There once was a family…
We decided in April 2016 that we were going to “do the RV thing” and one of the first (and biggest) things on our to do list was to get the house ready for sale. This meant not only listing it with a realtor, but also getting it ready for resale:
- clean and declutter 4,000 sq ft plus 3 car garage
- repair and paint nail holes
- new carpet in living room and office
- finish landscaping the backyard
- weed the flower beds
- fill the pots with flowers
Our real estate agent advised us that we should have no problem selling our house if we got it on the market at the beginning of June, so we had about 5 weeks to get it ready to be shown.
Fortunately, Boyd is very handy and I am nothing if not persistent. We completed all of the planned updates to the house and held 2 garage sales by the beginning of June. The house was listed and we received an all cash over within 4 days of it going on the market. Awesome, right?!
A couple of red flags
The buyer's offer was $50k less than our asking price, but he was essentially going to make up most of the difference by buying some of the larger items we had for sale for more than they were worth (sauna, theater equipment and furniture, etc.). We think he was trying to lower his property taxes, but it really would hurt not only the value of our/his house, it would hurt all of the neighbors' home values as well. It felt to us that he was being very shortsighted, but we couldn't complain since we were getting essentially what we wanted for the house and it was going to close quickly. And he gave us almost double the earnest money required.
The buyer also wanted us out in 3 weeks. Even though the timing was going to be hard for us to get everything out, we were committed to making it work and set about really selling and dismantling the household in earnest.
While this was going on, our real estate agent moved on – she actively turned away other interested buyers since we had a cash contract on the house. Boyd specifically asked her not to do this, but it really appeared the transaction was a done deal so she moved on to other houses.
It was a day or two before our closing when we got the call. The buyer lied. He just flat out lied. He had received financing to buy our house that was contingent on him selling his house and his buyers had backed out so now his financing for our house had been pulled. We didn't even get to keep the earnest money to offset our expenses since his offer fell through due to financing.
We were completely out.
Our house was staged gorgeously when we put it up for sale. Now most of our furniture and decor were gone. We were past the summer rush for folks looking to get settled into our very sought after school district. We also had already purchased our RV since we needed someplace to live after closing. And our real estate agent had no leads because she'd been turning folks away for 3 weeks. We planned for this contingency (our house not selling), so we knew we could manage financially and logistically, but it was still disappointing. And aggravating.
6 months later (Jan. 2017) and the house is still on the market. Between the presidential elections, holidays and cold weather, we hope the market will pick up in the spring. We've had a few folks look at it and we've talked with multiple sellers, real estate agents and home builders that say the market in our price range is just not doing well.
One of the things we wanted to do as part of the RV adventure is to find a place for our forever home, but we are now both very trepidatious about buying property again. By now, we've heard so many horror stories about selling homes, we recognize we're lucky to just be inconvenienced by our buyer's actions. We've decided to adopt a “whatever's meant to be…” attitude and keep the house on the market for now.