Seller is dragging his feet- what is really going on?

7 Replies

Hello BP,

We are under contract on a 4 unit property and the seller seems to be dragging his feet on everything.  He had 3 properties in this market for sale, one has already sold and the other is still on the market.  He has more rental property in a couple of other cities but claimed he wanted to get out of this market.

While we were negotiating he was slow to get back with a counter offer, taking 3-4 days instead of 2.  We asked for leases and the City Rental Certificate and it took two weeks to get the leases and be told that they weren't current with the rental inspection which we already knew- the City is behind on inspections and this house wouldn't have passed anyways.   We were told the seller's brother passed away so we understood the delay.  We had our inspection and the seller was there to give the keys to my agent, my husband expressed his sympathy and the seller didn't seem to know what he was talking about at first...  We asked for payment records, that took about a week, and we found out they had taken one tenant to court over nonpayment and so we asked what had become of that and it has been over 2 weeks without an answer.  They agreed to paying part of our closings costs over a week ago and still have not signed the document...

This property is part of a 1031 exchange, and my realtor said it doesn't affect us but they have to make sure the title company is aware, but I am wondering if he is delaying on purpose to make sure the timing works on his other deal... 

Any insight into why he can't seem to cooperate or what we can do to move this along would be appreciated.


Get in front of the seller and ask. What can it hurt to have a serious conversation. Dont email, text, or go through the broker, talk directly with the seller in person.

Let him know that you can help with the timing of his deal, but want to be compensated for moving things around to his schedule.

Good advice @Richard Pozos The agents won't like it but if they are not helping go directly to the source. On 4-units and smaller I would suggest you should make the assumption that 3 out of 4 tenants, or all, will need to be evicted. If they work out after closing, great. If not, then you are already prepared to evict, fix up the unit and get good and reliable tenants.

There are a thousand excuses for slow sellers. Ultimately the seller's agent isn't too effective if they do not have a handle on their client to make the transaction go smoothly. Your agent needs to call the seller's agent daily, leave voice-mails, emails, don't stop until something gets done.

Good luck, keep us posted. 

Thanks @Rick Pozos - one unit has a lease up August 15 and I have a growing waitlist for that since we had another two bed on the market recently.  One is up in November and another at the end of March, we plan to put new tenants in after improving the apartments a bit, and the last one went month to month last month after a 12 month term.  We met both tenants and like them- seem like nice, hard working people.  Looks like they struggle to make ends meet from the payment record, but I also know they have been begging for the toilet leak to be fixed for months so that could also be a reason for nonpayment.  My agent is great, this is our 4th deal with him (also under contract on #5 too which is going along well) and he is like a bull dog when it comes to getting answers from the other agent, but since he knows the seller I think maybe he doesn't want to see the truth about his buddy.  I will deal with the delay (don't have much choice!) but would rather they were just up front about it!

Sometimes, the seller is just slow.

He may in fact be ready to sell, but that doesn't mean he's in a hurry to sell.

If the properties are worth it, be patient, keep moving forward, and buy a lot of antacids. 

Update- got signed addendum today, still waiting to hear what is going on with the tenant he took to court.  My realtor (who knows the guy personally but is not his realtor) says that business is just so busy right now.  I am calling tomorrow.

Another update-

We got our signed addendum yesterday and our realtor talked to the seller directly about the tenant that is not paying.  They filed for an eviction a month ago and the sheriff's office is ready to be there to supervise them vacating the apartment.  He asked if I wanted them to hold off or proceed, so I said to go ahead with the eviction. From the payment records we got it is pretty obvious they are struggling to pay the rent, the process is already started and if we wait until we close we will just have to start the clock over again.

@Bill Bodziak - I am tagging you since you asked for an update.

Thanks Kelly. I am glad to see some good progress happening there. Good Luck!

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