Sunday, January 6, 2008

How to sell your house in 30 days

Yeah, right. Seriously, the housing/mortgage crisis of 2007 put a huge obstacle in our plans. We sold our Sea Ray (Peaceful Easy Feelin') in two weeks. We interviewed real estate agents and settled on one who works as a neighborhood specialist, meaning he lives in and focuses his listing efforts in our local neighborhood. He is very knowledgable about marketing and market conditions but no one could be prepared for what was happening to the U.S. housing economy.

In November, 2006 we had to get an appraisal to drop our mortgage insurance. It came back at $519,000. Tom, our agent, figured with the falling market we could now garner an appraisal of about $419k. He told us if we wanted to sell within 30 days, which we did, we should price it at $399k. We agreed and started making plans to move. We really felt like we priced it right because we had 12 new showings in the first 6 weeks of the listing. No actual offers, but we weren't discouraged. Christmas came and went with no offers, as did the New Year. Now the showings quit too.

Just after the first of January, 2008, the agent called to report the market continues is downward spiral. The market is continuing to crash and it's not done. Kathy, who works in mortgages, sees the evidence as Fannie/Freddie guidelines toughen up to their tightest guidelines in her 18 years in the business. Tom the Agent says we are not longer aggressively prices. He recommends we drop the price to $375k. So much for the downpayment on the new boat. We gotta do what we gotta do. Kathy agrees. A few days after we slash our asking price, Tom the Agent writes an email, showing us what one of our neighbors just listed their house at.

This lady bought a couple of months before we did in 2004. She has our same model, although not nearly as nicely upgraded as ours and no pool. She bought a second Engle home in our neighborhood in late 2005. In 2006 she started trying to sell her house like ours. It sat on the market for nearly 2 years. The other day she dropped her asking price to $325k. That's gonna leave a mark.

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