Haus Schwatz: Cati's DC Real Estate


This House Is "On The Market?" Really??

Vallonia Sears Kit House"Call 1-st Lister," said the showing instructions. So I did. I left a message on the agent's voice mail, that is, requesting a Friday afternoon or Sunday showing.

 She called back quickly. "Sorry," she said, "but I don't have a key."

 "So we have to make an appointment with the sellers?”

 “The sellers are out of state. But they have promised to send me a key.”

 “But the house has been on the market for two and a half weeks. And nobody has been able to see it?”

 “I haven’t seen it, either. The tenants are kind of, ehm, hostile.”

“But it’s in the MLS?”

 “Well, yes.”

 “Do you have some interior pictures?” There weren’t any online.

 “No. Can I take your information and call you back?”

 Later on Friday, she called back. She had been to the house and talked to somebody who lives there. They were “not happy” about the house being sold. They were not willing to give her a phone number or email address, she said, or to accommodate showings.

The house is an 87-year-old bungalow on a 25,000 square foot, park-like lot. Maybe the agent secretly hoped somebody would buy it for the land?

 What I didn’t tell her, and what she either didn’t know or didn’t care about was the fact that the house is a 1920s Sears kit home in a historic little neighborhood in walking distance from the University of Maryland’s main campus. (I had written about the house on another blog where I feature historic mail-order homes that are currently for sale in the DC area.) The buyer I wanted to take there is a professor at UMD.

 Our MLS rules here say a home must be made available for showings within 48 hours of entering it. And otherwise, what’s the point?In any case, we’re not going to give up…

© 2012, Catarina Bannier


Comment balloon 8 commentsCatarina Bannier • March 25 2012 12:12PM


We have a few of those Sears kit houses in Raleigh, too, and they're very sought-after.  Good luck with your quest to get inside.  Most standard leases include a requirement that the tenant allow "reasonable access" if the home is listed for sale.  I once was the listing agent for a home with tenants who informed me that "reasonable access" would be Sundays from noon to 1 pm.  The property management firm's attorney wrote a letter that threatened eviction, and we had no more difficulties with them.

Posted by Dianne Goode, Realtor/Broker (Raleigh Cary Realty) over 6 years ago

Working with tenants is never easy. Sounds like listing agent better get on the owner to participate.

Posted by Bill Reddington, Destin Florida Real Estate (Re/max Southern Realty) over 6 years ago

Tenants sometimes require eviction when they are uncooperative...sounds like that may be the case.

Posted by Sally K. & David L. Hanson, WI Realtors - Luxury - Divorce (EXP Realty 414-525-0563) over 6 years ago

Good Luck with this one...sounds like everyone involved is missing a few screws...

Posted by Beth and Richard Witt, Long Island Cash Home Buyer 516-330-6940 (Long Island Cash Home Buyer) over 6 years ago

She probably should have hired a locksmith to change the lock and give keys to the agent and the tenants.

Posted by Edward Gilmartin (CRE) over 6 years ago

Dianne--how generous of those tenants! Perhaps a nasty letter is all it takes for some of them. It's so hard to predict how somebody will actually behave when you look at their rental application. However, I still think this all needs to be sorted out before you enter a listing.

Bill--this all makes me wonder if the owners even know who they have living there. Or maybe they do know, and that's why they want to sell. Likely some group share of students, given that it's a 7-bedroom house near the university.

Posted by Catarina Bannier, DC Real Estate The Smart And Fun Way (Compass) over 6 years ago

Sally & David--that might often be the better way to go, anyhow. Haven't seen a house that would "show" well with a bunch of college kids living in it (and that's what it seems to be).

Richard--so true! LOL


Posted by Catarina Bannier, DC Real Estate The Smart And Fun Way (Compass) over 6 years ago

Edward--brillant idea! Just hope that none of the tenants own a gun...

David--yes, that was the kicker for me, too!! Can you imagine?! (And how would she have arrived at her list price?)

Posted by Catarina Bannier, DC Real Estate The Smart And Fun Way (Compass) over 6 years ago