Saturday, August 15, 2009

People only want what they can't have

Remember when we decided to take our house off the market? Well, that's the week it went under contract. When our Realtor put the property on "temporary status" so that we could sign the paperwork and just stop the nonsense (focus on bring the Bean v.2.0 into the world and not on keeping our home show-ready) that is exactly when not one but TWO other agents called to say, "WHAT'S UP WITH THAT HOUSE? WHY IS IT ON TEMPORARY STATUS? MY CLIENT'S LOVE THAT HOUSE..."

Pause for a moment to let that sink in.

Um, people... the property has been on the market for nearly a year!!! I don't mean to sound angry when I say, "If I knew that you would marry me when your testes were barely ALICE BLUE, i would have flashed my titties and walked a half a block away months ago!" I had no idea that allowing second and third showings was the equivalent of "Giving the milk away for free."

I blame Obama for this. He knows we're a nation full of procrastinators, but first time home buyers that want to get the home incentives have to buy and be closed by November 30th. So our guy in the oval office wasn't really considering the Web-Tiern family timeline when he enacted legislation mean to help us the housing market!

Therefore, we got above our asking price. To be clear, our asking price was recently reduced to 5,000 less than we paid for the house. And when we give them some dough back at the closing, we are a few grand under that our asking price, but it's a price we can live with and the closing date is 4 weeks post Bean's due date.

The house hunt started again full speed as soon as we were under contract. We have the option of living with my parent's in the lovely suburb of "Midpoint" which is our intended destination, but obviously if we could just move once with the 2 kids and a house full of furniture, that would be ideal.

We found 2 houses that we really liked in our price range. House A (we'll call her "steel blue") came on the market 2-3 months ago. When I got the email, notifying me of the new listing, I wryly remarked to kt, "I think our house just came on the market." Since we had sworn off home buying until ours was sold, I was half kidding. But I was hoping that we might sell soon and get to at least look inside Steel Blue (SB). SB is located on a cul de sac in a quiet neighborhood on "our side of town." Midpoint is a primarily residential town that is divided by "main st", a North/south running state road. I have no reason to prefer "our side of town" except that all the relatives that have ever lived in Midpoint have lived on the West side of Rt. 10. Going into this, I didn't think I cared what side of Main Street we lived in, but looking at houses, it seems except for a very few "neighborhoods of interest," my brain can barely handle the "sinking suspicion"* that "something doesn't feel right over here on 'this side of town'."*

[*The asterisk is to remind you to read this line with an air of mockery; it's a little embarrassing to admit that a few miles across a road changes the "feel" of belonging somewhere, especially in this barely-stratified-at-all town where probably the "better parts of town" exist on the opposite side from where I came from... Anyway, I have been counselled on this by several people and been advised that my emotional connection to neighborhood is more normal than many of my other behavioral responses.]

The other house, "White walls" (WW) is located on the east side of the main drag- just off the center of town, on a fairly busy cut-through of a street. On paper (well really) on line, SB is the better house: more sq footage, better location, siding, newer windows, etc. But Katy and I both liked WW better. We liked the lay-out, the lighting, the lot, everything but the road (the busyness of the road not the "I can't handle living on the other side of the congregational church" aspect.)

After 3 showings each, and after hemming and hawing for a bit, we brought the 10 "usual suspects" to check the two homes out side by side. Look up poor judgement in the dictionary and there might be a photo of us caravaning 4 cars and taking three kids under the age of 3 to tour houses at dinner hour after a long day at work camp day care. But SB and WW back to back was helpful and Katy and I agreed... (It's two bad that we needed 6 showings to convince us of what anyone who looked at these 2 houses on line already knew: SB was the better house of the two.)

So we made an offer, 25k under the asking price. Which was rejected outright. Before you get all, "of course it was rejected outright" let me remind you that we know the market. We were offering what we thought it was worth. We have explored the inventory. We know where things are compared to last year and compared to 5 years ago. We know that we listed our house at what our neighbor sold his for 2 weeks before (that was- you may recall- 4 days before the L.Brothers folded). Our asking price started 50k higher than we sold for. Essentially (though it pains me a little to say this) our house sold as soon as it was appropriately priced for this market. We made our offer and were willing to pay 10 to 15k above that first offer. But let me get back to the point: The seller, we'll call her "Donna Trump" REJECTED OUR FIRST OFFER!!! OUTRIGHT! Ohs, boy, Donna Trump, now you've slapped me in my face!

What's weird is, it didn't end there. After she rejected our offer, she seemed eager to negotiate.
Her agent kept calling ours asking about "those buyers". Apparently, in her world, if you want to sell your house, you do not entertain offers below your asking price because driving a hard bargain keeps the people begging to put in higher offers. It was confusing and strange. We've waited a few weeks, but after tormenting her a little I think we might be ready to come back with another (slightly higher) offer...

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