“Money is a powerful aphrodisiac. But flowers work almost as well.”
by Lazarus Long




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people suck

We are days away from closing on our new house in Raleigh, and things are getting down to the wire.  One of the ongoing difficulties is that our offer, and the standard offer contract for North Carolina, apparently, specified that the current homeowners would leave anything attached to the walls where it was – this includes shelving, curtain rods, and so forth. 

Imagine our surprise when we arrived at the house a few weeks ago for the house inspection and discovered curtain rods jammed willy-nilly into the trash can on the street.  The owners had left the downstairs rods but taken every rod and mount out of every bedroom and left all the holes unrepaired.  When we inquired, apparently they wanted to take their master bedroom rods with them, and the kid bedroom rods were "broken" (they certainly had to break them to get them into the trash can) and they did not want to leave them, so did they want us to patch the holes or put up new rods? 

Well, all the bedrooms are painted specific colors, and trying to patch them to match would not be something I would trust an average homeowner to do, so we requested they just put up something, and if we did not like it we would take it down and figure out a fix later. 

The response back was that the home owners would not be putting up curtain rods, and their realtor was offering a $50 Bed, Bath, and Beyond gift card to compensate for it.  No explanation was given for the change in tune. 

The current homeowners are unquestionably in breach of contract – something our realtor and their realtor both acknowledge – and we would be well within our rights to simply walk away, over something as stupidly inconsequential as curtain rods, but the homeowners still dug their feet in.  Further, understand that their house has already almost-sold once (that it fell through previously was not their fault, though the public perception of sales that fall through is negative regardless of who is to blame), and us backing out now would cost both parties somewhere on the order of thousands of dollars in unrecoverable costs.  Each. 

Over curtain rods.  That they contractually agreed to leave in the house. 

So their realtor sucked it up, and rather than lose his ~3% cut of the sale price, offered a way to fix the situation himself. 

These homeowners have children, and I can only imagine – and fear – that they will pass on the same character qualities that cause someone to conclude that a contract for a multi-hundred-thousand-dollar house is worth breaking over <$50 in parts and 30 minutes in labor. 

People see our country and our culture slowly rotting around us and understandably cast about for explanations; unfortunately, the big, flashy items – things that are more likely symptoms rather than the core problem, if even related at all – grab their attention right off the bat.  Personally, I contend it is the little things, things like keeping the terms of a contract you signed, where you will find the true source of a society’s success… or failure. 

11 comments to people suck

  • Other than the sellers of the house who seem to be assholes, how is the move to North Carolina going?

  • I would wager that the sellers simply signed whatever the realtor put under their nose, and never read the terms.

    Could you take them to court for the breach? Surely you could.

    Would a court side with you? 50-50 chance, at best. Courts don’t want to get involved in squabbles.

    Unfortunately, it would be way too expensive to simply tell the selling party to frack off, and walk away from the deal. Real estate closings suck. Dealing in real estate sucks. I’d rather have root canal.

  • Ted N


    Fuck this, I’m movin’ to Grainne. At least there, the Rippers’ll eat a few of these chowderheads. Sigh.

  • Skas

    Oof, that sucks. Our real estate experience (just closed last Friday – about 30 miles closer to work than before), but there’s all sorts of little stuff that the inspection didn’t pick up on that’s starting to add up.

    Good luck, mang!

  • Charge them $1k for the breach of contract or you walk. That’s just the a-hole in me speaking.

  • I would have left you the broken ones and slapped a ten dollar one up in the master. It doesn’t matter, either way the first thing a new owner does is repaint and change curtain rods anyway.

  • Archer

    We had a similar situation when we bought our house: the sellers wouldn’t vacate by the agreed-upon date, which put them in-breach-of-contract.

    We tried to be reasonable, offered to let them stay, but they’d have to pay rent (like we were being forced to do, trying to move from an apartment to the house that they wouldn’t leave). The response we got was something like, “I’m not going to pay someone to live in my own house,” apparently completely missing the fact that, as of the closing date, it wasn’t their house anymore, it was ours.

    In the end, their realtor went to bat for us, and convinced them to leave. Almost a week after the agreed-upon date. We were barely able to vacate the apartment and avoid paying another month’s rent.

    I feel for the realtors, especially in this market. But I truly appreciate the good people who’ll do the right thing.

  • @ John Richardson: Honestly, it is almost over. We already took over about a ton of crap, we close on the house shortly, and the movers are already scheduled and set up. There are, have been, and will be a few hiccups along the way, but I have had worse moves.

    @ Dragon: Going to court over curtain rods is hardly worth it. Unless they are gold-plated. Or made out of Barretts. And, at this point, it would cost us thousands to stop/delay closing. And they know it.

    Buying a home sucks. Unfortunately, from observing my parents’ experiences as a kid, building a home sucks too, potentially more.

    @ Ted N: Would that were an option. I have no doubt Better Half and I could find employment there…

    @ Skas: Congratulations on the new home! As we discovered with ours, you never want to dig into any wall, floor, ceiling, or other surface that has not already been disturbed – what you will find will only add to your list.

    @ Tango: Unfortunately, there does not appear to be any mechanism in the contract to allow for that. It is either broken, or not.

    @ Dave W: And we would have been happy with $10 rods, honestly; we just wanted something to cover up the holes left when they took down the old ones.

    @ Archer: At my current level of frustration with the process, I think my response to that kind of situation would have been to give them until such time as I did not feel comfortable that I could move out and not pay another month’s apartment rent, and then call the cops on account of trespassers occupying my house. Granted, the inevitable trial, should I follow through, would be pointlessly expensive, but just the threat of the police might have been sufficient to encourage compliance.

  • Robert

    Hope things go smoother for you, and welcome to North Carolina.

  • What a bunch a jerk weeds. Just me, but I would find out their new address and subscribe them to a bunch of alternative adult magazines. Maybe 50 or so. 😉

  • Apparently they upgraded homes in the local area… We successfully negotiated them down to the point where they had to bring a non-zero percentage of their old home’s value to the bargaining table, and I imagine they are a bit annoyed at that.