Boston condo buyers, you may want to read this story

We recently worked with a Boston condo buyer who we were able to save from a potentially bad situation and it got me thinking. This particular transaction was the ideal case study of the dangers of foregoing a Boston buyers agent and working directly with a listing agent, when viewing Boston condos for sale, as many buyers may be unaware of the risks in purchasing a Boston condo. Here’s the story…….

How it started

For the purpose of the story, lets call Boston condo buyer Jane, we first met at a Beacon Hill condo open house we were hosting and she had expressed her frustrations with the current state of the Beacon HIll cond market, Her problem was she was getting outbid by other buyers and she wasfeeling discouraged.

This is not an uncommon story to hear from Boston condo buyers that we meet.  After listening to her needs, we assured her that we were more than willing to help and that we were confident that we could provide her with a better experience.

To make a long story short, she ended up finding a Boston Beacon Hill condo on her own that was currently off-market, undergoing renovation, and was expected to be listed in the coming weeks. She spoke with the contractor who was on site and was able to be put directly in touch with the listing agent.

If it sounds to good to be true…..

The agent said that if she was interested and wanted to work with him, that he would be willing to sell the property for $15,000 under the price she was planning on listing it. Now, this sounded very attractive to the buyer and who could blame her? We’d all like to get a Beacon Hill condo at a nice discount! But, when you start to peeling the layers, you’ll see why this was more beneficial to to the listing agent than to our client.

While the Beacon Hill condo was beautifully renovated, there were a few areas that our client noticed that it seems like corners were cut. Because we were not in the picture at this time, she was on her own as she worked with the listing agent/ seller. She probed the agent, asking about a variety of items within the home and was met with a not so friendly and pushy response. With multiple phone calls between them, the agent was very aggressively trying to pressure our future client into contract, with her representing both sides in what is called “dual agency”. It was at this point that the buyer reached back out to us.

Here’s the problem…..

We had not been formerly working with her yet, as we were very much in the beginning stages of the relationship when we got a call from her. She gave us the run-down of the situation and a few major red flags popped up in our heads:

  1. An agent should never be pressuring you into something you are not comfortable with.
  2. If you have the listing agent represent you, there is no guarantee that they have your best interests in mind.
  3. Not only was this the listing agent, they were also the seller and investor, meaning they had everything to gain and our client, as the buyer, had everything to lose. We advised our buyer of the risks and ultimately left the decision up to her.

After more pressure and back-and-forth between our client and the listing agent, our client began feeling uncomfortable and committed to working with us. With our help and negotiations, our client was then able to get the home under contract at the same price ($15,000 under asking price), but the real benefit now was that she was well-represented, we were in her corner backing her 100%.

Conclusion

Not only were we still able to get the condominium at the price that our client wanted, but we were also able to find some issues that the agent/seller was trying to sneak by that could have been very costly down the road for our buyers. Through a thorough home inspection, a few things were found that needed to be repaired. Despite the agent/seller being adamant that they would not be doing any repairs or offering any discounts or credits, we were still able to negotiate many of the important repairs we requested.

Things may seem fine and dandy at this point, right? Not so fast! After the agent/seller had given us confirmation that the repairs had been completed, we brought back the home inspector for a reinspection during our final walk-through and it was found that two of the biggest and most important repairs had not been completed! One of which we would never have been able to find ourselves, as it was in an inaccessible part of the condo

This all happened just days before we were supposed to close. We put our foot down and demanded that the repairs be completed before close and that our buyer be reimbursed for the reinspection. In the end, everything was completed to our buyers satisfaction, and she was able to move into the perfect home that she had imagined after a mere two-day delay. Had she not had us representing her, though, who knows what would have slipped by.

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