Celebrating a “Sold” Sign

sold sign

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.

The Offer

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.)

Give-and-Take Fallacy

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?

3 thoughts on “Celebrating a “Sold” Sign”

  1. My only advice: Remember that eventually everything is in the past and this craziness will be over.

    I fought the same “greediness” mentality you’re talking about when we were selling our house two years ago.

    For us the “greediness” manifested in hoping we wouldn’t have to pay money to our bank or the buyers to get out of the house. Unfortunately we had to pay about $3600 to get out. Yup, you read that right–we didn’t even break even. 🙁 I had to stop myself from factoring in how much we’d *actually* lost (closer to $50,000) after everything we’d put into the house over the years. My $50k estimate is probably low, but that’s the lowest I could go without the risk of drinking way more wine than one person should ever have. 🙂

    But then I remembered how others had fared who bought their houses at the same time we did (the fall of 2009, just weeks before “the crash”). They’d laugh at our $50k loss…it was a drop in the bucket compared to what others experienced.

    Regardless, we didn’t have the same kind of history in our house that do, and that definitely makes a difference. It’s hard not to take personally any slight from buyers, including not willing to give a little like you asked for. My fingers are crossed for you! Hang in there just a little longer…it will eventually all be over!!

    1. Kelly-
      Thanks for the encouragement. I know I should be happy we are getting money out when the market used to be so much worse. I’m trying to adjust my attitude as all the bids for the repairs they want are rolling in. More on that next week – but I think I may need to revise that post before I put it up. It definitely demonstrates a negative attitude on my part – and I’m supposed to be thinking positive this year.
      Yes. In four weeks, I should be out of here and in the new house. That’s not so long, right?

      1. OK, let’s make a deal: if your post-inspection blog post is just too horrible to publish, you can send me an email or FB message and tell me all about it because I can *also* empathize with that part of home selling! And frankly, I haven’t met one person who’s had a totally positive home-selling experience…it’s the nature of the beast. With so much horribleness, on both sides (as buyer and seller) kind of makes you wonder why people even get into home ownership. Sending lots of good home-selling vibes your way!

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