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Counting down the days

April 10th, 2015 at 07:41 am

So I am counting down the days till we list. We have 12 more days until photos of our place. We have 18 days until we list, then 25 more days until the open house and then hopefully it's sold by 27 days from now May 5th. I am praying we list, we have showings, then open house and all offers/bids come in on May 4th. One week of being "show" ready in our house and living like crazy people then we are done.

Some expenses we are spending on getting the house ready is a storage unit at $70/month with 1st month free. We painted the interior and have to get the exterior painted. Now the interior if we had decided 6 months ago we were going to sell this spring we could have done it ourselves. But deciding 6 weeks before listing we were going to sell probably wasn't the more financially efficient thing to do. Of course all the painting the = eating out because we were avoiding the painters and fumes all day. Plus we had to send the dog to daycare so he wouldn't be in the way.

I'm feeling rather indulgent because the week before we list I got the two kids into camp for 4 days all day 8-6. Pricy but $160/day for 2 kids and I have a chance to clean up as a last push. Right now I feel a lot of guilt letting the kids watch too much tv and not making as many playdates or activities like we normally do.

But I feel like as of April 28th we'll be free. No more playing in our house for that week but we won't be as busy. We've been up most night until 1 am packing and cleaning and up again at 6 am getting ready for school and the day.

Real Estate Makes people CRAZY!

April 9th, 2015 at 10:30 am

I am going crazy with the potential sale of my house. I am getting an ulcer and unable to sleep over the amount of stuff I have to clean and do. I feel constant anxiety over it all and I can't help myself.

But I'm happy with the changes and excited with our move. I feel secure knowing we are doing what's best for us and while it's unknown and uncertain it's still pretty good and exciting.

Now I have 4 friends whom real estate is making crazy. First up the insane/crazy Ms A. Her mother has given her the boot (we'll see) and said she needs to sell her multi-family house and Ms A has to move in June. She said I've given you three months notice and I need to sell. Ms A is freaking out because she doesn't know where to move and what they can afford. I told her she needs to rent since they haven't filed their taxes in years, her husband has an IRS Lien, and they have no budget. She said that since they only occasionally pay her mom $1500 for a 4 bd condo, where can she live? I seriously want to ask what happens to the rest of their money if they aren't really paying rent? To put into perspective where I live, a 2 bd/1 ba condo on my street rented for $2500/month. So not only is Ms A getting a steal of a deal, she doesn't even have to pay. So it's a rude awakening and it's making her insane to even start looking. $1500 barely rents a studio where we are.

Next up Ms W and Ms K. Both friends tried to sell their condos last year and they must have been overpriced. Neither one sold though they dropped their prices. Both have done extensive renovations and are hoping their condos sell. I am praying for them because they desperately want to move but are in situations where I guess they either have to take a lot less or stay put. I think both are pretty conservative ladies so they won't make the mistake of buying before selling. But I hope they find the right buyers and haven't overpriced it again or perhaps they'll just have to accept less.

Finally Ms C, well they are getting into deep, deep water. I didn't say anything, but I did congratulate Ms C on putting an offer in on her dream house. That's how bad situations probably always start.

So Ms C and her DH decided they didn't want to sell their condo first because they didn't like the uncertainty of not knowing where they would live. So they offered on a house and it's been accepted. They did not make an offer contingent on the sale of their condo. They make a series of bad decisions.

When I first met them Ms C and I were chatting and I said "oh use my refi guy and get a good rate." She said "oh we didn't put down 20%, only 10% so we can't refi". Okay probably a bad decision at the time. It was further compounded when 3 years ago they built a 3rd bd onto their 2 bd condo and renovations cost $50k to add on because they had to switch out their furnace to support the extra bedroom and vents. They renovated their bathroom (necessary for a leak, and they found mold and mushrooms) this past summer for another $15k. They finished their basement when they moved in, no idea what that costs. But without a doubt, the husband said they are losing a lot of money on their condo. They bought for $275k in 2009 and are hoping to sell it for $319k if they are lucky. I have no idea if they are even able to sell. So bad financial real estate decision they likely make because they choose emotion over logic.

So I was nodding along with the purchase and just asked innocently enough "you did offer contingent on your sale?" Ms C said "no we didn't. We can carry the two places for a bit. And besides we are cashing out our 401k for the DP on the second place, then when this places sells we'll pay it off." I nearly choked on my spit. It got worse when she said "we can always do 0% CC and pay them off when the house sells DH says."

Now it's one thing to buy a new house with a DP you've saved and still carry both places if they aren't too expensive. But when you have to borrow a DP from retirement, CC, or your parents (and yes their parents gave them money for all their home renovations Ms C said so, and thus why she doesn't feel like they are "losing" money on their house, but her DH does); then you can't afford to buy without selling. The electrician they had walk through said that replacing nubbin (1920s electrical) to 200A will be $10kish. I don't know if that means starting or total, but I assumed it'll probably starting. So they are buying a fixer with borrowed money and gambling on selling their home. Ms C should chat with Ms W and Ms K about how it can be difficult to sell a condo.

People are giving me grief for not knowing where we will live after we sell. For not having anything lined up. But seriously? How hard is it to find a rental or even a house?

Real estate makes people crazy!

Honesty of People

April 5th, 2015 at 01:03 pm

So I've been selling stuff on Craigslist. I mostly meet people nearby at a parking lot since I live close to a freeway. I sold yesterday 3 things and two of them in the parking lot. Anyway the 3rd item was a Arms Reach Cosleeper and the woman said she was trying to arrange meeting me at 2 pm but I never heard from her.

I heard back at 3:15 she could meet at 4 pm but we were out the door to go swimming at a friend's pool. So I said "I'll leave it outside on my front door step with an envelope written LAL, leave the money in the envelope in my mailbox. Thanks." In case you were wondering it was $50. She said great. I said enjoy.

I figured that either way the item was gone, whether I made my $50 or not. DH felt that people are more honest when people aren't watching. I said we are purging so either way it's out of our home. I polled my friends about half felt I'd get the money and half said I wouldn't.

So what happened? We got home at around 9 pm and the money was in an envelope in our mailbox. Not only did the lady leave me the money, the mailman didn't take the cash. So I guess people are very honest.

Did I think she would? Yes,I certainly would. But I'm also the crazy person whose personally lost my wallet 3x and had it mailed back and given back to me all three time. Twice with the cash inside and once not, but still pretty good.

I feel like good karma is watching. I've returned a wallet of like $500 cash and coupon book at the grocery store. I hope the person got it. I turned it into the customer service desk since it was in a grocery cart. So I didn't personally send it back, and I hope the customer service didn't take it.

Either way it made my day that the lady gave me my money, the mailman didn't take the cash, and I got rid of another item in my purge.

Picking our realtor

March 28th, 2015 at 05:31 am

So we interviewed three realtors. One DH just didn't like and rubbed him the wrong way. We became stuck on the other two. One of them E sold us our house and we felt she was very professional and smart. The second realtor S, came highly referred by two different people and seemed again very professional.

After interviewing, seeing their Comparative market analysis, and marketing plans we were stuck. All three came in with the same number $699k to list our property to generate a bidding war. All three had slightly different methodologies with coming up with the number.

I was very torn. I felt loyal since E sold us the house and had kept in contact updating us on the market. She also I felt was the least pushy and nicest realtor. E analysis was more basic but from her 20+ years of experience and gut she told us what she'd list for. She also didn't give us any ideas for staging our house to sell. She did ask about the HOA and capital improvements.

But S I felt had a much more comprehensive analysis of our competitors and our comparisons for our list price. She went back and teased out true comps of townhouses without garages and their sales prices over 12 months. She also specifically suggested renting a dinner table because our is too small for the space and turning the bed, and making office back into bedroom. She took pictures and noticed all of the small details of labeling the power box.

But the real difference was their marketing plans. E was going to list on Wednesday, broker open house on Thursdays, then no showing to build excitement for the open houses on Saturday and Sunday. Then all offers Monday. Her explanation was no showings would generate buzz and excitement and pressure people into seeing how many others were interested. Also her experience showed that people who came to see in Thursday, Friday had a hard time waiting to present an offer on Monday. They would be annoyed and off put to know that their offers wouldn't responded too until later so what is the point of early showings. Also people could come Monday on for private showings.

S said she would list on Tuesday since the market was getting flooded (36 new listings this week!), showings Tuesday-Friday, Broker open house Thursdays, and open house on Sunday. And then wait to respond to offers till Tuesday. She felt that the savvy, most serious buyers would come during the week by themselves or with a broker. They'd seen everything else in their budget and wanted to see new stuff early. Then they'd come back with their moms, sisters, boyfriends, contrators, etc to the open house. That people want a chance to see property alone and by allowing them time to come see it multiple times with different people, we'd have a buyer who didn't have buyer's remorse or one who'd waive all contingencies.

My DH of course said both ladies were fine. He didn't think we could go wrong. As hard as it was, I decided I preferred S because of her marketing strategy. I felt terrible last night writing the email saying we chose someone else, but truth is this is business and thousands of dollars are at stake. I didn't want to be in "Bed" with a realtor whose philosophy on home sales didn't align with mine.

I believed in S marketing strategy. I think that open houses might generate more offers but people also make offers they don't mean impulsively. I believe serious buyers have been going out every weekend and know what's on the market and they are only looking at "fresh/new" stuff and have a firm grasp of the comparison. I think that giving people more opportunities to come back with friends and family means they are less likely to back out than after the offer and coming back with mom/dad who say they don't like it.

Yes I could have told E "show it", she said I could. But I felt that then if it didn't work out she could say it's because I didn't follow her marketing plan. Whereas with S, I agreed to her marketing plan, but it's still her plan and if our place doesn't sell then it's firmly on her shoulders.

Do you think I was wrong it picking money over a previous relationship? I do feel guilty but at the same time it's a lot of money at stake.

decluttering step 1

March 23rd, 2015 at 07:30 pm

Seriously my DH and I are hoarders. We have a lot of trouble getting rid of stuff mostly because we are lazy. Not because we don't want to, but because we just push it to a corner in the house and say we'll take it to sell or goodwill later. We actually can let go of stuff and have boxes of stuff to get rid of but never actually take the effort to do it. No more.

This move is motivating me in an unreal fashion. I have in less than 5 days done 3 trips to good will and donated over half dozen bags of stuff. I sold at consignment stores $60 worth of stuff which is about 4 bins. I donated to my kid's preschool toys and books about 8 bins since goodwill doesn't take it and it's not valued high enough to sell.

I've also given away an infant bucket and pack and play that were super old. And I've possibly sold my infant swing and double stroller.

Oh and I've listed a ton of other items like train set, high chair, rocking chair, and other furniture. Neither DH nor I can believe how much stuff we purged in a week.

I've also packed up all the kids books and started on purging their clothes. That's next up and the storage unit should be starting to be filled this weekend.

Where did all this crazy motivation come from? LOL.

Crunch, Crunch, Crunch

March 20th, 2015 at 08:01 pm

It's crunch time...We are on a timeline and I think I'm going crazy. I met with 3 painters and 2 tilers today. My thoughts are we start painting March 30 or 31st. That will give us a little over a week to get cleared out a bunch of stuff. I found a storage place yesterday but we haven't started putting things in it yet.

I am struggling because my DH isn't ready to put stuff away. He thinks we should instead focus on donating and organizing. My thoughts are we put into storage the low hanging fruit of things we know we are keeping but don't need, ie my kids books. We borrow enough from the library they can live without their books. We go more than 1x/week.

This will free up tons of shelf space and tons of space period. Then we can cull through what toys to keep and what to sell or donate. That in turn will clear up space for us to work on organizing and donating.

Today I already did my first goodwill run and donated 2 bags. I lined up someone to take away for free an old pack and play and infant car seat. I also listed my maclaren double stroller and a few other items. And I donated 2 boxes of stuff to the YMCA.

I'm seriously crunching on cleaning, but I feel like my DH is dawdling on trying to "organize" rather than just accept that the more we get out the easier it'll be. It'll give us more space to work with and analyze what we can keep or not.

I've been told we should use a professional stager. Already we are paying for painters since we don't have time or energy to paint. For what I'd pay a sitter to watch my kids while I paint makes it not worth it at $30/hr then I'd still have to paint!

Do you think a professional stager worth it?

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