When my husband and I decided to make a move to the mountains we had no idea that it would take a year to sell our house. Just before the real estate market was making a severe downturn, it was getting hard to sell a house since our commissioners decided they wanted the county to look more like brick and mortar than green space. The housing market was flooded with new homes and there was little opportunity for us re-sellers. We went through three real estate agents in the course of the year. Each one was nice and did what they could to bring in a buyer. Each new agent meant a barrage of questions, interviews, more paper to fill out, photos to take, and lockbox to install. These also meant arrangements had to be made for the dogs when a potential buyer wanted to see the house. I was more concerned about the dogs getting out of the house than of them hurting someone. They would have licked them to death and helped them carry out anything they wanted if they had been thieves. Then, of course, there were the open house events.
We always hoped this would bring a multitude of interested people to the house and our buyer would come through. How do you comfort a real estate agent when no one shows up? It was beyond me. We left again with the dogs while she packed up two weeks worth of groceries to take home. I didn’t have the heart to ask her to leave some for us.
We had already started our search for our mountain home and had met a very nice agent. She began to learn our taste for a house and after hours of searching the internet on our own, we would send her a list of properties we were interested in and she would go preview them. Then when we made our trek to see them, she only carried us to the ones she knew we would like. We still make referrals to others for her services.
In desperation after we let our third agent go my husband decided to put out a “For Sale by Owner” sign. This would save us a ton of money at closing and it was certainly worth a try since we had had no offers. We designed our own flyer and put it in a cylinder holder and prayed. Everyday we went down and counted how many flyers were there to see if any had been taken. We soon discovered that most of them were taken by our neighbors so they could see what we were asking. We had to reduce the price three times. Even our neighbors were getting desperate for us to leave.
The funny thing about our street was that it was an older established neighborhood and rarely did a house go up for sale unless someone died or went into a nursing home. When we bought our house we knew all of our immediate neighbors and we all helped each other. When we initially looked at what would be our home and walked through it, I am the type of person that opens closet doors, drawers and cabinets to get a real feel for the house. After about twenty minutes of inspecting I raced to find my husband and our agent and exclaimed, “the owner must have died!” Things just were not in place if someone stilled lived there. All the furniture was there, but there just wasn’t enough clothing in the closet to suggest a live in owner and significant amounts of dishware, toiletries and hangers were missing. I just hoped they hadn’t died in the house and I didn’t want to know the details. It did turn that the owner had passed away, but in a nursing home before getting to come back home. I was sure it wasn’t because he missed the green and orange pineapple wallpaper in the kitchen or the gift wrap paper in the bathroom, all fixable.
We really became concerned when we both had found jobs in our new mountain location and we had no home there and had no prospects to buy ours. Fortunately my husband was in sales and could stay at home, but I wound up making arrangements to live with my niece and her husband in a nearby community and came home on the weekends. My dear hubby decided that when he saw someone stop and get a flyer he would race down to the end of the yard and ask them if they wanted to see the inside of the house. I would have given anything to have this on video. He was quite fast getting out the door. I think he missed me. Much to our delight we ultimately found our buyer this way. She was very impressed with how clean and nice our house was considering the price range. We had lowered the price, but hey, we couldn’t just give it away. She signed a contract that night.
Great, now we were homeless.