Our House On The Market: Month Five

by Elizabeth on August 1, 2012 · 9 comments

Last month, I asked for your well-wishes, good karma, and a few prayers to help me and my family finally sell our house. Obviously, ya’ll don’t have a lot of pull with the Big Guy upstairs because one month later, our house is still on the market. That said, I’m starting to feel some positive karma of my own. I’m not sure what to credit with this sudden boost in my real estate mood, but there’s something deep inside of me that is feeling more optimistic about selling our home than I have in months.

The Stats

  • Asking Price: $159,900
  • Online Views (at my Realtor’s website): 208, including a whopping 120 in a single week, thanks to a featured listing promotion that boosted us to the front page
  • Showings: 2
  • Offers: 0

What We’ve Done

In my month four update, I mentioned that we were working on decluttering our home in anticipation of our eventual move. Doing so has had an unintended, but very welcome affect on our home. For one thing, it’s far easier to organize our house in advance of showings, which – for some reason – always seem to be scheduled at the very last moment (note to potential buyers: give sellers more than 45 minutes when making an appointment!). As a result, it looks as if we’ve used a home staging service, because there’s now a place for everything – and that place is no longer in a corner or stuffed in a closet! It appears as if we have more room in our garage, attics (yes, we have two of them), and closets thanks to the purging. Plus, it’s great for the soul.


  • Comparable #1 (Comparable #1 in my month four update): No change
  • Comparable #2 (Comparable #2 in my month four update): No change
  • Comparable #3 (Comparable #5 in my month four update): No change
  • Comparable #4 (Comparable #6 in my month four update): Sold after two weeks on the market; well, technically it isn’t sold, as this is a short sale, which can take up to several months to finally close. This house’s listing says it is sale pending, accepting back-up offers. No word yet on what the pending sale price is
  • Comparable#5 (NEW!): This is yet another distressed property, which is sad, because the family that bought it three years ago did so as a short sale, meaning this particular home has been through a foreclosure and now a short sale in a very short period of time. The asking price is $150,000. Square footage and acreage-wise, this house is very similar to my own, but my Realtor – who toured it – said it has a haphazard floor plan and looks decidedly more “lived in” than ours

Increasing Our Traffic

Late last month, our Realtor came up with an idea to increase traffic, not only into our house, but also into our neighborhood. The problem was that none of the listings in my neighborhood were getting a lot of showings or visits during open houses. The problem, he thought, was a tract-home neighborhood down the road that offered ridiculously large homes for insanely low prices (we’re talking in the $40/sq. ft. range). But this neighborhood – and its cardboard houses (often put up in less than a day!) – lacked the established feeling, larger yards, and nicer upgrades that mine did. So, our Realtor sponsored a neighborhood-wide open house geared to agents; during the lunch-time event, he brought in agents to view the properties, give feedback, and hopefully show them that they might be a good fit for some of their clients. We had 12 agents come through (which resulted in two showings in the immediate aftermath), and they all gave the same feedback – lower your price. Fortunately, they loved the house, our upgrades, and our de facto efforts at home staging, and had no other suggestions (unlike some of my neighbors, who were told to rip up dirty carpets or completely repaint).

Moving Forward

My Realtor is currently on a missions trip, but when he returns, we’ll likely drop the price again – this time, down to $154,900. This likely won’t change how much we see at closing, as we’ll eliminate virtually all of our offered seller concessions from the listing.

On the Realtor-front, we’ve come to an agreement about Realtor fees. My agent has agreed to help make sure we get a certain amount of money out of the house; he’ll take the difference out of his own commission, meaning he may get 3% or 1% (no less than 1%). He’s really shown us in the past month that he IS worth what we’ll ultimately pay him, and his ultimate willingness to take a pay cut if necessary means a lot.

Reader, how did your perspective on selling your home change as the process lagged on?



{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

1 krantcents August 1, 2012 at 10:05 am

Good luck! The real estate market is stuck in a buyer’s market and will probably stay that way until the supply of home decreases more.


2 Kurt @ Money Counselor August 1, 2012 at 11:25 am

In most places, it’s a tough slog for anyone trying to sell a home right now. You’re probably doing nothing wrong; many people are reluctant to buy until they perceive prices have stopped falling. I don’t know about your area, but there’s growing evidence that, nationally, house prices may be at or very near the bottom, so take heart.

That sounds like a very generous position your realtor has taken with respect to reducing his fee if necessary to assure you get a certain amount for your house. I wonder though if the prospect of a lower fee, especially if you cut the price again, might have a negative affect on his motivation to focus on marketing your property?


3 Elizabeth August 1, 2012 at 1:06 pm

Kurt, I had the same thoughts about my Realtor’s motivation – but the fact is, he works for a large local brokerage with a reputation to uphold, and I think there’d probably be repercussions internally if he sloughed off on the marketing/promotion of my home… at least, that’s what I’m banking on!


4 Kim August 1, 2012 at 11:53 am

Congratulations on de-cluttering. Even though the stuff will all be gone when someone new moves in, I think it is very hard for many potential buyers to see beyond a seller’s things, especially if everything is out in the open. Hopefully this will be your month.


5 Kevin @ SpringCoin August 1, 2012 at 8:08 pm

Props to your realtor. It’s tough to find a reputable agent who really cares about their clients. Referral business is huge for realtors, and I’m sure you’ll be sending more people his/her way.


6 William @ Drop Dead Money August 3, 2012 at 9:05 am

Why do you want to sell?


7 Elizabeth August 4, 2012 at 8:27 am

The main reason we want to move is school. My daughter will enter kindergarten next fall (God willing – she’s right on the border for the cut-off date), and the school zone we’re in right now is the worst in the district. There are other, more minor reasons, but at the end of the day, the school issue is why I haven’t pulled the “for sale” sign down and likely won’t. Good schools are a non-negotiable for me.


8 Crystal @ Broke-Ass Mommy August 4, 2012 at 1:55 am

Good luck lady!!! I cannot wait to see your post when the home sells! I really hope you go after your beach house after that. 😉


9 TB at BlueCollarWorkman August 8, 2012 at 10:12 am

My wife and I bought our house before the market crash, and still have our home, so we’ve really missed the whole real estate conundrum. Hearing your story is crazy to me! Your home and all those others have been on the market for FIVE MONTHS??! Man does that suck. Back in the day, having a home on the market for so long was the kiss of death. But I guess now-a-days that’s not abnormal at all, huh? I really wish you well and am sending good thoughts, dude! SEll sell sell!


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