some time around this point when I was informed that one of the tenants wasn’t paying and couldn’t be reached. So it was time to launch an eviction process on top of everything else.

Anything that involves gaining access to the interior of a rented unit takes a lot longer than you think it would. You either have to work around tenant schedules or you have to post legal notice and wait a couple days to get access. Plus I now had a wildcard. Would the tenant simply be gone or would there be a stubborn refusal to cooperate? Would the unit be destroyed in the middle of this transaction? Would the buyer walk away?

So it was nearly a week later that we got the inspection response back from the buyer. And the response was they wanted further inspection. The roof apparently still seemed soft in a few places (even though it was brand-new). They wanted to cut holes in the upper units to gain access to the attic space — WTF?

Would I ever close?

There were no attic access panels in my building at all — something I’d never noticed or thought about before. In retrospect, it was a little surprising that the inspector didn’t notice that when I bought it. I greatly dreaded letting someone cut into my ceiling. For one, who knows what they’d find? Did a $50,000 problem lurk up there unbeknownst to me? The unit where the cutting-in would need to be done would be in a unit where a new tenant had just moved in. How annoyed would this tenant be with the noise and drywall dust? Plus, I felt terrible that I’d have to disrupt this poor person’s life again.

In the end, however, I decided it was reasonable that a buyer want to look up there. After all, if I said no, they’d assume I was hiding something, so I acquiesced.

Now in the 1970s, developers here in the Seattle area tried to replicate a lucrative strategy from California. It was pretty simple: Build a lot of cheap housing and flip the buildings off to hungry investors. Unfortunately they also tried replicating the construction techniques, the silliest of which was a flat roof design. One thing you might have heard about the Seattle area is that we have this thing called “rain” here. Sometimes a lot of it. In the area where my property was located you get a ton of it.

Once the inspector peeked up into my attic, we learned that my building had once been a flat-roof construction and the sloped part was added later as sort of a superstructure sitting on the top. Worse, the inspector felt it was flimsy and had even been built with scrap materials. Naturally the buyers acted as if this was an extreme hazard (even though the building had already lived through 40 years of rain, snow and wind without any problems). They demanded it be rebuilt to modern code. This was a big problem because not only would it cause big delays and be expensive, but the tenant impacts could be significant.

Additionally they reported there were STILL BIRDS living in the attic.

So we managed to talk them into a credit for the roof so that we could close sooner (ouch!). We sent the contractor back out AGAIN to deal with the birds. He did some additional sealing and assured us that this time it was definitely all sealed up.

Feeling like we were finally in good shape, the buyers did another reinspection and quite indignantly told us several items hadn’t been completed. Aaaarggh! Worse, they said the building still had birds penetrating the structure and what were we trying to pull?

Our contractor went back out once again and did find one spot where there still some birds. They were babies and in a corner where he couldn’t reach. He could seal them up inside, but we none of us wanted to do that. He agreed to leave a gap so the cheeping babies could escape when they were old enough and told the buyers we weren’t baby bird killers so that would have to be good enough.

A wackjob realtor

Early on in the process I began to get the sense that buyer’s agent wasn’t playing with a full deck. The tone of his emails were disproportionately indignant and there was always a lot of complaining that his buyer was “taking all the risk”. Worse, he became increasingly dishonest, abusive and rude. On top of that we experienced occasional passive-aggressive behavior where he wouldn’t respond to emails and calls from my agent and wouldn’t rationally discuss how to work through the various issues to reach a closing. Somehow we had blundered into a deal with a nightmare opposing realtor.

As the months rolled by, I began to regret not listening to my instincts. I should have canceled out of this deal as soon as I realized I was dealing with an unprofessional nutjob.

I am a very good negotiating partner. Having taken negotiation training, I go into all my deals knowing my walk-away point and work cooperatively with my opposing partner to reach agreement. If we can’t reach agreement, it’s based on our interests not being aligned and both sides typically walk away feeling OK about the interaction. So I was willing to accept nearly any reasonable request. After months of dealing with this psycho, however, I told my realtor I was done. If they asked for even $100 more the answer was no and I would flush the deal. I had completely had it.

Fortunately(?) my realtor was able to talk me down and held things together and we finally reached the point where all sides were satisfied and we were on to the closing.

Just one hurdle left: the birds. Would they be satisfied with our plan? To make everything extra legit, I had a pest control company go out and tell us what should be done. They suggested some additional screening be added on top of what the contractor had done. So once again, we had him go out and seal up the building, leaving a gap so the baby birds could escape when they were old enough. Everyone finally seemed satisfied.

I’m brushing over a lot of detail and back-and-forth that took place. It was endless. I lost track of how many close-date extensions I signed, but it was several. But finally, we just had to wait for the closing paperwork from the lender to come through and we’d be there. Just a few more days.

I got the invite to sign papers. My wife and I went out to an expensive dinner to celebrate and I started to relax.

D’oh!

As you might expect, the dinner was premature. The next day, I got a call from my realtor. “I hope you didn’t crack open that bottle of wine yet,” he said. There was a hold-up on the lender side. Turns out my brilliant, well-qualified, “business-savvy” buyer thought it’d be a really good idea to buy another house right in the middle of our close. Um, what?

The lenders had to re-analyze the situation. We signed another extension. And waited. I started thinking about next steps in the event we didn’t close. I’d need to fill the vacant unit asap. Since summer was now nearly over, I could keep it listed, but it’d be unlikely to get another offer before winter kicked in so I began thinking about rehabbing the units.

Finally the call came in: the lender was still going to make the loan, but they would have to redraw the paperwork. Because it would put us past the 15th of the month, I’d need to make another mortgage payment (which should be refunded back to me later). Annoying!

In the meantime, the contractor swung by, noticed the baby birds had flown away, and sealed up the final gap in the building.

Finally the day came. It sounded like the paperwork would be processed by noon and we should be closed by 3 p.m. Amazing! I kept my phone handy all day, frequently checking my phone to make sure I was still signed in to Google Voice (see my lower cell phone bill project for background!) Then the call: No, I wasn’t closing. The lending paperwork wasn’t in yet and could be another week. At this point, I pretty much gave up. If it closes, fine, if it doesn’t, whatever. I. Was. So. Done.

But the next week, the call I was waiting for came in from escrow: the deal was closed. The paperwork arrived via email later that day.

That night I slept the long, deep sleep of the relieved and awoke to a shiny summer morning. A cool breeze was blowing in the window and everything felt clean and carefree.

The next day I called my property manager to let him know we no longer owned the building. He sounded relieved after months of hassle. “That’s good timing,” he said. “I just got off the phone with a tenant. Her shower isn’t working. I’ll let the new owner know.”

Postscript: lessons learned

Looking back, I can now see I made many errors throughout the ordeal, many of which were caused by my emotional desire to move on with my life. Fortunately I was in the win-win position where I was OK if we sold and OK if we didn’t sell. Here are a few of the lessons I learned, just in case it helps anyone else down the road:

  • Don’t be bullied. I’ve always found the best way to deal with bullies is to stand up to them (they’re nearly always so stunned someone is saying no that they collapse immediately). But in this case my posture was too accommodating. I wanted to be helpful, transparent and honest. They took advantage of my attitude and I should have put a stop to their craziness long before I finally did.
  • Say no to stupid requests. One of my dumber blunders was agreeing to do the sewer inspection for them. I just agreed to it without thinking, since it seemed like a small thing. Later I was like, “Why the hell am I doing their inspections for them?” I knew better and fumbled right into that one. I’m sure the buyer got a good laugh out of that one. Fortunately for me, my realtor agreed it was a blunder and he picked up the tab for that.
  • Make sure tenants are stable before you list. We were very close to having an empty unit filled when we decided to list. The vacant unit made for a nice convenience since the prospective buyer could view the empty unit and make sure they were fine with the basic set-up before making an offer and requesting access to the other units. However in the midst of the sale process, another tenant stopped paying, triggering an eviction. That meant the buyer would be buying a half-empty unit, sending up all kinds of red flags. In my case they buyer wasn’t sophisticated enough to understand the potential impacts, but it could have been a major problem. Most worrying for me, was that the lender could actually hold up the deal until all units were full. In the end, it was just an additional stress point, but it didn’t have any real impact. The buyer asked us to fill the unit where the eviction had taken place and we in turn asked if they had a lease they wanted us to use or if they wanted to review the potential renters first. They never responded to our questions on that so the building actually closed with just three units full.
  • Place time limits. Earlier on I should have realized they were just toying with me, signed a final two-week extension and let them suck it. But I kept playing along until the very end.
  • Refuse additional inspection. Now for something reasonable, I think it’s only fair to allow further inspection. But my building had been operating just fine for 40 years without issue. To allow someone to cut into a tenant’s unit to look for trouble was a bad idea. I should have refused. They may have backed out of the deal, but I would have been left then with a sane buyer or another year of rent.
  • Pre-inspect your own building. It wouldn’t have saved me from a ton of hassle in my case, but I could have avoided a few glitches by hiring my own inspector first. I think it’s definitely a good idea.
  • Hire a local realtor who knows the area and who knows multifamily. I love my realtor and I especially like that he knows how to hold deals together, but his distance from the property did create some hassle and if he’d been local he would have known the buyer’s agent was a loon and we could have avoided a mess early-on. He also didn’t have a ton of multifamily experience. That was OK but it could have been helpful if he had a little more savvy in that area.
  • Don’t deal with crazy. In the latter years of my working career, I pretty much just stopped dealing with crazy people (which is harder than it sounds given that at least 30% of the workforce is basically nuts). I should have backed away once I saw I was dealing with a crazy person. Instead I tried to fight through it, causing myself all kinds of stress.

Maybe one of these days I’ll write up some advice on owning rentals in general. But hopefully if anyone out there is looking to sell a fourplex, some of this advice will be helpful.

Let me know what you think! How badly did I botch this deal? What else could I have done differently? 

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31 Thoughts on “How (not) to sell a fourplex — Part II: Angry Bird Boogaloo

  1. I’ve never bought a house, let alone a fourplex so I wouldn’t know whether you botched the deal. I think you did fine and it was probably a good decision to sell. It seemed like it was getting to be a headache…sure the cashflow was probably good at times, but as you mentioned that renovations were probably needed and that the place had reached the end of its useful life…probably better to sell it at this point. The whole negotiating process with the buyer seemed like an even bigger headache though…and the way you described the buyer’s agent…can’t stand those types!
    Andrew@LivingRichCheaply recently posted…Week in ReviewMy Profile

  2. I’ve helped out with some real estate sales at work, and some of the requests that come through are ridiculous!

    We had one offer that was contingent on the seller agreeing to fully remediate any mold issues to the buyer’s specifications WITHOUT A TIME LIMIT. Seriously. This read like the biggest loophole ever. If there’s mold discovered in the unit in inspection, they could either buy it as is or leave. Full stop. Just like any other inspection.

    Another offer involved a property swap. “We’ll buy the property for $X + this land we bought last year and decided we don’t want anymore.” What? Why would the seller want your random land?

    And I have mixed feelings about letting a potential buyer damage the property during the inspection process. Typically contracts read that any damage incurred during the inspection process needs to be fixed by the potential buyer even if they back out of the sale. (You’d just keep part of their escrow to fix it.) I get allowing little things (pulling a baseboard), but cutting a hole in the ceiling of an occupied unit seems a bit over the top for a buyer request! I hope they installed an attic access panel when they repaired the hole for when they go to sell it. =)
    Mrs PoP recently posted…Does Your To Do List Define Your Life?My Profile

    • Pretired Nick on September 10, 2013 at 1:15 pm said:

      Yeah, looking back it was foolish to be so pliable. Maybe nice guys do finish last!
      You have some great real estate stories. That might make a good post for you one of these days!

  3. Man, what an ordeal! I am happy it seemed to work out in the end but I can imagine the kind of headache that had to be.

    Our plan, weird as it is, is just to never sell the homes we buy. We don’t want to deal with the transaction costs or transaction troubles!
    Done by Forty recently posted…Lessons from Chip KellyMy Profile

    • Pretired Nick on September 10, 2013 at 1:16 pm said:

      I’ve known several people who had that plan and I’ve even had that mindset at times, in particular I never planned to sell my first house. You’ll be surprised, though, after a few years go by how much you hunger to get rid of them.

      • Yeah, it’s pretty easy for me to say as a first time home owner that I’ll hold on to it for the next 60 – 80 years. Let’s see what tune I’m singing when it needs a new roof and the thing smells like cat piss.

        Thanks again for sharing that post. Hard to experience, I’m sure, but it makes for a good story.
        Done by Forty recently posted…Lessons from Chip KellyMy Profile

  4. PTNick!!! It only takes one unprofessional nut-job to ruin a good thing. What a fun read you have written here! Having owned or sold very little in my life, I cannot there. So sorry PTNick. But this post seems to transcend selling property. It is a microcosm of life. Your final point about NOT dealing with crazy ought to be a universal. There are entire professions built around dealing with crazy people. Let them make their money. Have a willy-nilly Tuesday!

    • Pretired Nick on September 10, 2013 at 1:17 pm said:

      Thanks, CJ! Yep, I am more or less committed to avoiding crazy people like the plague from here on out! Life is too short!

  5. When I sold my townhouse, we had some of the same lender problems – except the buyers also selected a title company with all their screws loose – a comedy of errors resulting in closing 2 months later than initially planned.

    When we bought our house, we were dealing with out of town owners, and their realtor had a lot of issues (our realtor actually filed a compliant against her). The basic gist was that we had asked for a lot of things to be repaired after our inspection – totally expecting the sellers to come back with “no, but we’ll fix this subset”. We were surprised when they said they’d fix everything. Get to final walkthrough, and they hadn’t fixed anything. We could have walked at that point, but we really liked the house, so we were able to get a credit for as much as the lender would allow (not enough to fix everything), but it was just comical…
    Mom @ Three is Plenty recently posted…Measuring Investment Risk – Calculating ReturnsMy Profile

    • Pretired Nick on September 10, 2013 at 1:19 pm said:

      Wow, that is frustrating! I’ll always choose a cash credit (buying or selling) whenever possible. It’s just so much easier. We once had people DEMAND a new furnace before we closed (in a week). We suggested they take cash so they could pick out the right furnace for themselves. “NO!” So we found the cheapest furnace on the planet, had it installed over the weekend and closed right before the real estate collapse. Whew!

  6. I’m not sure about doing your own pre-inspection. Not only will it cost you money, but everything your inspector finds has to be reported on the seller disclosure form (here in WA). Meanwhile the buyer is going to insist on doing their own inspection. So that gives them as much as twice as many things to negotiate about.

    • Pretired Nick on September 10, 2013 at 1:21 pm said:

      That is a good point. It really depends on the building. In my case I (thought I) knew of all the major issues. I just wanted to catch some of the little crap to lead to smooth sailing later. But in general, I’d usually rather know than not know. If you get caught and lose your best buyer over a big problem or it’s tied up for a number of months dealing with an issue, you could miss your chance to sell.

  7. Wow, that is quite the crazy story Nick! I am glad that in the end, everything finally worked out and you were able to sell. I’ve never had to deal with house selling or buying, but my parents just went through the sale of their house. I thought that was delayed, but your story puts it to shame. At least you learned what not to do next time if you ever find yourself in such a situation again. I’m also glad the little birds were able to fly away – if they hadn’t been satisfied with that solution they would have been evil! Thanks for sharing!
    E.M. recently posted…Student Loan Debt: Update #4My Profile

  8. Holy Crap! That was a ton of hassle. At least it’s over with and you can sleep soundly again. I’m thinking about getting rid of our 4 plex too. It’s probably best if you can live there, but otherwise, it’s too much trouble.
    retirebyforty recently posted…How much it costs to retire comfortably in ThailandMy Profile

    • Pretired Nick on September 10, 2013 at 8:42 pm said:

      Yeah, and this just me hitting the main points! It was awful! I think they’re great as a first time homeowner move, but not all that great for someone in the pretirement stage of life.

  9. I’ve only bought one property (my condo) but it was a short sale (oy) and the seller’s agent was slimy. My agent had worked with her before, and warned me up front that the other agent would try to screw us over – but my agent was on top of everything – up until the end.

    The day before closing – I have signed the papers, and all the funds are in escrow – and the seller comes back and wants me to come up with additional funds to replace 2 toilets with low flow toilets. In California, it is the seller’s responsibility to ensure that when they sell their property, that all toilets and showerheads are “low flow” – or to get the buyer to sign a paper saying that they will fix the problem within 60 days.

    So suddenly at the last minute, they wanted me to come up with an additional $150 for new toilets. And my realtor was on vacation – she had someone else working with me, who was nice, but not really on top of *my* transaction. I went back and said “no. they deal with it, or i walk away – if they want to lose the short sale over 2 toilets – that’s up to them.”

    The seller’s agent came back with this *awesome* idea – all 4 parties should contribute – the buyer, the 2 agents, and myself – we can all pitch in. My response again – “no – this isn’t a surprise – you knew about this months ago – deal with it”.

    I ended up signing the paper to say that I would replace the toilets – and getting the $150 in credit – I didn’t want the seller to end up installing the cheapest toilets they could find with the cheapest labour – but I wasn’t willing to pay *them* to replace the toilets.

    • Pretired Nick on September 10, 2013 at 8:44 pm said:

      Wow, that is an amazing story, Spiffi! People get so absurd with their little demands. Good for you for sticking to your guns!
      I’m glad you shared that story!

  10. I’m sorry to hear of your experience.

    I am selling my single family home and had two buyers fall through, and now the local market is completely gone. Going to have to carry until next spring.

    I constantly write blog posts about not wanting to be a landlord, and your post really hits home to me.

    I wish you the best of luck selling!
    Drew @ financialvoodoo.com recently posted…Why You Should Write Put Spreads And Not Cover SpreadsMy Profile

    • Pretired Nick on September 11, 2013 at 9:01 am said:

      Thanks, Drew! I’m all closed now, so this era is well behind me. Landlording has its good moment and across all my various properties I’m still up hundreds of thousands of dollars. But it’s not for everyone, that’s for sure!
      Bummer about your sale failing, but hopefully the market has a nice little bump in the meantime. You might come out ahead!

  11. Wow, that was quite a story! I can understand why you had a long, relaxing sleep the night after the deal was finally done! I am not sure if I would’ve had the strength of going through all this, which would’ve been bad in the end since I would’ve been there with an unsold 4plex :) You did great!
    C. the Romanian recently posted…You Think You Are Poor? Think Again!My Profile

  12. Your story, like so many others I read, is why I’m so afraid of investing in real estate.

    It never seems to go quite like you want it to.

    And sometimes It’s a disaster.
    No Waste recently posted…I Hate FashionMy Profile

    • Pretired Nick on September 11, 2013 at 9:02 am said:

      I don’t mean to scare anyone. It has its good points as well. But the main point is to do your homework. I went in kind of naively and had to learn the hard way. Hopefully no one who reads my site will make my same mistakes!

  13. When we sold our house in 2009 we had a bunch of issues too, we were building a new house and started off trying to sell our old house at too high a price. However, reading your account makes me happy for how our sale went.

    • Pretired Nick on September 11, 2013 at 11:34 am said:

      That’s a classic mistake, Chris, but then how do you really know what something will sell for? Sometimes you’re just happy for a close…

  14. Hi Nick,
    I love real estate but unlike stocks a bad buy will keep draining you financially and mentally. It seems you’re much more at ease now that you don’t have the property.

  15. Whoah, what a crazy story and thank you for all of the advice. We are planning on purchasing a rental soon, so the tips are timely.

    Finding a decent realtor is a pain in the ass. It seems like bad ones far outnumber the good ones. We have had such an issue with them, my wife is getting a license. That way, we’ll be able to do things ourselves and get that buyer’s agent commission when we do purchase more property.

    • Pretired Nick on September 18, 2013 at 8:56 am said:

      I hope it helps! We also had seriously looked at getting a realtor license just so we could save on the commission. Just one purchase would more than cover the cost of the classes and the license so it was a no-brainer. Except that we didn’t really have the time to commit to getting it done. Once Pretired Baby isn’t such a handful I may go back and get that done if for no other reason than selling my current place.

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