robert turner

Buying a car is easy, buying a house is really hard

Conservatively speaking, I have probably bought and sold 40+ cars over the years. Some of the sales have been pretty straight forward. As in you come an agreed upon price and the deal is done. My wife will tell you that I enjoy the car dealer experience and love the haggling over obscure finer points like the MSO and hold back dollars. But some Private party sales can be more challenging. You no doubt will agree if you have ever sold an older Porsche (or one that has a ton of go fast mods). Yep, get ready for it. Endless questions. Even if your carefully crafted For Sale ad addressing all of the salient points of the car, someone will ask you to go even deeper…”can you tell me the valve clearance on the 3rd Cylinder at TDC when the engine is completely cold and when it is running at normal operating conditions”. Yes I have had those questions. And if you have sold a Porsche…any Porsche, I bet you have had them too.
At one point years ago, we even had an infant son poop his diaper during a Mazda 626 negotiation. We were way far apart on the price, but eau de soiled diaper prevailed and we won the deal. Or the endless sale…the deal on my last 944 Turbo (or 951 for those of you paying attention) just seemed to drag on forever. The guy that bought it had every intention of turning around and selling it, making a few bucks on the deal. Yes, even though I had sold it to him at top dollar. He called me months later, begging me to get a new registration sticker for him since he had not titled it yet. He even came back to me a year later asking for me to do it again. I politely said no, at that point he owned it.
But man, buying a home? It makes the hardest car deal look positively simple. We are selling our fairly new home. It’s a long sordid tale about the builder screwing us over royally, but bottom line they fixed all the issues (and then some) and the house is perfect. But we had enough and have decided to move on. So now you have to deal with things like “comps” and the CSS (central showing service) that texts you at all hours of the day to let you know that someone is going to come and look at your home. Oh, and your home has to be model perfect. Man that is hard! I mean we live here with a 90 lb lap dog that is very furry. Yes, there’s dog hair everywhere. I mean everywhere! Even in places you do not normally look. But trust me when you do, his hair is there.

So it seems that there is some kind of realtor code. How do I know this? Well I don’t, but I suspect there is. I mean how else do explain that we made a very good offer for a home and we did not get what I would call an answer. We got realtor speak, but nothing concrete from the sellers. I just want a simple yes or no, I want a counter offer. That can I understand and work with. I can negotiate from there. But something clothed in smooth realtor double speak - that I cannot condone or understand. 

This is not our first rodeo, the next purchase will be our 6th home. You would think you learned a few things over the years. But with a white hot market, seems that realtors are all about the Benjamin’s and screw the buyer or seller. Geez a hot housing market is really tough to navigate. I miss the ease of a tough dealer negotiation or the endless questions when selling a Porsche. I just want to buy a house.

And on that exhaust note, see you all next time.

image sources:

Robert Turner is the author of The Driver, a series of six novels your editor in chief finds intoxicatingly engaging and superbly written; Book I— Decision and Book II— Training are currently available hereHe also has a blog entitled My Life with Porsches. Robert can be contacted at


Your comment will be posted after it is approved.

Leave a Reply