Riding the roller coaster
Last Monday evening we met with our realtor. Three offers were on the table for the house and they were all very similar. Selling this house was a lot different from most home sales. I actually was the one to show the house to the buyers and their agents. The storms and floods managed to work to our advantage during the process. When there is that much rain and the basement stays dry then everyone is happy.
I do have to back up a bit for you to understand how it all happened so quickly. First we offered the house to the neighbors who expressed interest from the beginning. The timing was wrong for Michael and his family but another family was very interested but really did not know the value that a dry, finished basement adds to property. They could not understand why the home was appraised so much more than others in the neighborhood without basements.
It was then that we decided that to be able to meet our timeline for a move to Carcassonne by the end of February that we needed to get it listed with a real estate company. Did I forget to say that this was Christmas week? It was raining when Pat, our realtor arrived and she seemed to be nice enough and had enough experience so after we did the house tour and we decided that she should list the house she took a few pictures. Have you ever noticed the sparkle of the freshly washed streets and the glistening drops of water on the lawns and bushes in movies that are filmed on the back lots of Hollywood? That’s the appearance that Pat captured of the front of our house as it was raining and we had our Christmas lights in the windows.
The house hit the listing services and within hours the phone was ringing to show the house the day after Christmas. We had two showings and one offer that was not quite there but they didn’t want to negotiate at all. We have watched HGTV and all the home buying and selling shows for years so we tried to learn what to do and not to do. We did ask Pat if there was anything we could do to make the house show better and her answer was to not change a thing. Nice to hear.
We watched our home on Zillow.com and saw that it had more interest in a very short time than any other property in our market. We could tell by all the traffic driving slowly past into our cul-de-sac that people were very interested. This house is very deceiving from the front in that it really looks a bit small. Pat only used seven photos but picked the ones that would invite the buyers to really want to see the rest. We made sure the house was always ready to show and Bob and Heather were to take the car and park in Michael’s driveway so that there was no trace of an animal in the house. We have never cleaned the floors so much as long as we’ve lived here. Each time someone came to view the house we made sure it looked spotless and better than the pictures.
Why did I show the house? First we didn’t want to have any lock box on the door to let anyone in at any time. Then we are selling the house furnished and needed to make sure that that was very clear and lastly I needed to be able to explain the light controls, sound systems, theater and do the basement reveal. It is always a thrill to see the look on someone’s face the first time they go downstairs and the doors are opened to each room.
There is a downside to showing your own home and that is that you actually get to see and hopefully meet the folks touring the home. I say hopefully meet because one couple who made an offer would not introduce themselves, shake my hand or even say thank you for my time or anything while they were here. I saw that side of them and Bob was able to see another side being right next door. Someone was in their truck while they were inside the house and decided that lewd rap music would be great to blast to the neighbors. When the couple came out of the house they told their realtor that “It will do.” Not the kind of folks we want to inflict on the neighborhood even after we are gone. Other visitors included singles, couples, families (and a dog) and then some returned with the parents and grandparents.We even had viewings on New Year’s day. We didn’t want to lose any chance to sell if they had to return to work or leave town after the holidays. Most made offers on the house shortly after viewing it.
Pat, our agent suggested we review all offers on Monday evening and decide which was best. One last viewing happened at 4 PM and she wanted to put a cash offer in but did not put anything in writing so we had to make our choice on what was already on the table.
Our choice was a nice woman and her husband that visited three times and even brought her mother along. The contract was signed and two days later she backed out after talking with her friends about her offer. They thought not asking for any closing costs was not normal so she pulled out thinking she could renegotiate but we had already signed a backup offer at above asking price. We now have a contract on the house and things seem to be progressing according to plan. Until the keys are handed over we will keep our fingers crossed and we have tickets and space booked for Heather for our trip to our new home in France.