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Homeowning quandary: The Bad Beginning

A few days ago we signed closing papers for a house. Yesterday our escrow people confirmed everything was complete and the place was ours. Last night we drove over there, hoping to get a hold of our realtor and get the keys and walk into Our New House, just to look around and start dreaming of paint colors.

Imagine our confusion to find the lights were still on, the doors were open, an old truck was backed into the driveway, and one of the previous owners was directing some guys carrying stuff out of the house. Yes: They were still moving out. They were nowhere near done. It looked, in fact, as if they had just gotten started. We made some small talk and introductions with the woman, who was cheerful and seemingly oblivious as to their obligation to actually be out of the house by this time.

Being nice and non-confrontational people, we excused ourselves and wandered aside and called our realtor, who was not amused with the other team. He told us to get a key from the old owners, and figure out what was going on; and meanwhile he would leave a seriously unpleasant message for their realtor (who apparently neglected to make his clients understand that they actually had to, you know, vacate the premises by Friday). We got a key from Mrs. Oblivious, and decided, what the hell; we weren't going to get much done Friday night anyway, so we would come back Saturday morning. They swore they'd have the house cleared out by then, and would just have the outbuilding to clean out--which they would do over the weekend. Okay, fine, if you must. The house is the important part anyway.

So this morning we drive back over there. No one is around this time (they said they had to work Saturday), but:
a) The key Mrs. Oblivious gave us does not work, and
b) A look into the windows, and around the yard, indicates pretty clearly that they are not done clearing out. In fact, their stuff is still everywhere.

Today, we are not so inclined to be nice. This isn't just "kind of" our house. We aren't in a legal twilight period where it's "partially" ours and partially theirs. No. This is completely, legally, totally our house now--and we can't get into it and their stuff is all over the place. Our realtor has been unreachable today, but I'm sure he will have some choice words for them and their team, which I can't wait to hear. In the meantime I ask you...

Poll #388622 Homeowning quandary: The Bad Beginning

What should we do?

Get all the locks changed, without informing the previous owners
Have someone move all their stuff out and take it to their new place, and send them the bill
Charge them rent for the days they still have stuff in the house
Hack their realtor's website so it displays porn with his face on it
Obtain mob connections and apply some real "pressure"
Shrug it off, wait it out, and go do something fun - what's one weekend, right?

Other suggestions welcome in the comments. There's actually even more to the unprofessionalism and tackiness of these previous owners, but I'm too polite and disgusted to go into right now.



Nov. 21st, 2004 06:48 pm (UTC)
What a mess! I suddenly appreciate my cousin's (snovixen71) job much more.

I read all of the comments and agree that you need to get their stuff out pronto - it is your house and they have violated a contract at this point. I would also find out what the utilities were for these violated days (as was also mentioned) and bill them. There is an off-chance that you can call the utility companies and tell them that you haven't moved in yet so not to switch the utilities, but that's a tough one with the timing and all.

I'd also bill them for cleaning the entire premises (ESPECIALLY if that was part of the contract).

If they don't pay or continue to balk, I hope that this doesn't make it to small claims. In the event that it does, I would also add inconvenience fees to the list of debts.

That sucks...
Nov. 22nd, 2004 11:11 pm (UTC)
Unfortunately the contract doesn't seem to be too clear on the cleaning-out and possession portions of the deal--wherefore it sucks to be us. Heh. But we can indeed still lock them out. Unless they do something egregious, I do not have the energy for court, so they may "get away with it"--but then, we did get away with a pretty darn good price for a Seattle house. I think this is their revenge. ;)
Dec. 15th, 2004 03:02 am (UTC)
Pretty good revenge too I might say!

It's pretty near impossible to get a deal there, isn't it? I remember looking around there a time or two and just thinking how that would never happen. :(
Dec. 31st, 2004 11:15 pm (UTC)
Generally speaking, you can't get a decent-sized house, in decent condition, in a decent (i.e., non-crack-den) neighborhood within Seattle city limits for under $250,000. West Seattle is one of the last neighborhoods where you can still keep it under $300,000. This same house in Ballard (our old neighborhood) would probably have cost nearly $400,000--quite a bit out of our range! So, yeah, it's an expensive city...though it's still a damn sight more affordable than most of California. For what that's worth. :)