Monday, September 26, 2011

House Selling Experience - Part 1

The Raconteur Daddy and I have been working diligently since May to get our house sold.  We have had to relocate back to our home state because of his job.  We are very excited to be back home and closer to family, even though we are going to miss the little home that we made for ourselves back in Omaha.  It has been a very difficult and trying year for us.  We were getting used to having a baby in the house again, there was loss of jobs, the announcement of another blessing to come, and the opportunity of a new job accompanied by a big move.  This summer we have had a BIG to-do list!  The top of the list was to get the house sold so that we could afford to do the other things that we need to do to complete this transition.  Unfortunately, this has not happened yet and we are still in limbo.  A big reason for this was because of our poor judgement in trusting our Realtor.  I am going to share with you our misfortune so that you may be able to spot the warning signs if you find yourself in the same situation.

We met the Realtor we signed with when Sweet Pea started Kindergarten.  Sweet Pea and her youngest daughter were in the same class together and hit it off right away.  They would have play dates and sleep overs throughout the four years that we lived in that area.  I thought the world of this Realtor.  She was so nice and seemed so straightforward.  I would catch myself spending an hour or two just chatting with her when we would drop the girls off to play.

When we first started to look at the need to sell our house back in January, we contacted the Realtor that helped us to purchase it.  We found out his information and what he could do for us.  I wanted to go with him, but we were afraid that we couldn't afford his commission.  When the time came to actually get our house listed because we knew for sure that we were needing to leave the area, we started interviewing multiple Realtors.  We knew that it would be difficult because the market was slow and we couldn't afford to mark our price down to sell quickly without having to bring thousands of dollars to the table to pay for Realtor commissions at close.  We kept our original Realtor in mind as we were doing these interviews.  We met with five other Realtors from different local and national agencies.  Some of them seemed just like the stereotypical Realtor; pushy, seemed like they would say anything that we wanted to hear and not follow through, and just in it for the commission and not to help us with our needs.  After these interviews, I wanted to just try to sell it on our own.  I knew that it would be difficult to travel 2 hours down to the house at the drop of a hat and that by not having it on the MLS would make it that much harder in this market.  Those were the two reasons that we decided to list with a Realtor.

We chose this Realtor after all the interviews that we did.  I had her over to the house to see it as we were packing things up.  We asked her many questions, just like the other interviews that we did.  I was put to ease because even though we were friends, she was still quite professional when talking business.  She told us that she could help maintain the yard.  Part of the commission that we were paying would go to her daughter to come and mow when we weren't available to do it.  I told her my worries about being so far away and how I really wanted someone that could give me updates on how things were around the house.  She reassured me up and down that she could swing by to look at things on her way home since we lived in between where she lived and worked.  She also assured me that she'd upkeep the plants that we were leaving to stage the house and keep the house in 'show' condition.  I felt like we had finally found the Realtor that would not only help us sell the house, but would also keep us informed on how everything would progress.  It seemed too good to believe.  *red flag #1*

When we left the house, I had everything cleaned spotless.  I cleaned and staged the furniture, took everything off but a few nondescript things on the walls, the carpets professionally cleaned, floors scrubbed, kitchen appliances clean, floor and counters shiny, and bathrooms cleaned and staged with matching towels.  I patched holes and touched up the paint in every room.  I spent a lot of time getting it all put together so that it would be easy to keep looking perfect for people to see.  I left a few necessities for when we would come back once in a while; like the vacuum, cleaning supplies under the sink, towels nicely folded in the linen closets and makeup in the drawer in the bathroom.  We planted some beautiful flowers in the front gardens to fill them out.  We aerated, fertilized and seeded the yard.  We put potted plants around the front porch.  I even scrubbed down the floor in the garage!  (Rockin' Green did an amazing job making it look like new!)  We put so much time and money into making it perfect for the next people to call it home.  I was very proud of it.

I will continue the rest of the story in Part 2.


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