The Nine Circles of Real Estate Hell

House for sale

Selling a home could be almost enjoyable if it weren’t for having to deal with buyers.

Being forced to interact with the species known as Potential Home Buyer–especially first-time buyers–is a fate far worse than falling into a patch of poison ivy after being stung by a swarm of angry hornets.

You might be impressed to know that I am a wonderful home buyer. You would love to have me buy your house! I don’t whine and complain about the carpet. (I’m going to tear it out anyway.) I don’t snivel if the the rooms are painted ugly colors. (There’s a reason I’m on a first name basis with the manager of the local Sherwin-Williams paint store. I’m going to re-paint the place, too.)

When I look at a house I might want to buy, I’m concerned with how sound it is. I hire a home inspector or a contractor to tell me about the furnace and the electrical system. What’s right and wrong with it?

If I don’t like it, I walk away. If it’s structurally sound and I like the look of it, I decide if I can fit my furniture in it, and, oh so importantly, how large are the closets? Then, if I like what I see, I’ll make a bid on the home. It will be slightly lower than the asking price so that we can meet in the middle.That’s how it’s supposed to be done.

What I do not do is pout, whine, or make ridiculous demands of the seller. (And yes, I could name names.)

In the past 25 years, I’ve dealt with numerous potential home buyers as I’ve sold three homes, so I understand Dante’s nine circles of Hell. To wit:

1. Limbo

I’ve found a house I love but I can’t bid on it because I can’t find a buyer for my house.

2. Lust

I really, really want the house I saw last weekend.

3. Gluttony

I can’t cook in my brand new kitchen because potential buyers may want to make yet another visit. Instead, I have dinner at my favorite restaurant, drink too much, and order a decadent dessert.

4. Greed

The potential buyers would like me to buy them stainless steel appliances and expand the hardwood floors to the living room… and lower the asking price by $25,000.

5. Anger

Now the jerk who wants to buy my home would love it if I’d replace the furnace. It’s not broken. It works fine. I’m even paying for a 1-year home warranty insurance policy that will replace anything that breaks within the first year.

I can’t believe it when my Realtor suggests I do it. “He really, really wants a new furnace,” he tells me.

“And I really want I pony,” I said, “but neither of us is going to get what we want.” I won that round.

6. Heresy

The buyer is convinced that there are termites in the basement. There are no termites but he will not listen to reason. I’m going to lose the house that I want to buy if this idiot walks from the sale, so I write a check for $1400 to the exterminators so that they can treat the property for termites that don’t exist. After the treatments, they do not find termites. Why am I not surprised?

7. Violence

The Realtor and I both agree that I should not attend the closing on my house. Otherwise, I may harm the buyer and his attorney, who turned what should have been a non-event into an adversarial confrontation.

8. Fraud

Fortunately, there was none (except for the business about the termites).

9. Treachery

After I move out, the upstairs neighbors rush to make the new neighbor their Best Friend Forever. They tell him what a terrible person I was but I don’t care. He’s about to discover that they are alcoholics who come in drunk every night and crank up the music until it makes the glasses in your kitchen cupboards rattle.

In hindsight, $1400 was not too much to pay to get out of there.

10 thoughts on “The Nine Circles of Real Estate Hell

    1. Thank you. It’s amazing how few people have any imagination. When I first looked at this house, the owner used the second bedroom as her sewing room. Did I whine? No! I just turned it into my office.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Had a good laugh at no. 4 already! Never bought a house, never want to. In Germany renters have a good life, plenty of rights, and if something is broken I don’t have to fix it myself but the landlord has to.


      1. There is good and bad in both. I think I can live with some neighbours (standing my ground when they violate my rights) – but then I only have neighbours here who should not own a weapon 😛


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