Somebody Flamed Our Listing!

flaming house
Photo by KIWI NZ

I got an email earlier this week from one of my Partners.

“Would you suggest defending our listing? Check out Philly Blog – the blog is 2040 St Albans. The blog poster was a previous buyer in a failed transaction. The home inspection revealed defects. The seller was willing to correct most but not everything. The deal fell apart last week.
Bruce had an open house there this weekend and a neighbor told him about the recent posting trashing the listing. “

I called my partner and we talked about the property. He indicated that this buyer’s agreement had failed because the buyer and seller could not agree on which repairs requested by the home inspector were to be made at the seller’s expense. He also told me that the buyer was still circling around , possibly hoping that the seller would reconsider and make the additional repairs he wanted. We speculated about whether this was a strategy on the part of the buyer to discourage other potential purchasers’ from looking at the home so that they could renegotiate without fear of competition.

I have printed the post below. Before reading it, you should know that this is an area of Older homes (100 years or more) which is located near a major teaching hospital, in an area that is very popular with young professionals.

The remarks from the MLS read as follows:

Public:Great total rehab in the Graduate Hospital area.New brick front with window flower boxes,steel front door and new windows.Enter into a living room with a gas fireplace with a stunning cherry wood mantel, bamboo HARDWOOD floors, recessed lighting throughout.Kitchen has granite counter-tops with a breakfast bar, stainless steel, refrigerator, oven,cook top and dishwasher.Slate tile back-splash,beautiful contemporary kitchen cabinets, track lighting with under counter spot lights.Separate dining room with a service bar/window to the kitchen. Powder room with pedestal sink finished in travertine tiles.Large wooden deck with stockade fence and flower bed complete the lower level.Second floor has been changed to a more useful floor plan consisting of 2 bedrooms, an office/den/nursery.Bedrooms have built in closets with shelves,baskets and hanger poles.Full bathroom with his and hers oval vessel sinks, cabinets and a sky light.Laundry room with washer and dryer located on 2nd floor for convenience.All NEW mechanicals.

Her is a link to pictures of the property on an IDX site (though if you would like to buy the property, please call the listing agent Bruce Stranix at  215-465-1400  I’m sure he would appreciate it). Which shows, I think a pretty nice property.

I went and read the post which read;

“Just wanted to put a warning out there for anyone looking to buy a house in the Graduate Hospital Area:

My fiance and I were looking at a house at 2040 St Albans. It looks very nice on the inside, hardwood floors, recessed lighting, etc, etc. We put a bid down, worked through some negotiations, and had the house inspected. This is when the fairy tale ended. There was so much wrong with the house, our inspector (of 35 years) said that “although I’ve never said this before, I highly recommend you don’t move in here unless they fix everything on my report.”

The Seller initially agreed to fix everything, then after a day or so agreed to fix everything but 2 items, then, once we got it in writing, the Seller decided there were now FOUR items she refused to fix and she wouldn’t drop the price of the house either. We quickly decided we didn’t want to deal with her anymore and terminated our offer.

The reason I am posting this is not for the bad press for the Seller, it’s a lovely house. However, I HIGHLY recommend you listen to your inspector if you reach this point. There were SEVERAL GLARING issues with the house that the Seller had simply skipped over while rehabbing it (probably hoping they would continue unnoticed).

Anyways, if you are looking at the house and want more information, please PM me. I can even provide you with our inspection report so you can confirm the repairs have been made.”

Now the house is priced almost $10,000 less then a comparable house located two doors away. Roughly 20 feet. And as you can see from the photos in the link above the property is pretty attractive. And though the post is not incredibly inflammatory, it is perhaps more subtly damaging since it doesn’t discuss what repairs the owner didn’t want to make, nor why a home inspector would be providing advice on purchasing or not purchasing a home. I mean I could understand a home inspector saying, ” This home is unsafe if this repair is not made” but that’s a lot different from “although I’ve never said this before, I highly recommend you don’t move in here unless they fix everything on my report.” Why would he care who made a repair?

So the questions in my mind, which I hope some readers can clarify are

  1. Do you think a post like this is damaging to the seller or is this a case of “no publicity is bad publicity unless they spell my name wrong”?
  2. Was this consumer trying to perform a public service or was his post a self-serving strategy?
  3. Do you think this is a good strategy for this buyer?
  4. Why didn’t he specify the repair issues if they were so important?
  5. Should posts like this be moderated by the host, and if so how?
  6. Does the post deserve a response?
  7. What type of response should that be?

Currently, we’re going to leave this alone and see what happens. I think the property speaks for itself, and any new consumer will have a home inspection of their own, and draw their own conclusions. Hopefully people will call the office if they read this and our agents will be able to discuss with them what the real situation is.

This is a new one for me , and I would love your input.

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