Seeing as in recent weeks, I have consulted this forum, I felt I was duty bound to write and let everyone know my experience. I have contacted a few of you personally and I thank you for your replies.
This long story begins with our decision to sell our 32.8 ping flat with car space. We bought it a year ago and renovated it. We had intended to stay here for a while but whilst out on the north coast a few weeks ago fell in love with a house right by the sea. We decided to buy that house and so needed to sell this flat to fund the deal. Our place in Taipei was already on the market as we had wanted to test the waters.
About five months ago we received a bid of 7.6 million which at the time we turned down. Once we had found the place on the coast that we wanted to buy, we went back to the real estate agent and told them that if anyone offered a similar price again we would accept. I expected them to contact the person who had made the original bid but apparently he was "not available". In the meantime, they brought other families round ane we were told a couple had made bids of around 6.7 million and would we consider lowering our price. After a lot of persuading we lowered to 7.2 million. What I didn't realise at the time was that the new price was for anyone to come and bid for, not just those specific families we were negotiating with at that time.
The next day we received a call from the real estate saying that they had found the original bidder and he was now willing to pay 7.2 million. I found the whole thing suspicious and had many theories running through my mind. Were they still selling it to him for the original price and taking a larger cut for themselves? Had they in fact found him, or was someone else going to buy our place and then sell it to him? Were the families they brought round just a scam to get us to lower our price because in fact they had found the original bidder all the time?
Anyway the real estate said that because someone had met our price, the deal had effectively been done. They were getting nervous as at that time only two days remained on our contract with them and they were about to miss out on all their commission. We refused to recognise the sale saying that just because someone had met our price did not mean the sale had gone through, after all we hadn't discussed payment terms, moving out dates etc. They started to pressurize us saying that if we changed our mind, we might be liable to a 4% penalty. It all became very stressful and worrying with us at some points thinking that we were going to lose our house completely. We realised that owners without a mortgage such as us were effectively in a dangerous position as the deeds of the house are changed before the final payment is made. Therefore, one has to get a large downpayment to lower the risk. I started to make difficult demands like 70% up front and a moving out date of middle of February. Eventually it came down to a meeting with the buyer, the real estate agent, and us on the night before the contract ended.
I was so angry and suspicious that I took along a tape recorder and with everyone's permission taped the conversation. I said that in the event of needing a lawyer, that it would be useful to have a record of the conversation.
I made a point of wanting to see all of the paperwork, none of which could be produced - specifically I wanted to see if the other bids really existed. I also said openly in front of the buyer that we were to receive 7.2 million at which point he became very angry saying the real estate had told him we were to receive 7.5 million. They had even told him that someone else had made a bid equal to his and that he should pay an extra 50,000 to secure it. As you can imagine no deal was made that night. Fortunately it was he who backed out of the deal, so the real estate could not accuse us of changing our minds.
That was two days ago. Since then we have advertised privately within our community and have accepted a bid of 7.5 million, with 80% up front. We are now nearing the end of this terrible experience.
I hope this helps others. I would advise people to watch agents here very carefully. We hired them to protect us from others who might try to do something underhand never realising that it was them who would try something like that.