Wednesday, April 04, 2012


Every time I complain about moving and the housing market here on my blog, I hope that it will be my last time. The only other thing in my life that has been so utterly frustrating is selling a manuscript to a publisher, and for much the same reason: there is absolutely nothing I can do to control the process.

I wish there were straightforward steps I could take to make a difference in selling the house. I can't stage it (its empty, and I can't afford a second house full of furniture). I can't remodel more than I have (no $ left after paying the mortgage every month, and certainly no hope of recovering the $ at sale). We have already done paint, new carpet, new appliances, some light fixture updates, new patio doors. Short of winning the lottery and making a gift of an expensive remodel to the next owner, we're out of things to do on this house. I can't change the slope of the yard, or the width of the lot (thus, the size of the garage). I can't change its placement in the neighborhood (sorry we don't have a flat corner lot or a cul-de-sac spot). We have an agent, MLS listing, open houses, craigslist ads. We could place an ad in the ever-shrinking-newspapaer, but to what end? What other options are there? Goodyear blimp?

We could drop the price. But we've already dropped the price. And dropped the price some more. And the only official offer we've had was way, way under our dropped price. Way under. Way under what some of the smaller houses in our neighborhood cost to build. There is a range, below our current low asking price, where we would definitely entertain offers just to get rid of the darned thing (and its accompanying mortgage payment). But no one is offering.

Yes, we may have to accept the fact that things beyond our control (i.e. the elevation of the yard, the number of houses nearby also on the market, the number of buyers, the economy) have driven the price way down.  And things beyond our control are preventing potential buyers from offering, or possibly even looking.I just wish there were some things within our control.


Bethany said...

Hey :)

I know you're not into rentals, but maybe you should look at a property manager? I rented my house in Albuquerque for over the mortgage, and that helps pay for the manager. I net about $100/month, but that's far better than loosing money. It's not much of a seller's market, but it seems to be a renter's market.

Good luck!

Kristi Lea said...

I think we will end up paying a property manager, not netting anything.

Our next door neighbor's house has been used as a rental for about 5 years now. They have much the same floorplan as us (including similarly sized finished basement, etc). If we charged what their last tenants were paying, we would just barely clear mortgage + property taxes for the year.

Not counting any additional major maintenance. Luckily, a big hail storm may have just gotten us a new roof, so we can stop worrying about that cost coming in a few years. Still, its got a 12 year old HVAC unit and water heater (how long do those last?) And 3300 square feet of carpeting adds up fast. You don't have to replace it between renters if they don't destroy it, but that's a pretty big "if".

Friends who have rented homes in the past report renters disappearing with major appliances, breaking every light bulb in every ceiling fixture, bashing up walls, and flooding the place by stuffing up kitchen sinks with rags and leaving water running.

I'm not sure I can take that. I can barely get my laundry done every week. I get 2 weeks of "vacation" time a year which is earmarked for kids days out of school (not even an actual "vacation"). I can barely take a phone call at the day job and have no cell phone service there. I don't have any way to stop and coordinate fixing a trashed house every year or two. (or worse, deal with needy renters who need a handyman every time they stop up a toilet). I guess that's what the property manager is for, but I'd rather sell the house at barely enough to pay the remaining mortgage and just be done.