Project: Selling the House – Update 3

I really did love this house. But I'll be so glad when it's gone!
I really did love this house. But I’ll be so glad when it’s gone!

My Realtor says we’ll close on the house on May 15th.

Granted, when he said that he hadn’t actually scheduled anything. And hadn’t checked with the bank to make sure everything checked out on the buyer’s mortgage. And closings in my state are notorious for not closing on the first scheduled date. But, I guess if everything aligns, I’ll be done with home ownership on May 15th. At least until Bryan and I are ready to buy a home together.

Selling this house has been a bit of a rocky road. Nothing major, just a lot of missteps by an inexperienced Realtor. I knew that I was taking a risk hiring someone with literally zero experience. But, even in the Midwest, where housing values are low, it’s hard to find a good Realtor when your house is valued under $100,000. Usually you get stuck with the newbies looking for experience, or the Realtor that’s struggling to make it, or just doesn’t care. This being my Realtor’s very first listing, I was assured that his Mentor would be checking over everything, every step of the way. And I knew that having the successful mentor “on my team” would help me get a better asking price.

I'm not even sure I paid $100 for the curtains when I bought them.
The curtains in question.

The asking price did work out in my favor: The accepted offer is $10,000 higher than another Realtor was suggesting I list at. The having someone looking over my Realtor’s shoulder? Not so much. The last few months I feel like every conversation between us involves me saying “You can’t do that” or “That’s not how it’s done” or “This doesn’t seem right.” Some things are working out in my favor, like the fact that he didn’t know to include the draperies in the buyer’s offer, so now the buyer is paying me $100 to keep the curtains. On the other hand, I ended up spending $95 on a termite inspection, which should have been an inspection cost of the buyer. I finally had to contact his mentor when he told me that I needed to hire a Structural Engineer so the buyer would have enough information about the rafters on the house to negotiate any repairs that might be needed. When you buy a house, after the inspection (which the buyer pays for) the buyer has the right to request repairs be made, and the seller has the right to refuse or try to negotiate on said repairs. If an agreement can’t be reached, the parties are free to walk away. I’m working on a pretty tight margin with this sale; Since we’ve agreed that I’ll pay the buyer’s closing costs, it looks like I’ll probably only be walking away with around $2,000. I feel lucky to walk away with anything, but after putting about $30,000 into fixing up the house, I’d like to keep every penny possible when I sell. I wasn’t about to shell out hundreds, or maybe thousands, of dollars for a Structural Engineer, before we even started negotiating what repairs I might have to pay for! The house was built in 1929 for goodness sake!

And it turns out, I was right: The mentor said that either the buyer can ask for a specific repair, or if she feels she needs more information, she can hire a Structural Engineer. It’s part of her “due diligence” of buying a home. I’m definitely not on the hook for paying for what essentially is an additional inspection.

Since my Realtor is representing both myself and the buyer, Bryan worries that he’s taking advantage of me. I just think he’s new, and excited about selling his first home, and isn’t thinking through what’s in the best interest of both parties. Someone said Structural Engineer and, in his desire to please, he said “Sure, no problem!”. I’m hoping that we have everything sorted out now. Honestly, I’m questioning the wording on some of the paperwork (the Realtor was very vague on some areas, and worded things completely incorrectly on others), and a bit afraid something is going to end up biting my in the butt when we go to close. Title companies can be sticklers about the details, and if everything isn’t done correctly the whole deal may end up falling through.

I’ve mentioned to Bryan several times since we accepted the offer on my house that we really should start moving some things over to the apartment, which is always met with “There isn’t that much to move. We’ll get around to it.” This past weekend, I finally convinced him that it was a good idea; He mowed the grass, while I started packing things up and loading them into the Suburban. True, there isn’t a ton of stuff. But you’d be surprised how much you can hide in a little house! On the way back to the apartment we started discussing when we’d move the furniture. He suddenly looked at me with a concerned expression. “Is the buyer taking possession at closing?” Yes. “Do you realize there’s only one weekend between now and then, and it’s Mother’s Day weekend? And we both have plans that Sunday?” YES!

So we’re borrowing a trailer from a friend, and cleaning out the house this Saturday. There isn’t much big stuff; You can’t fit a lot of furniture in a 680 square foot house, and all the appliances stay. We’ve already taken the bed to my brother’s, and are hoping he’ll take the small dresser and night stand as well. What 25-year-old single boy doesn’t need furniture? That just leaves the couch, the lawn mower, and a few random odds and ends. And I really do mean random: There’s a 6′ giraffe and a 3′ and 4′ candle (in wrought iron holders) that need to be moved. Don’t judge.

And if all goes well, I won’t be a homeowner in a week!

– Cindy W.

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