So you looked at the Condo, made notes, asked a lot of questions. (More than likely got a lot of bland answers) And you are ready to make an offer. You want this Condo. No one and nothing is going to change your mind. You just have to have this unit. You “see” yourself relaxing in the bay window. Your Real Estate Agent should arrange a meeting at their office and help you fill out an Offer Sheet. This will get faxed to the Seller side for approval. If you have not done so already, go to the local Deeds website and look up how much the seller bought the Condo for and when. Also look up the other units in the group, or a few if the Condo group is very large. It’s also important to understand that just because the hype states that houses and Condos sell for $350,000 and higher does not mean you have to make that offer. Think about the size of the Condo, the surrounding area, and the other units that make up the group. IF you have a good Real Estate Agent they should review with you this information and show you what other similar units in area recently sold for. Your Real Estate Agent should analyze how much you make and what you can afford. Remember, with a Condo you need to pay a monthly fee on top of your mortgage and taxes.
The offer you make will be sent to the Seller and they will either accept, decline or counter offer. If you were smart and submitted a low offer intentionally expect a counter offer and go from there. Don’t be afraid to include items like “repair leak in pipes” or “patch hole in wall” in the offer if you are not prepared to take these on yourself. Once you and the Seller accept terms of the sale, then it is on to the Closing! The Closing is a lot like getting in trouble in grade school and you have to write the same thing over and over and over. When you get to the Closing, your Real Estate Agent, your Mortgage Attorney (you got one when you went for your approval – should have), the Seller Agent and their Attorney will be locked inside a small room where you sign A LOT of documents. I am not joking, you will sign and initial so many pages you will curse your parents for naming you “John Jacob Jingleheimer Schmidt”. (If you have a long name, I feel bad, really.) Usually someone gets sarcastic and tells you that you can keep the pen after the Closing is done. (thanks…) When the door opens and the waft of fresh air caresses your cheeks you will probably open your eyes to find most everyone has swiftly left the building except for your Real Estate Agent who is handing you the keys to your first Condo!!
Voice From The Grave: When I expressed interest in the Condo I ended up with there was a really weird silent interaction between the Seller Agent and my Agent. But was then quickly asked to go my Agents office to write up the offer sheet. Because I did NOT check the Deeds website first I had no idea the unit was originally purchased for around $175,000. In 2009 the average selling price of a similar Condo in a GOOD group in Salem MA was about $260,000. My Agent showed me sold prices for 5 units within 3 blocks of this Condo. If I had known the original purchase price my initial offer would have been $190,000 but I ended up offering $225,000 and this was accepted within 10 minutes. This also should have been a very serious red flag. Also at the end of my closing the Seller Attorney laughed and said, “You need to get the bull by the horns now.” And quickly left the building. And this was my point of no return.
Next Chapter: “Descent into Hell…” In the final chapter of this series I will go into how “seriously wrong things happen to good people”. I will recount true events that led to my losing the Condo and just about everything I owned. Also revealed will be how those who are supposed to step in and help decided to take a step back and do nothing. If this happened to me then it must be happening to many more. Stay tuned and heed the Voice From The Grave!!! Click here for final Chapter!!