purchasing our dream home

Help, idiots are preventing us from purchasing our dream home

Today’s post is a bit of a rant, I apologize.  The frustration is just too large.  Most of the time this blog talks about saving and investing, but today’s post is about spending.  Yes, it’s ok to spend money on something you value.  Let me explain the circumstance of us purchasing our dream home.

After three years of going back and forth of whether we want to move, we found the house of our dreams. It is an entertainers delight.  The house comes complete with an acre, fully private lot, heated salt water pool, oversized patio and a covered outdoor kitchen with a fireplace.

However when we look inside, the owner neglected every finish on the interior.  Instead, they poured all the money into the impeccable outdoors.

An unreasonable seller

We love the house and we put in an offer based on the price of the lower end of the market comparable properties with the intention to negotiate to a fair value.  They have not shown a desire to be reasonable, even with the property sitting on the market for over four months.   It is apparent the seller is a complete idiot with their money.  Let me explain their circumstance as I know it today.  Let’s see how many money mistakes we can uncover.

1.  They purchased their home at the top of the market

They bought their home in 2006 and it was one of the best lots in the neighborhood.  Houses today in the neighborhood are selling for less than they paid back in 2006.   Granted, they have the best lot at the very last home in the last cul de sac so it should demand a premium for their lot.  Simply put, this is the one of the best houses in the subdivision.

2.  They are carrying 3 mortgages and not willing to negotiate

Yes, they have three mortgages.  They moved into their new house, a near million dollar house two doors down.  Here are the debts as we know it:

  • Mortgage on the new property.
  • Home equity line of credit on the house for sale.  They extracted nearly 90% of the equity in the property. The home equity line of credit was used as down payment for their new residence.
  • Original mortgage on the first property.

If I had to guess they are burning cash at a rate of $8k to $10k per month on all of these mortgages.

If it was me (and I would never put myself in this circumstance,) I would be extremely motivated to make a deal with a qualified buyer.

3.  They over-invested in a pool and outdoors

The outdoor lifestyle they built is beautiful.  It has a pavilion with a fireplace.  Outdoor sink, grill, fridge and bar.  The patio is fantastic  and is outfitted with natural stone.

A waterfall flows from the spa to the pool.

They built an addition on the back of the house that includes a sun-room and an extra half bath that is accessible from the outdoors.  Should they expect a dollar for dollar return on these upgrades?

4.  They neglected the interior

The bathrooms and kitchen are original and look very outdated.  All material used was builder grade.  When comparing this house to other houses at the price point it is very easily noticeable that they are overpriced.

5.  They purchased the house two doors down because of fancy upgrades and overpaid

To say they overpaid doesn’t do justice.  They paid $250k more than any other house has sold for in the neighborhood. Now don’t get me wrong the house they bought has 7,500 square feet on 7 acres.

Every inch of the house was outfitted with high-end details.  I looked at the pictures, the kitchen has all premium appliances.  Think Wolf stove and custom Sub-zero fridge.

The house has extensive mill work on every inch.  Every one of the seven bathrooms looks like a spa.  The basement has a beautiful Irish pub, an exercise room and a movie theatre with seating for 20.

The best feature, out back in the woods they have a huge fort with multiple structures.  It is equipped with power.  It has climbing ropes, rope walks and zip lines.

The house they purchased doesn’t fit the neighborhood.  Not even close.  The rest of the neighborhood is young families with little kids and slightly upscale houses for the Atlanta suburbs.

Once they bought, the estimate for every house in the neighborhood increased $100k

6.  A single realtor has been used for every transaction and she is the next door neighbor.

The realtor might be fantastic. I have no idea.  Unless I really trusted someone, I would not let them be involved on every transaction I made especially when it led to overspending on every single transaction.

If the realtor cannot perform, they will see them everyday as she is the next door neighbor.

7.  The seller believes they should see a 100% return on all the upgrades they put into the property.

A pool would be great for our growing family.  Our kids would love it.  However a pool can be a detractor for many families.  I have read many statistics and I think a reasonable return on this pool would be 50% of the cost, at the very best.

To make another offer or walk away?

Mrs. TPM  and I sit here and discuss the situation.  Unless we can get a fair value for the property, we will surely walk.  We have been discussing for the last three days whether we want to make a second and final offer as close to fair value as we think is right.

The issue is, if we make the offer and make it final, they will likely try to negotiate with an unreasonable response and we are back to where we are, walking away from the deal.  On the other hand, just maybe they will come to their senses.


Have you ever negotiated with unreasonable sellers and listing agents?  What strategies did you use to negotiate?  Did you ultimately get your property or just walk away from the deal?  Did you ever regret purchasing your dream home?

*The house pictured is only a representation, not the actual house we are considering.


  1. Every negotiated with unrealistic people, sure. But we had to learn to play hard-ball, stick to our budget and walk away if need be. In this case, you have two option, wait a while and try again (but stick to your budget!). Walk and see if their plan falls apart and pick it up later (or not at all). In any case, best of luck.
    Team CF recently posted…December 2017 Savings RateMy Profile

    1. Hi Team CF,

      Thanks for the great advice! We are leaning towards making one final offer and if they don’t accept, we walk. The thing is, the market has rejected their price. Unless a someone decides to over pay this home will sit for a long time. If the listing agent comes back to us, we might not be as fair.

      We are buying mostly with cash and a small mortgage. The ongoing expense will be less than what we spend today. From a budget perspective it will be fine. But, I won’t overpay for any asset. Paying fair value has me queasy enough.

      1. I feel your pain! Been in exactly the same situation, we ended up paying more than we should have, expensive lesson learned. We only barely broke even when we sold the house 6 years later. Since that time, we have been trying to be more objective, which has worked so far!
        Problem with sellers is they are often unrealistic, albeit they don’t know it themselves. Nobody wants to lose money.
        Team CF recently posted…TelevisionMy Profile

  2. The only person who knows the real market price will be the one that buys the house. I am betting Dave Ramsey would tell you that you have house fever and should just walk away, there is a house for sale on every corner and it is a mistake to get attached to this one.

    1. Too good Steveark! I agree we like it a lot and it is very difficult to separate the quantitative analysis from the emotions. I was expecting someone to comment on this. Thanks!

      We like it a lot, but not totally emotionally attached to it. We definitely were on the low end of the valuation spectrum. Our thought was these people needed someone to throw them a bone to get out of the debt situation. The catch is, I have no idea what their entire financial picture looks like.

      If we make another offer, it will be 10% under what they are expecting instead of 15% under.

      1. I bet their finances are so crazed they can’t think straight from what you do know about them! You do sound super rational and it is a beautiful house with a lot going for it. Fortunately I’m in the only house I have ever owned for over thirty years now. I really have been lucky to have never had to move and never had to sell a house and buy another! I’m the least qualified guy on earth to give you advice but it didn’t seem to stop me.
        Steveark recently posted…The American Dream Lives OnMy Profile

  3. I have an update. We made a more fair offer, at least what we thought was fair. We are at a standoff with about $50k standing in between us. We have no intention to increase our offer based on market data we analyzed and they have no intention to lower their price based on what they “invested” into the property. Time to walk away!

    I am so curious to see if they find a buyer actually will to pay their price. I will update once I see a transaction go through.

    1. I can’t agree more! I envisioned myself sipping an IPA poolside come spring with the smoker cooking something low and slow!

      Then I wake up. I rarely pay more than fair value for a stock and I won’t do it for a primary residence even though there is something more to a asset you call home.

  4. It’s really tough if you want the place badly. But then you are more likely to overpay.

    An unethical strategy to deal with an unreasonable seller is to “send in the clones”- having a wave of seemingly independent different people low ball the property. That then makes your offer stand out as the best deal.

    The other thing you can do is see if there is anything else that the seller values that you can provide that doesn’t cost you what they value it at. For example- barter or providing them with something that will save them a hassle.

    The last factor to consider is the time shape of money. Does providing more upfront cash or smoothing the payment out do anything to improve the dynamics of the deal for them?

    Good luck!


    1. These are good thoughts Mike. I don’t think we have the man power to send a lot of low ball offers. Plus the seller seems convinced on their price.

      In our offer, we already eliminated the contingency to sell our first house and we were bringing a 50% down payment in cash. As far as saving them hassle, we provided a fair offer and if they accepted they would not have to pay on the primary mortgage and the home equity loan. Maybe their financial picture can handle it, I don’t know. Every month the property sits they are losing thousands of dollars. That would mean something to me.

      1. Your last sentence makes sense for one who is rational. These sellers don’t sound very rational and many people just aren’t wired that way. Sounds like you did the best you could short of baking them cookies.

        Something else will come up, no doubt.

  5. Everyman had a dream of a house.But a few number of people filled their dream.For buying a new house, many people take a loan or sell their property.A house means a family with connected emotions, feelings, happiness.It was great to read this post because you have raised some important points here and those are very little known to most of us.
    Thank for sharing this article.

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