In which I wish I was a famous blogger… (or: the patio debacle)

Oh good lord… its been a DAY.

When we went in to sign the papers yesterday… I did something that shocked everyone in the room (except B)… I actually wanted to read ALL of the words on the pages that I was signing. I know, weird huh? Sure it took a bit longer… but honestly this is a purchase that will affect the rest of our lives so I think it was worth the extra hour of reading. Especially because I found a mistake.

After all of the haggling back and forth, we had a deal. Or so I thought. Let’s take a trip back to Friday… I’ll spare you the full text of each email but here is essentially what happened with all necessary terms in quotes.

1pm: Realtor faxes to Sales Rep an offer “xxx,xxx to include 10×16 stamped concrete patio”

3pm: Sales Rep to Realtor “no can do, we DO NOT NEGOTIATE on spec homes. We can do “the patio” but it would have to be at your cost”

3:30pm: Sales Rep to Realtor “btw, we can’t hold the house without $500, so if you want it held this weekend we need a check by 5:30pm”

4:30pm: Me to Sales Rep “we’ll pay the asking price if you throw in “the patio” for free”

5:05pm: Sales Rep to Me “it took some doing, but I got you “the concrete patio” for free if you can get the check here by 5:30pm”

5:06pm: Me to Sales Rep “on my way!!”

Easy enough… yes? Guess not. When we were going through the papers, the options sheet listed the addition of a 10×16 PLAIN concrete patio (rather than the stamped that we had asked for). I pointed out this oversight and the sales rep claimed that we had not agreed to the stamped concrete, but rather to plain concrete. After some checking of email and talking to staff the problem was discovered: sales rep was actually out of the office on Friday and her assistant had received and conveyed the offer to the sales rep and she had mistakenly told the sales rep that we wanted plain concrete. Their mistake. Not ours. I refused to sign the papers and the sales rep said that she couldn’t agree to do the stamped concrete without manager approval which she couldnt get until Monday.

We decided to reprint the options page as we had agreed to it (I believe) with the stamped concrete and I signed that. The sales rep said she would “try” to talk her boss into it the following day and email me the copy executed by both parties.

Then all hell broke loose. At 11am today I get an email from sales rep: we cannot do stamped concrete for you for free… and in fact we really can’t do ANY patio for you. Hows about we give you $1000 off the home price.

Um… no. 1) a stamped concrete patio is worth $2400 and 2) 1000 off my mortgage is not 1000 in my pocket towards a new patio.

We went around and around. I believe they agreed to a stamped concrete patio and if M/I’s sales agent made a mistake (especially one in which the price difference is less than $2000), M/I should really honor their commitment. 50+ (no really… it took that many) emails later B and I were just done. They were not budging and I had a headache… we needed to get this DONE. So… we very begrudgingly agreed to take $1,000 off of our prepaids and come in to sign a new options page.

The bottom line is: I’m pissed. At best it was an honest mistake of a sales agent resulting in miscommunication between employees; at worst it was bait and switch. Either way– M/I should stand by their commitments. This hard line “we don’t negotiate” stuff is bullshit. It’s a house, of course it is negotiable. The most frustrating thing is that they have us over a barrel… they know we love the house, they know that we’re not going to walk away from it over one or two thousand dollars, and they have no incentive really to stand by their word. Times like this I wish I the power of Dooce.


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