Thursday, November 15, 2007

House Selling

Let me just say - I now know why people use real estate agents....

I bought a condo about 5 years ago - back when I was single. I have just been renting it out since getting married, and Josh and I decided that it was time to sell. Mostly because I can get out of paying capital gains taxes because I lived in it for a few years, and if we were to wait much longer, we would be giving the government a percentage of what I have made on it (not that it's that much - I am not completely convinced that if you are wanting to make money off of your property, buy a house, not a condo.) Well, we put it up for sale by owner late last summer. It was a bad time to put it up in the first place because the area is inhabited by mainly singles and students, so most people looking to buy had already purchased something, preparing for the fall semester. We had an offer the day after we put it up for sale, but they had a real estate agent, which we would have to pay the 3% commission to. We were ok with that, but they low-balled us on the price, and we didn't want to take such a low offer the day after it was listed. Also, we weren't in a big hurry to sell, so we passed up the offer.

And then all of this mortgage business started happening. Great. Bad timing. But luckily, the housing market is still holding strong in Utah, and although there are a lot more homes for sale on the market than buyers looking (or should I say - people that can actually qualify for a mortgage now) but at least the property values are holding. We had quite a few people look at it in the beginning, but after school started, the calls stopped coming. We decided to take the sign down, and we would wait until Spring to put it up for sale again. I called one of the renters, asking her to take the sign down. But that afternoon, I got a call from a girl that actually owns one of the other units in the complex. She was in town from California and had seen the sign in the window that morning, and she was interested. I showed her the condo that day.

To make a really long story short, she originally made an offer about $35,000 less than our asking price. When we were asking under 200k to start, that was a huge discount. We laughed and said no thank you, but she kept negotiating. We settled on the lowest price that Josh and I had determined beforehand that we would go to. We were ok with it, because we figured that if we waited until spring, we would list with an agent and probably walk away with less, even if we sold it for more. And then more negotiating, and we threw in all of the furniture (except an armoire and a sofa table that I was not leaving behind) and ended up paying closing costs just to get the deal to happen. Yikes. And then to top it all off, we were supposed to close yesterday, and she almost didn't go through with it because she didn't have signed contracts from the renters. (And just to complain some more, she originally wanted me to take care of making the renters sign a new contract with her, I told her no - she needed to take care of it, and so she only sent the new contracts to the renters on Monday and was freaking out about the whole thing when she didn't have the contracts back to her by Wednesday. I just heard back from the title lady, and the girl did end up closing last night and her mom (who is co-signing) is signing this afternoon. What a headache. This is why I can see why working with a real estate agent is SO worth the money. This has been a constant stress over the past few months, and I am going to be so grateful when I know for sure that this is all over tonight. And hopefully I will have some money in my bank account tomorrow!! Too bad Josh is working this weekend, or else I would make him take me out to celebrate.

We have decided to be smart with the money and pay off some bills, cars, motorcycle, etc. The rest is going to go into savings. The only splurges we will make are for new tires for my car (I guess this is really not a splurge - more of a necessity!) and I am pulling for us each to get a new cell phone. We are both having issues with ours. But besides that, we are going to pretend we don't have the money. But life will be more fun now that we won't have car payments or any other payments except for our house and utilities/groceries/gas etc. What a relief to have this all over with!!!

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