Austin TX Real Estate - Hill Country Austin Lakeway Homes for Sale: 114 Showings and the House Finally Closed!

114 Showings and the House Finally Closed!

No, that's not a typo.  This house had 114 showings on it.  What was wrong with it, you might ask.  Nothing!  It is a great house!

This is where pricing competetively can sometimes backfire...

The house comped out at $289k.  I looked at the comps every couple of weeks to keep up with the activity in this neighborhood, and the comps were always very consistant at $289k.

We listed the house at $249,500 in order to sell it FAST!  It was completely updated with new granite counters, travertine floors, travertine fireplace, refinished and stained hardwood floors, stainless steel applianes, all new light fixtures and fans throughout, all new bathrooms with travertine showers and surround, new vanities and sinks, the works...

It is a GREAT house!

Showings happen immediately because of the price.  We get an offer.  I speak with the mortgage person like I do on all offers, and the mortgage person assured me that everything was good. We execute, and almost immediately the buyers back out because their loan was no longer available.

We drop the price to $244k.  We get another buyer, and go through the same scenerio.

We drop the price to $237,500k.  We get another buyer, and go through the same scenerio.

We drop the price to $225k.  We get another buyer, and go through the same scenerio.

Do you see the pattern??  Each time we got an offer, even though I would take the time to talk with the mortgage person, in which he/she would assure me that this buyer was "strong" and everything would be ok, it kept turning out that the buyers weren't ok. 

In order to drum up activity when it would be active again, I would lower the price as further incentive for an APPROVED buyer to come in and "steal" this house from the seller, since it comps at $289k.

You're going to laugh, but the same thing happened a couple more times in which the price was lowered to $220k, then $210k and then to $200k.  Not only could I not believe this house was listed for $200k, I couldn't believe that the same situation played out so many times!!  What was going on? 

At this point, I'm fielding calls right and left from agents asking what was wrong with the house and why was it on the market so long and why so many price adjustments.  To each and every single one, I had to explain that we kept dealing with unscrupulous mortgage people who were telling buyers they could qualify for such and such, but then turning around and letting them know they weren't approved with the rates and terms they thought, which made buyers back out.

How it happened to me so many times on one property, I have no idea.

Anyway, at $200k, of course I got another offer... the mortgage person told me on three separate occasions that the buyers were approved, but then I got further information.  The buyers were only approved with their parents co-signing. 

 "Oh, don't worry about the parents. I've known them for over 20 years and they really want their son and daughter-in-law to buy this house."

After the parents had the buyers spend the money on the inspection and appraisal, according to the buyers' agent, the parents decided they didn't want them buying a house this old nor in this neighborhood... Since the buyers couldn't buy without the parents, back on the market the house goes...

This time, I don't reduce the price as that would be silly.  $200k is a bargain for this highly sought-after area.  We VERY quickly get a new contract.  This loan officer worked for a guy who I've known for almost 9 years.  I sent him a message on Facebook and asked what he thought of the mortgage person and if he could almost "guarantee" an on-time closing and that the buyers were approved.

He assured me all was good... two days before closing, we find out that there was still an open FHA case file under the buyers with the parents.  They had been trying to contact the previous mortgage guy, but guess what, HE'S OUT OF BUSINESS!!

They had to call HUD in Denver to get an exception and assigned the case number without a release from the previous lender.  This took 24 hours... docs arrived at the title company yesterday, they were sent off to the seller out of state, and the buyers signed at noon this afternoon...

I don't like writing posts this long, but this was a long saga!  I'm so glad it's over.

Bottomline is that even if you price a property very competetively to start with, outside influences, beyond your control as an agent and beyond that of the seller, can still prevent a property from selling quickly. Be prepared for any situation!

Buyers' Agents, PLEASE verify with your buyers' mortgage person that they are truly approved for a loan, and try to get them to use one of your trusted mortgage people whom you know will shoot straight with your buyers.

Breathe, Donna, Breathe.  This one is finally over... breathe in, breathe out, repeat...

Comment balloon 28 commentsDonna Harris • February 26 2009 02:33PM


Wow what a roller coaster. It is such a shame what is happening to good people. I also feel sorry for they buyer being told they will have no problems. They too are quite disappointed. I met with a person who will remain nameless yesterday to explain what I do and he flat out told me he does not care if they qualify, he will do a rapid re-score and make it look like they will work....How long will he be in business??? Not long I hope!!!!!!!

Happy Thursday!!

Posted by Lori Isaacson (Credit Restoration Consultants) about 10 years ago

forgot to check off comment not like the new location...

Posted by Lori Isaacson (Credit Restoration Consultants) about 10 years ago

WOW DONNA WHAT A ROLLER COASTER RIDE!! Sounds like a bad jinks or something; nonetheless you got it sold so CONGRATS!

What an emotional and stressful time it must have been for you and the sellers. At least it seems they (your sellers) were willing to do what it took to get the results they wanted. I personally have never heard about anything like this.........what a lot of false hope and excitement the sellers went through just to be let down in the end. I can't imagine what you said to them after the 3rd time the closing fell through.

This is my nightmare, but your reality when I posted yesterday about "DO YOU REALLY WANT THAT LISTING?" But like you experienced, sometimes (especially now) no matter what you do, the house won't sell unless all pieces of the puzzle are in place.

Congrats again. This is an awesome way to bring in the weekend.

Continued Success,


Posted by Adell Forbes (REALTOR®), "Knowledge & Experience Working for You" (PalmerHouse Properties ) about 10 years ago

Donna, I had an offer at the end of last year, the realtor, from my old company gave me a partial BFI because it came with an in house mortgage approval, buyer was a doctor. I called and asked for a full BFI but was told that I did not need it as the mortgage was all apporved. I called the mortgage person, and left a message, he never called back. We also had another offer but this buyer was willing to pay a little more. That evening we hear the deal has collapsed because the mortgage broker did not think that because they were moving from another state the buyer would not be able to moonlight at the local VA hospital so his income from the previous year no longer qualified him.

Luckily we had not lost our other buyers and were able to settle. Shame that you needed to keep reducing the price to maintain interest.

Posted by Nick Vandekar, 610-203-4543, Tredyffrin Easttown Realtors, Philly Main Line (Long & Foster Real Estate Inc 610-225-7400) about 10 years ago

That's how I purchased my first investment house!  At some point the sellers will always say "Why don't you buy it?"  And sometimes I do!!

Dick  Beals

Posted by Dick & Sandy Beals (Wilmington Real Estate 4U Wilmington, NC) about 10 years ago

Here in San Diego we have homes that we encounter multiple offers on when the listing is priced aggressively. Without a doubt it is fun.

Posted by Lorraine or Loretta Kratz, Certified Negotiation Consultants (Crescent Moon Realty, Inc. & Land N Sea Auctions.) about 10 years ago

Donna - Whew!  I'm glad this closing finally took place!  You worked hard for this one!   Congratulations!!   :)

Posted by Debi Ernst, GRI, e-PRO, Broker/Sales Associate (St. Charles County, Missouri - Prudential Alliance Realtors) about 10 years ago

Next time start at $299K.  :)

Posted by Bruce Brockmeier, Coached By Crouch (Internet Marketing Consultant to REALTORS®) about 10 years ago

Donna - What a nightmare for you, your sellers and all those potential buyers...!!!

Posted by Amy Salisbury, West Virginia Realtor/Jefferson/Berkeley (Leading Edge Properties) about 10 years ago

Wow, that is a lot of showings.  You had your work cut out for you.  Great job.

Posted by Lisa Borders - REALTOR, RE/MAX Crossroads (RE/MAX Crossroads) about 10 years ago


This just goes to show how important it is to partner with a good, knowledgeable and reputable lender. I had my primary builder receive an approval letter from a buyer financing thru the Home Possible program... one month after the program had been canceled! Thankfully because my builder shared that with me he wasn't out of pocket building a home he wouldn't have sold.

I routinely review prequal letters for my business partners and let them know my thoughts. If nothing more it makes all parties in the transaction more comfortable.

Gerry Suarez, Jr.

Your FHA Loan Pro!

Posted by Gerry Suarez Jr., FL Mortgage Guru (Jet Home Loans NMLS 1660135) about 10 years ago

I hear you - it really stinks and there really is no excuse for all that wasted time. The thing is NO loan officer can give a "guaranteed to close" until the file has been underwritten. Period. (Unless the mortgage person is personally writing the check.) Today's lending picture is ugly. Very ugly - especially for purchases and cash out refinances. Some loan officers are afraid to say, "You'll have to wait for a clear to close and if your borrower has any issues at all or the property does not appraise perfectly chances are the loan will be denied." I just had a listing agent tell me a loan has to close next friday or she'll pull it. (A) agents don't pull loans (B) I don't even have the signed RESPA back (C) the appraisal hasn't even been done. Some loan officers might have panicked and told her "no problem" instead of telling her the truth in fear that the magic bond between loan officer and borrower (which is very necessary) would be broken. I am sorry that any loan officer is afraid to tell the truth but in their defense they have had real estate agents threaten to "pull files" or the world famous "my lender can do it faster" and that kind of stuff as a threat that is supposed to magically make it happen faster (or at all). We cry out for truth and transparancey but we don't want to accept it - certainly not saying this is you, just "we" in general. Again, I'm sorry your closings were messed up so many times, it's ridiculous.

Posted by Ken Cook, Content Marketer/Creator (Content, coding, marketing, host.) about 10 years ago

Lori, No joke!  I wonder what those buyer's agents are saying when they hear the news.

Adell, *shaking her head*, I don't even recall what I said when each fell through.  It was always a somber call, and the seller making a big sigh, and just telling me to do what I've got to do.

Nick & Trudy, That's great that you still had your back up buyer!

Dick, It became a jinx so I don't think it would have worked out for me...

Lorraine & Loretta, Multiple offers was threatened twice on this property, but inevidably, one buyer would back out.

Posted by Donna Harris, Realtor,Mediator,Ombudsman,Property Tax Arbitrator (Donna Homes, powered by JPAR - about 10 years ago

Debi, I should have charged double!

Bruce, No joke, but then I wouldn't have gotten any offers!

Amy, Yep, but at least the seller can sleep at night knowing this is finally off the books!

Lisa, I've never had so many showings on a listing, but you can imagine the house was always spotless and ready for the next one!

Thomas, Amen!

Ken, Yes, I understand there is no guarantee, but having a second set of eyes look at a file to give an opinion is sometimes a good thing.

Posted by Donna Harris, Realtor,Mediator,Ombudsman,Property Tax Arbitrator (Donna Homes, powered by JPAR - about 10 years ago

Donna, you did say I would be at "the edge of my seat" you were right! wow, must say that was quite a roller coaster, your emotions must have been up and down up and down WOW.  You know what? I really dislike mortgage brokers that are not honest (I guess that is why we are in the boat we are in) I have had the same happen to me, however not as much in one transaction , I think you broke a record, but the importance of a good loan officer is vital!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! good post

Posted by Jesse Vasquez, "APPROVED” (Graystone Mortgage LLC) about 10 years ago

Wow, what a story. I have never heard anything like that regarding the number of buyers who wrote on a home an couldn't get financing. You certainly put in more than your fair share of work into that listing. It must be frustrating that you did everything right on your end and still ended up with major headaches.

Posted by Dan and Amy Schuman, Luxury Home Specialists (Howard Hanna Real Estate Services) about 10 years ago

Holy smokes! What an ordeal. I don't understand why you felt you needed to lower the price after every deal fell through...but nonetheless, now it's over. I'm sure the seller was going nuts too!

Posted by Carol Clay, Broker/REALTOR, Brevard NC Real Estate Specialist (Looking Glass Realty) about 10 years ago

(((clap, clap)))

Posted by Missy Caulk, Savvy Realtor - Ann Arbor Real Estate (Missy Caulk TEAM) about 10 years ago

Wow Donna.  Congratulations on getting this done!  I can't believe how many 'approved' buyers you had to go through.   

Posted by Erik Hitzelberger, Louisville - Middletown Real Estate (RE/MAX Alliance - Louisville REALTOR-Luxury Homes) about 10 years ago

Wow - that IS a roller coaster of a ride !  Good job!

Posted by James Downing - Metro DC Houses Team REALTORS®, CRS, GRI, ABR,MRP, MilRes, When Looking to Buy or Sell - Make the Right Move (Real Living | At Home) about 10 years ago

Jesse, My emotions were all over the board throughout.  I was more frustrated than the seller many times.  I take things personally, sometimes too personally, and since I helped pick out all the upgrades in the house, I was more offended by the price as we kept lowering it.

Dan & Amy, I know!  There is nothing else I could have done except insisted the buyers call one of my lenders to ensure approval.

Carol, because as it would go under contract, and then back active, it was getting stale and more stale.  Price adjustments peek people's attention.  Plus, as we dropped it, we were hoping for a buyer who could see the value and was approved for a much higher price range, since they were looking in this neighborhood of higher prices homes, and being approved higher, was supposed to ensure an easy approval at the lower amount.

Missy, *takes a bow* Thank you!

Erik, Thanks, and no joke! The story got old months ago!

Posted by Donna Harris, Realtor,Mediator,Ombudsman,Property Tax Arbitrator (Donna Homes, powered by JPAR - about 10 years ago

Well at least it closed -- there are many homes in the world with more showings than that which are not closed -- Congratulations!

Posted by Bob & Carolin Benjamin, East Phoenix Arizona Homes (Benjamin Realty LLC) about 10 years ago

Whew!  Thank God it is closed.  It is all about getting from 'Point A to Point B!'  Congrats!

Posted by Jim Crawford, Jim Crawford Atlanta Best Listing Agents & REALTOR (Crye-Leike REALTORS®) about 10 years ago

Bob & Carolin, Dang, I can't imagine a home getting more showings than this and not closing...

Jim, Except in this case, it wasn't a straight line to get from A to B. There were many many hills and valleys, and curves, and bumps.  I think I got car sick!

Posted by Donna Harris, Realtor,Mediator,Ombudsman,Property Tax Arbitrator (Donna Homes, powered by JPAR - about 10 years ago

Donna, check out my blog today,,,, lets spread the work....

Posted by Jesse Vasquez, "APPROVED” (Graystone Mortgage LLC) about 10 years ago

I feel your pain... My sellers were going to be closing on their home today but the buyer's loan officer (who decided he wanted to become a police officer, so is now doing mortgage just part-time) let the buyers lock expire and with most of the mortgage companies going to a minimum 620 credit score on FHA was SOL (buyer has and had a score under 620 but over 600)...

We've had to extend the closing since Countrywide said they could do it, but the line for underwriting is 12 days!  End of March close here we come!

Posted by Nick Good, (The Good Home Team with Keller Williams Realty) about 10 years ago

Jesse, Yes, it was a good one, and you even added a picture!

Nick, Part-timers, don't you just love 'em!

Posted by Donna Harris, Realtor,Mediator,Ombudsman,Property Tax Arbitrator (Donna Homes, powered by JPAR - about 10 years ago

Had a similar experience with a listing that got over 100 showings and never an offer. After 6 months, they took it off the market. You know what I think the problem was? It was vacant so I had it staged and furniture plus accessories were brought in. Professional photos were taken and they looked great. In fact, I think they looked too great. I believe that when the buyers came to see the house they were disappointed because it didn't look as good in real life as it did in the photos.

Posted by Robin Scott, Broker, CRS, ABR, SRS, REALTOR® - Austin Texas (Robin Scott, REALTOR®) about 10 years ago