Let me tell you: I am done having our house on the market. D-O-N-E.
It’s now been three months since we first stuck the “Home for Sale” sign in our front yard, and to be honest, the last four weeks have been the toughest. I now understand why people find this process so exacerbating. It’s a frustrating process, one that is not only a physical inconvenience but an emotional undertaking as well.
- Asking Price: We started the month at $163,900 – two days ago, frustrated with the lack of traffic, I initiated a price drop of $4,000, bringing us down to $159,000 (more on this later)
- Online Views (at my Realtor’s website): 73 (less than half of what we had last month)
- Showings: 2 – well, sorta (more on that later, too)
- Offers: 0
What We’ve Done
Zero. Zilch. Zip. Nada. This is partly due to the fact that we’ve been lazy, partly due to the fact that we’re frustrated, and partly due to the fact that we’ve done just about everything we can to the house at this point. No need making it a money pit.
Our Realtor told us that spring would be a busy time in the real estate market, and it has been. In our neighborhood, two more properties have come on to the market in the last month.
- Comparable #1 (Comparable #1 in my month two update): no change from last month. They are still $158,900 and still a slightly larger – yet slightly less desirable – floor plan.
- Comparable #2 (Comparable #2 in my month two update): no change on this property either. However, I did learn that my intuition about being on the soggy end of the neighborhood was right. One of my husband’s coworkers is friend’s with the current owner (who has rented the house out for the last several years); like a game of telephone, we heard the house has a mold issue. I can’t imagine that’ll go over well if or when that house ever goes under contract.
- Comparable #3 (Comparable #3 in my month two update): again, no change here. My friend who owns this house told me she hasn’t had a single showing in the two months she’s had her house on the market, so at least we’re ahead of her. Whoopee.
- Comparable #4: This is a new property that came on the market in our neighborhood about three weeks ago… and went off the market about three days ago. Yup, at $162,900, it was on the market for about two weeks before getting an offer of $162,000. The floor plan is similar, the lot size and shape is similar, and the square footage is similar to ours. I’m wondering if they sold their first-born son right along with the property.
- Comparable #5: This is also a new property, also located on the soggy end of the neighborhood. This house is on the market for $147,000, despite the fact that it’s roughly the same size as my house. We spoke with the owners last week, and they told us that they’d had it on the market last fall without much traffic, and decided to wait until spring to put it back up for sale. They’re being aggressive with the price because, after a long winter mulling over their unsuccessful fall sale bid, they simply want the house to sell ASAP.
Emotionally Maxed Out
The start of the month actually looked really promising. That first Saturday, we had a scheduled showing – during my son’s nap time, of course. We devoted our entire morning and early afternoon to mowing the lawn, cleaning the house, and organizing the chaos that is inherent with two children age three and under; we even skipped our weekly exercise class at the Y to get it all done. Then, we bundled our incredibly fussy 11-month-old in the car with his sister and the dog and set out to spend an hour away from the house. When we returned 70 minutes later – with an even fussier baby – we didn’t see any tell-tale signs of potential buyers: no footprints on the newly vacuumed carpets, no Realtor business card on our kitchen counter. We’d been stood up.
The next Saturday, we got a call for a last-minute showing, giving us scant time to once again mow the lawn and clean up the house before the buyers arrived. My husband and I felt good about the showing: surely, we wouldn’t get burned again, especially with an agent who called a mere 90 minutes before the requested showing. 45 minutes in to the appointment time we got a phone call: cancelled. We’d been stood up AGAIN.
At this point, I’m starting to wonder why people don’t like our house. I fell in love with it the moment I first saw it almost six years ago, like a bride-to-be falls in love with her wedding gown. I knew it was the house for us. It has an expansive front yard, a nice, flat driveway – perfect for little ones learning to ride a bike or older kids playing basketball – we have neutral paint colors throughout, plus many high-end finishes like solid counter tops, plantation blinds, and under-mounted sinks. What’s going on here?
Ultimately, my husband and I decided that the main deterrent to our house selling had to be the asking price. Our Realtor had professed faith that the house could – and would – move in the $160s, but I’m not seeing any proof of that. We need to do something to get people in the door, otherwise all the high-end finishes in the world won’t do any good. So, just a few days ago, I called my Realtor to tell him we needed to drop the price. Initially, I wanted to go to our rock bottom price – $156,000 – and drop all the seller concessions as well. However, he suggested we start in the middle, reducing the seller concessions without eliminating them completely, while dropping the price to $159,900. He hopes that at this price, we’ll start to see buyers who are searching for properties under the $160k mark.
But I’m not so sure… I’m losing faith in my Realtor. Why didn’t he initiate this price drop? Why is he so hesitant to price us more competitively? I’m starting to worry that he’s more interested in a higher commission check down the road than helping us sell our house NOW.
Reader, have you been in my shoes? What advice can you offer me as we go into our fourth month with our house on the market?