[This is part of a series of posts on the home buying process I'm going thru. To see the full set, visit the house category archives.]

The wait is over. I just got the call. I had the better offer but still did not get the townhouse.


I'm not a family.

Yes, that's their reason.


Pardon my french, but why the fuck didn't they put that on the damned listing instead of letting me waste hours today seeing the place (twice), comparing with two other places, and then doing that mountain of paperwork to assemble an offer (the higher offer, I might add) to meet their deadline?


It's a good thing I'm not gay. Or black. Or ... both.

This really pisses me off. There was a filter there all along, but I wasn't told about it until far too late in the process. I hope the new residents of 39 Starlite Court in Mountain View enjoy their place.


The search continues... But first, I need a drink or two.

Posted by jzawodn at January 20, 2004 09:40 PM

Reader Comments
# rick said:

Blame your agent or theirs. Ideally your agent should be feeling out their agent for an idea of what kind of offer they're looking for and should be selling you as the greatest human being alive when presenting the offer. In a seller's market, the sellers can afford to be picky and like it or not, sellers are going to consider who they're passing their home (yes home, not house) to, especially if they have neighbors they like, and very especially if they plan to remain in touch with their neighbors.

on January 20, 2004 10:08 PM
# Patrick Grote said:

What? Cats don't count?

I thought California was the more progressive of the states.

on January 20, 2004 10:16 PM
# Craig said:

Tell them you're gay and threaten to sue.

on January 20, 2004 10:55 PM
# Craig said:

...and black.

on January 20, 2004 10:56 PM
# Ben said:

LOL, now they'll think you're an alcoholic too!

on January 20, 2004 11:22 PM
# Chris said:

It strikes me as strange you found out they accepted a lower offer; just their agent fscking up I guess.

I think you have grounds to have words with them over this 'discrimination'.

Hay Craig, It wouldn’t happen in the money grabbing UK.. First with the right (highest price) and in a fit state to move with a ‘ready’ mortgage would win 99 times out of 100. the other 1% would get fobbed off with 'a better offer has been accepted with no clarification of what "better" was.

on January 21, 2004 01:05 AM
# Chris said:

Happy hangover BTW. :D

on January 21, 2004 01:05 AM
# Greg said:

Yep, nowadays it's only the single white male who's discriminated against!

on January 21, 2004 01:57 AM
# David said:

In Canada, you'd have a discrimination case too.

on January 21, 2004 02:40 AM
# Eric said:

What if you go out and adopt some kids or something?

on January 21, 2004 03:30 AM
# Kenneth said:

Just bring some kids... Thats really strange, In Norway the law says you have to sell to the highest bidder if you sell on the open market.

on January 21, 2004 03:36 AM
# halla said:

It seems that you have some grounds to look into why you were discriminated against. Get that in writing. Even if you don't want to live there now (I wouldn't) it's still worth the principle of the thing.

If it helped I'd come to Cali to look at places with you, being female and all. :)

on January 21, 2004 04:15 AM
# Josh Woodward said:

I'd seriously look into the discrimination charge, that's crap. Plus, the sellers are morons, assuming they're a family who is moving out and selling it to you. Why in the world would they care if they "stuck" the rest of the unit with a single guy? They're leaving, and they're getting more money. Morons.

on January 21, 2004 05:10 AM
# Barnaby James said:

I've never really understood this whole "do I like the buyers" thing that goes on when people are selling a house. By definition, these are people you are not going to be living next door to so what difference does it make?

As for why they didn't advertise this "filter" they were using -- I'm sure this preference only applies if they have a choice. Trust me, had yours been the only offer, they would have sold you the house.

Anyway the lesson here is that there is always another home. Lot's of people get stuck in a "I have to live here" mindset -- trust me, you'll forget about this place inside of a week...

on January 21, 2004 06:49 AM
# incognito said:

I am with Josh W. Get that in writing and look into a charge of discrimination and deman double your ernest money back! Of course I hope that the other peoples mortgage falls through and the selling couple have to make a deal with you. At that point low ball the hell out of them.

on January 21, 2004 06:52 AM
# Juan Miguel Venturello said:

Darn I would also be pissed off like mad at this. So stupid...

BTW, since when do people 'with a family' are automatically better neightbors? I've seen my share of family fights, screaming kids, drunken husbands, etc...

Stupid stupid stupid stupid. But get happy, Yahoo stock is up!

on January 21, 2004 06:56 AM
# pmp said:

When I sold my townhouse, I accepted an offer that was 2K lower than the high bidder. My reason? I liked the people that made the lower offer. I wanted them to have the house rather than the high bidder.

In my case, the high bidder was a lawyer and was single. The lawyer part scared me since he was more likely to be litigious.

But eventually came down to the fact that we met and liked the family. I felt better about those people living in my house then that other guy.

Unfortunately, being single is not a protected class.

on January 21, 2004 07:55 AM
# rick said:

In California, agents can't discriminate. Sellers can and do.

on January 21, 2004 08:10 AM
# BillSaysThis said:

Damn, for once someone in America makes a choice that isn't based on money or some anti-ism and they get jumped like a 97 pound weakling at the beach! I'm sad for you Jeremy but puh-leeze; when I bought the house I'm living in now, I bid on six others first so losing out on your first offer is hardly a dealio.

on January 21, 2004 08:56 AM
# Joe Grossberg said:

It's a good thing I'm not gay. Or black. Or ... both.

It could be even worse that that.

You could be gay and black in Texas.

on January 21, 2004 09:08 AM
# viavr said:

Yes Jeremy: your agent needs to present a 'case' that is beyond the monetary offer and standard deal terms and conditions. I wonder how much strategy you and your agent conducted prior to the agent presenting the offer.
Armchair Intermediary

on January 21, 2004 10:16 AM
# dws said:

That blows. This is the type of thing that buyers' agents (theirs) brag about over drinks. "Then I played the your family card..."

on January 21, 2004 10:29 AM
# jeff said:

In the end it is a seller's market and they can be as choosy as they like when it comes to picking the seller. I've been in the same situation as you a few times and all I can say is that "It wasn't meant to be".

Sorry for the cliche, but you will find another place that you absolutely love and the buyer will pick *YOU*.

on January 21, 2004 10:33 AM
# Koz said:

I really don't follow. Who didn't accept the offer? The current owners? Or is it some kind of new development?

Here in New Zealand it's basically unheard of to accept anything other than the highest offer. Was this place some kind of Gated Community?

American culture confuses me more and more.

on January 21, 2004 12:38 PM
# Steve Lambert said:

On a townhouse? Sheesh. Maybe the seller is trying to stick it to the neighbors. Six kids minimum before we'll sell to you.

For those who would sell to the person with the lower offer, how much is it worth to you? How much lower of an offer would you accept to sell to the family rather than the single person?

Doesn't sound like it's the case with this seller, but many non-discrimination laws/ordinances that mention sexual orientation protect everyone because they apply also if the person discriminating thinks you are/might be gay even if you are not.

on January 21, 2004 01:22 PM
# Martin Streicher said:


I am happy to lease my family to you for a competitive rate. After the seller sees poor little Ethan with his third arm and scales and darling Madeline, who is only a foot tall and has bright pink hair, they'll be bowled over. Hey, even mutants need a home.

on January 21, 2004 02:48 PM
# Ed said:

Just do a Briteny Spears type marriage. You could probably even borrow some kids from Michael Jackson.

on January 21, 2004 03:06 PM
# Jeremy Zawodny said:

Damn, Ed. That's hillarious! :-)

on January 21, 2004 03:13 PM
# Victor said:

I wonder how much more you bid than the winner did. My gf's brother sold his house a couple of months ago -- they got multiple offers 2 weeks after they put the house on the market. They were in the similar situation -- they needed to pick one bidder from four or five. They were actually thinking to give it to the second bidder, but eventaully sold the house to the first bidder because the bid was 10k more. I am pretty sure if it's only 2k or 3k more, they would have sold it to the second bidder.

So I wonder how much more you bid than the winner did. Well, there is almost always a price on everything.

on January 21, 2004 06:20 PM
# Jeremy Zawodny said:


My guess is that there was an $6,000 (or more) difference or so. I know that the other party offered less than the asking price. I'm guessing they came in $2k under. Otherwise, what's the point of going under.

I offered $4k over asking.


on January 21, 2004 06:37 PM
# Steve Friedl said:

"Bigotry" is free, but "discrimination" costs. These odd folks apparently decided that it was worth real, actual money to sell to buyers more to their liking, and it's hard to argue with a choice that somebody is willing to lay a coupla grand out for.

Sorry man. I have a spare refrigerator box you can borrow in the interim

Steve :)

on January 21, 2004 08:44 PM
# rhb said:

Its their house and their right to sell to whomever they want, for whatever reason they want, for whatever price they want.

Anyone believing otherwise has bought into some neo-belief system, peddled by a twisted, modern day tower of babel. that somehow contends private property isn't really property and is hardly private.

on January 21, 2004 09:36 PM
# Ann said:

Get thee to the nearest Federal Housing office or California Department of Fair Employment and Housing Office and file a complaint. There's no discrimination allowed on the basis of familial status. Good luck!

on January 22, 2004 06:23 PM
# rhb said:

Ann you put the "C" in communism. Its their property they should be allowed to sell it to whomever they want for whatever reason they want.

The whole concept that you are somehoe entitled to purchase someone's property because you are (or aren't) a certain race, or have a certian marital status is evil.

on January 24, 2004 01:39 PM
# Gary Dayton said:

I believe the same thing is happening to me.
I offered the highest offer..or at least that is what the agent said. But I didn't get the house.
She said it was because the seller(which happened to be a bank,,forclosed home)didn't want to deal with VA financing because they didn't want to make repairs if they had to.

There was nothing to repair. The home would have passed inspection no problem. So I am thinking it was because I am single and the other potential buyers are families.
I will be filing a discrimination coplaint first thing tomorrow. It makes me feel better that I am not alone.
Nor are you it seems.

Good luck!


on January 30, 2006 09:36 PM
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