Hoping for a better outcome: Sarah & Ethan


This is part of an ongoing series about what “happily ever after” can look like. We’re giving you stories about previous home buyers and sellers and some of the challenges they faced. If they made it through, so can you! All client names have been changed to protect the innocent and crazy. 


Sarah and Ethan contacted me right before they got engaged. They knew marriage was on the horizon and wanted to start looking for a house. With a modest budget and having good fixer-upper skills, they wanted a New Orleans home they could make their own.

It didn’t take us long to find, what they thought, the perfect fixer-upper. It was on the edge of the neighborhood they wanted to be in, had a large lot, and a lot of charm.


Y’all know this when the trouble started. 

The house was a succession property. Specifically, when the father died, he had no will. Which means a large portion of the estate was left to his children. His second wife still lived there and basically had to no claim to the property.

The second wife filled out the disclosures; however, she claimed she didn’t know much of anything because her husband handled everything. The kids never lived there, so they also didn’t know anything about the condition of the property.


That’s ok. We can get inspections. 

Wanna take a wild guess on how inspections went? It wasn’t great. We found active termites. We found so many termites that three different termite companies come out and tell us the house MUST be treated immediately.

Well, the kids of the deceased father decided that wasn’t true. They would not get the house treated and wouldn’t give any leeway to allow us to treat the house either.


It wasn’t just termites. 

We found that from the winter freeze the year that many water lines had burst. The water heater line had also burst. The roof needed to be replaced. The foundation had issues. Should I stop there? Seems like enough, right? Also, the termites were eating through the hardwood floors and you could see through some of them. Plus all the little things that were found – old & unprofessional electrical work, outlets not grounded, not enough bracing for the roof, and an overgrown lot that was probably hiding snakes.


Silly sellers. 

We asked for a price reduction and the opportunity to get rid of the termites immediately. The sellers wouldn’t agree to anything because they had a third party in their ear telling them the house was worth so much more!


Happily ever after?

Not so much. Sarah and Ethan were not going to buy this house in its current condition for that much money – which I wholeheartedly agreed with. It would have been a bad investment for them. The sellers refused to acknowledge the MASSIVE amount of work that needed to be done and were in denial about the live termites.


So, what happened? 

This couple actually ended up moving to Florida. They didn’t buy any home in New Orleans.


What happened with the sellers though?

It’s been over a year and the house is still on the market. I’m sure the termite damage is worse. And they left their listing agent for another, who priced the house much too high. It sat on the market and then went back to the other agent. That agent continued to market the house in “very good” condition while it was truly in poor shape.

I still believe that the house is meant for someone very special. It has a certain energy in the house that you know the right people will come along and love it the right way.

As of 3/2019, it is listed for far less than what Sarah & Ethan were still willing to pay for it. The sellers should have worked with the offer in hand.

UPDATE: The house sold far below the original sales price.


Why hasn’t it sold since then?

It’s still overpriced for the condition of the property. (and the marketing isn’t great.)


What do we do in this situation? 

First and foremost, the Be New Orleans team would drop the price. It’s too much for the amount of work it needs. The second thing we would do is have the yard cleared to show how large the lot is. We would have the sellers get the house tented to stop the termite problem. Lastly, we would market it in a very specific way.


Want to talk with agents who will be honest about your property? Message us below or text us! 


What’s wrong with the house: A Tale of Property Disclosures

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