I haven't updated everyone on the housing situation for awhile so I thought I would. I'm also light on posting material right now anyway. As you know, we put our house up for sale last fall without going through a Realtor. There were a couple reasons for this. By cutting out the middleman, i.e. the Realtor, we could charge less for our house since we eliminate any commissions and maximize our return. Another big reason is that I thought it might take longer to sell that way and we weren't in any hurry to sell before this spring. Even then, we weren't in any big need to sell since no matter where we lived, one of us was going to have a 20 mile commute to work, short by commuting standards.
We had lots of interest in our house. I showed it nearly two dozen times and average two or three calls a week of people asking questions. But as April rolled around, we still had not one single offer. Part of the problem was that winter is not a big house buying time and I tried to counteract that affect by telling people that we were negotiable on a closing date. I suspect the biggest reason for the lack of offers was that people just were leery of buying a house privately. I would get questions like who would write the contract up or how do we make an offer privately or even who do we pay. I would tell them my story from buying the place privately and answer the questions but I think people are just comforted with a Realtor being involved, especially since any cost for said Realtor would be shouldered by me. Another significant part of the problem is that we just lacked the right people looking at our house. Selling it privately and advertising with a sign in our front yard and local papers meant we only attracted locals. This group of people had housing accommodations already and weren't in any hurry to buy. We lacked attracting people moving in from parts unknown who had shorter time frames for searching. I did try to publish our house on online sites to capture that market but only a handful of people found it. Most that I queried had never heard of these sites.
So after talking it over with my wife and realizing that prime real estate moving time was upon us, we handed over our house to a local Realtor. This eliminates the discomfort issue of selling privately and their websites are easily found to people from out of town, especially since our area is multiple-listing-area which means one website is used by all area Realtors. The drawback of course is that we have less wiggle room in our price since we have to jack our bottom line up by 6% to cover the Realtor commission. We did this a month ago.
Overall the process has been pretty painless. I like the fact that I don't have to be around when someone is looking at my house and trying to sell it to them. Someone else does that. In fact, all I have to do is make sure it is relatively clean and vacate the premises for a half hour or so. We've had 14 or so showings over the last four weeks and I don't have to answer all the phone calls that the Realtor is undoubtedly receiving. It is pretty relaxing. Still we haven't had an offer yet despite the realtor saying that it won't be on the market very long since we are priced well under what it is worth and what the going market is saying it should go for. We were told we had an imminent offer last week (coincidentally by a coworker who recognized it as my house and stopped by later to ask more questions) but that hasn't yet materialized yet. I have another showing tonight (two nights ago by the time this posts) and they seem to be pretty steady so I'm not too worried yet. Still, it puts the damper on the dreaming of a new place which will be the topic of my next post.