Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Real Estate Saga...

When I read other people's blogs, I sometimes get irked with them for not posting more often. How bad is that, when it's been a full month since I posted?! I'm sorry, fellow bloggers!!! May is a crazy month, but now school is out and summer ennui is setting in.

So I'm going rant and feel sorry for myself for a few minutes. Here's my family's pitiful, wretched real estate saga. Feel sorry for us, we sure do! :)

My family has spent two years trying to sell a house no one wants to buy. We’ve watched helplessly as several nearly-perfect-for-us houses have come on the market and then been sold to someone else. We’ve repeatedly felt like we were missing the boat and we’ve been disappointed time and again.

Our real estate saga began in May 2008. Having pestered my husband about moving practically since the day we moved into our house in almost four years earlier, he finally agreed that we should put it on the market. We’d had enough of the steep backyard and being fifteen minutes away from nearly every place we go, including work. We wanted our kids to be in the best local school system, and we wanted a yard where they could have a swing set. So, with a two-month-old baby and a preschooler, we packed up as much extra clutter as possible and put it in storage, and put the house on the market. We had high hopes of moving before school started in the fall. Ha. The wait began...we waited.

And waited.

And waited.

Keeping a house semi-ready to show to potential buyers is not an easy task in general, but adding two small, messy children to the mix makes it even tougher. (At least we don’t have pets, right?) Getting ready for a showing is a process that usually takes a few hours rather than a few minutes. Not so bad if it’s just a few weeks, but spending two years living in that state of limbo has been downright torturous. Now, I know that in this economy, we are just lucky to have a house to live in and to be able to pay for it; I don’t mean to sound like an ingrate. But nonetheless, the uncertainty and the stress have taken their toll.

After a year on the market, we replaced much of our aging carpet with hardwood flooring, in hopes that would help. It didn’t, though it certainly looks nice. We dropped our asking price several times, to as low as we could possibly go and still afford a new house. We fired our first realtor and hired a new one last fall. She has done a great job of advertising and making us feel like important clients, but still - no sale. We had one offer, back in October - it was laughably low and didn’t work out. Then last month, we had a first: someone came back for a second time to see the house. This buyer (a young single gal) came with her father and they spent well over an hour here. (I know because after taking the kids to McDonald’s for an ice cream, we sat in the car down the street staking out the scene and waiting to be able to come back home. There’s not many places to go to kill time around here, and that way we‘d know for sure when they were finished.)

She made an offer that night.

It wasn’t a good one.

So, we began the process of countering, and just before her deadline to respond to us, our realtor called and explained the numerous financial roadblocks our buyer was encountering. She’s only approved to borrow a sum that’s about $25k less than our asking price, even though she can afford the monthly payments based on her income. So we waited more.

After nearly 2 weeks of waiting, she finally gave up and withdrew from the deal, because she simply didn't have and couldn't get the money she needed, despite the fact that she really loved this house. So, we're back to square one yet again, 2 years and a month in. In a couple of weeks, we're having the carpet on our stairs replaced, and we're having all the main living areas repainted. They're a neutral color now, but a fresh coat of a more modern color (it's just a beige, nothing fancy) might spruce it up a bit. But the bottom line is we only have about 2 months until school starts back and we need to move by then. If we don't, my hubby is quite persistent in his belief that we should give up. Bah.

So, the ordeal that is our real estate life continues, and continues to make me slightly insane. I’m tired of this house consuming my time and spending time on it that I should be spending on my kids. Those kiddos of mine are now 2 and 7. Two years of their lives have been consumed by this ordeal. I’m tired of having half of my belongings in storage, and I’m tired of having very few of my beloved pictures displayed. I want to keep my house reasonably clean and orderly because I like it that way, not because I have to meet someone else’s standards. I want my life back.

Ok...pity party is over for today. I have to go clean the house.