Major and Minor Setbacks

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Wow…me bad, really bad! It has been damn near a month since my last blog entry! So much for my goal of writing 2-3 times per week! I beg everyone’s forgiveness – it’s been a hectic, hectic time both personally and professionally.

But I do have an interesting story to tell you, about an escrow I had recently that just fell apart. A week or so ago, I (and my clients, of course!) went into escrow on a property in Aptos. It looked like we were getting a screamin’ deal. The sellers had done all the reports: home inspection, termite inspection, roof inspection, and had filled out all of the mandatory disclosure forms. They had the records from the county, everything. In fact, I think it was the most complete disclosure package I’ve ever received.

There was just one little problem! The carport was a bit small for my buyer’s vehicle. You see, they have a couple of children, and they needed to be able to pull into the carport and open both doors so they could get their kids out safely. They didn’t want to park the car on the street and then let the kids out, for fear they might just run out into the semi-busy street. Hence, the carport would need to be widened to fit the car. This was no problem for my clients; they wanted to do that as part of a project to build a fence across the front lot line.

Herein lies the problem: the lot-coverage ratio of the property was already maxed out. The carport couldn’t be widened any more. Unfortunately, having a safe place to let the kids out of the car was a “must have” for my clients. So that’s it – my clients have cancelled the escrow.

Interestingly enough, the sellers had at one time wanted to widen the carport, too. They had a survey which they had done, I believe just for this purpose. There were hints about this buried down in the various disclosures the sellers had made – they didn’t really hide this since I don’t believe they are legally required to disclose not being able to make a particular improvement, but they certainly didn’t point it out. If they had, they probably would have saved themselves a fair amount of time.

Surely, they will point this out to subsequent buyers, as limited/no off-street parking really is a big problem for many buyers. I think that they knew this, and that’s why the home was priced so low to begin with. True, I could have asked the listing agent, “What’s the catch?” before putting in the offer. Even had we known, though, we probably would have made the exact same offer, anyway – it took several days to analyze the problem, and had we done so before going into escrow, someone else likely would have gone into escrow instead of us (there was another offer on it – we beat them out with our offer).

That’s the way the cookie crumbles! Stay tuned – I plan to be writing more in the next few days, I promise!

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