If you’ve been reading this blog for long, you’re familiar with the “we’re trying to sell our house” woes faced over the past two years. In light of that, with a solid offer and a “Sold” sign out front, there should be plenty to celebrate.
Don’t think I’m ungrateful or anything, because that’s what the rest of this post might sound like. I am supremely thankful for the buyers God sent in answer to our prayers. (And He sent them in December – but the couple was divided about this house being perfect for them.)
I mean, we dropped the price of our house three separate times since signing the original contract to sell it in September. Our original listing price was $5,000 below the tax assessed value. (Actually, they call this the Real Market Value on the tax bill. Doesn’t that mean I should have been able to get someone to pay that much for the house?)
Living here has been a cross between staying at a hotel and a museum. Everything that made it feel like our home was stripped during the staging process. Since the house had to be ready to show at an hour’s notice, everything needed to find its proper corner and stay there.
Sometimes, I felt that meant even me.
After having two separate couples love the house – one of them sending a verbal offer through their Realtor (if you call $30,000 below asking price a real offer) – we finally have a written offer to purchase.
I smiled when I heard it, even though it would be another two weeks before I smiled about it again.
One week before, we had reduced the price from $245,000 (which was $20,000 below the initial listing price in September and $25,000 below the County Assessors ridiculous idea of our home’s “market value”).
The new price was $239,900 (“It sounds like so much less than $240,000” our Realtor said).
My husband and I discussed our “bottom line. ” We hoped to net enough from the house to put $40,000 down on the new one – without touching our savings – and replace the furniture we’d sold to make the house less cluttered.
The offer matched our lowest price. Before I could do a jig of joy, I learned that our buyers wanted us to pay their closing costs – to the tune of $6,800. Oh, and since they were getting an FHA loan, there was another government fee we were required to pay.
Further, they wanted to close in six weeks, and they wanted us out five days afterward (rent amount to be discussed if this offer was accepted). Our new house wasn’t expected to close until four days after their requested closing date, giving us one day to move into the new place.
(Did I mention that my husband attends this computer conference in Las Vegas the last week of March? Yeah, he wouldn’t even be in the state on that single day they gave us to move. In their defense, they didn’t know where we were moving or that our new house isn’t completed.)
After taking a look at the estimated cost sheet, we realized we would barely net the exact amount we needed for the down payment and purchases at the new house.
Okay, no need to be greedy. The Lord handed us buyers that could exactly meet our expectations. (Sad how I now feel we should have held higher expectations.)
However, the possession date wasn’t doable.
Our builder would not finish the house early. We will record that sale on March 30 and can take possession that day. Me and the cats – since my tenant son is getting his own place before that and my itinerant husband will be out of state.
For some reason, the mental picture of the cats and I loading the piano into a moving van won’t come into focus.
As a counter-offer, we agreed to all their terms except the possession date. We asked for 30 days after closing to vacate these premises. Seventeen years’ worth of memories aren’t going to be boxed up in 24 hours. Of course, since we had made concessions in price and closing costs, we asked for that time to be granted rent-free.
“That’s $1,650 you’re asking for,” my Realtor said.
No money for this rent would actually be changing hands. They weren’t making a payment until May 1.
“But they’ll have to pay rent on their current place when they’re expecting to have that money for other things.”
I admit my brain had already done the math. We had conceded nearly $12,000 to them and they weren’t willing to pay rent for an extra 30 days? I know we will be out before that time because Mr. Travels-a-lot will be heading out of town on April 5-12 and April 23-29.
In the end, they agreed to ten days rent-free. But the inspection of the premises they ordered could still throw a hand-grenade in our tentative peace treaty.
Next week I’ll share the results of the fiasco inspection.
Do you think real estate contracts should give buyers an upper hand? Do you have any advice or words of encouragement for me?