The Modi'in house sold! Last week, actually, but I've been too worn out to post anything!
Do NOT think that because you have a willing buyer and a willing seller and a verbally agreed-upon price, that the haggling is over. The final stages of house buying/selling negotiation go like this:
Following the discussion of whether or not the sale will be in dollars or shekels (the Buyer wants shekels, we want dollars) we met to discuss what rate of dollars to shekels.
The Buyer proposed freezing the dollar/shekel rate at 4.35. I am immediately agreeable to this because I am the only one at the table reading the financial news and watching the sub-prime market in the States wobbling....but no one else on our negotiating team wants to do this for fear that the dollar will rise some more to 4.4 or 4.5. We discuss possibly letting the rate float, but I want to talk to our attorney afterwards.
Afterwards, I tell our attorney I want to fix the dollar/shekel exchange rate at 4.35 and my reasons. She argues vehemently against this but finally accedes, but puts in a proviso I didn't think about: the exchange rate will be 4.35 as of the signing but will float with the Treasury rate upwards but never go below 4.35 even if the dollar takes a dive.
Our Buyer's attorney rejects this. We're back to discussing shekels, dollars and exchange rates, although technically we are agreed in principle to a certain dollar figure.
After phone calls back and forth, our attorney to their attorney, their attorney to the Buyer, the Buyer to Yossi, Yossi to our attorney, our attorney to Yossi, our attorney to us, I finally said, "MASPEAK! I'm NOT doing this anymore -- this is the price in shekels and want the contract signed on Sunday or we're going to take the back-up offer!"
The Buyer wants the house--the price is excellent, its close to all of his adult kids and grandchildren, and its in the Buchman section of Modi'in, so it's a hot property at the moment, especially now that the train is in and running to Tel Aviv.
Our attorney puts the shekel price in the contract, forwards the contract to the Buyer's attorney, and the Buyer calls and tells us everything is fine and we're on to sign the contract.
Then we negotiate which day is the right day we can ALL be present for the signing. The best part of this discussion is that the Buyers agree to come, with attorneys, to Jerusalem so we're not tramping down to Tel Aviv.
We agree on a date. The night before, the Buyer's attorney calls and suddenly the price isn't correct. Our attorney tells him that this is the price the Seller set last week, it's been in the contract, your client wanted it in shekels in the first place, and wanted a fixed price if in dollars. This was the shekel price as of last Yom Chamishi (Thursday) based on the dollar/shekel exchange rate of that date.
Ah, but now the dollar/shekel exchange rate has dropped, Buyer's Attorney argues.
Our attorney calls me. "What do you want to do? He wants today's exchange rate," she tells me.
No way. I am not renegotiating this price; I put it in shekels (which the Buyer wanted originally) at the exact exchange rate he proposed last week (which our lawyers said we shouldn't do) without a float attached to the interest rate.
No way am I getting any more s%#$@ed than I already am -- "That's the price," I told our attorney. "Take it or leave it."
The Buyer knows we have two back-up offers. He takes it.
But, in the Jerusalem office, before signing, he asked to speak to us alone, without the attorneys, and pleaded with us to use the current dollar/shekel exchange rate....or at least split the difference.
I felt bad. The Husband felt bad. The Buyer is a nice guy and I like him and his wife. But....this is business and the real estate agent was their personal friend, advocating for them instead of getting us a better price; we'd already come down on the asking price in order to get a quick sale......We said "No." The price in shekels is a fair price, we told them....
....and then their Attorney opened his big mouth when he came in and told our attorney that it was really a hardship for the Buyers because now they would have to take out a mortgage!
Yeah, they sold their house up in Karmiel for a bundle and have cash for this Modi'in house--and, contrary to the real estate agent's representation, they could easily have afforded the original asking price, BUT they wanted to pay cash and not have a mortgage.
Wouldn't we all?
Any sympathy I had for the Buyer went right out the window after that announcement. So now he'll have to take a piddling little mortgage and pay a little bit more because the shekel/dollar exchange rate got pegged at the rate he asked for and the price was fixed in shekels as he originally asked for......and then he tries to s@#$# us when the exchange rate drops.
I've made some financial mistakes in this country since coming here, as I'm sure most olim chadashim have, but I'm not about to make more than I have to.....
We're walking away with the price that was better than I expected, and at approximately the price I wanted to end with originally.