I don't think it's ever been this many days without us posting a Journal entry unless we've been out of the country. But trying to get a house emptied out and sold is a time-consuming project with so many things to do it's easy to get side-tracked.
We've been working 12-hour days and barely have had enough time to check emails. In addition to the house stuff, we sold my parents' vehicle and gone to a few of our regular appointments that we have when in Louisville.
We put "For Sale By Owner" signs in the yard, but have not listed the house on the MLS yet. We've had multiple showings to individuals, realtors, investors, etc. The first day we got a cash offer from an investor who we happened to meet in the RV park. He came over just to say "Hello" and to meet us as he's familiar with our website. One thing led to another, and it turned out he is a former auctioneer and owns some rental properties.
An hour later, he met us at the house, walked through, looked at all the stuff and made us a cash offer. When this is all over, I may regret not accepting it. :)
The next day we showed the house three times and got a verbal offer for exactly what I wanted without doing any improvements and leaving everything behind. One of those "too good to be true" offers. Since there was no realtor involved, I drafted a contract, requested proper identification, and information about the lender that I could easily verify. Though it's been 12 years since I was a real estate attorney here, I still have a couple of contacts and know the lay of the land.
Unfortunately, the "buyer" got cold feet when he saw the contract and the required earnest money was due. I wasn't shocked when the deal fell through.
It's been quite confusing as to what we should do. The house needs some improvements for it to sell for a decent price, but it's a very close call as to whether or not we can get our money back out of it. Too much investment, and we'll price ourselves out of the market. Each day we've gone back and forth - do nothing and sell it for less or make it look more appealing and hope the bottom line turns out where I'd like it to be or possibly even higher.
We're trying to take care of everything a home inspector would flag, and we've called handy persons (a few of which were recommended and never called us back), painters, and other specialists. We've talked to realtors and gotten lots of conflicting advice - "Your price is too high", "You should have taken the cash offer and run", "It's a seller's market and inventory is low", "Houses in your price range are selling for above asking price", "I wouldn't do anything to it, it's in good enough shape", "I would just paint and do a couple of other cosmetic changes".
We talked to auction houses. One said they don't do "on site" auctions anymore - everything is online. One said they would bring a truck but only pick up and auction the things they know they could sell for a profit leaving us with still having to get rid of everything else. We had decided to have an auction, but after talking to auctioneers, we decided to have an estate sale.
We've been working non-stop, and thankfully, our friend Sandy has been pitching in to help. She and her husband just went through this last weekend, and she has a great idea of what will sell and what people have been paying. She has been a major help to Linda in figuring out what to price and sell, what prices to set, and what should just be tossed out.
And my second cousins, Samantha and Brandy have also been extremely helpful. It's been a lot of work.
So, we're having an estate sale this weekend. And we've already sold a lot of stuff. A couple of folks my parents worked with in the past and attended previous yard sales, had left names and phone numbers. We called them, and they've already bought several items, but there is still so much left.
The current plan (which seems to change every day) is to have the estate sale, then donate or trash everything that is left having the house completely empty by next Monday. Perhaps we'll get an offer from those that come to the sale.
But if we don't get an offer, we have painters scheduled to paint all the rooms next week. Once the rooms are painted, we'll rip up all the carpet my folks installed and reveal the beautiful hardwood underneath.
We also have to have a closet rebuilt as we moved the washer/dryer up from the basement and squeezed them into a closet (after chopping it up and running gas, water, & electric) in a central bedroom for easier access for my elderly parents. But now we need to re-claim that closet in order to play the numbers game on bedrooms/baths.
Then the plan is to change the kitchen countertops and floor, and put in new vanities in the bathrooms. And we'll dress it up with some landscaping. Fortunately, my folks put on a new roof, installed a new water heater and air conditioning unit, and replaced all the windows. We have to keep a close eye on the costs, but we're going to gamble and hope that it pays off.
By the time we leave here, we hope to have all the improvements done, photos taken, and then we'll list it on the MLS, probably with a flat-fee broker that has a very nice commission option.
We listed the first house we owned with a realtor who put it on the MLS and stuck a sign in the yard. We had an open house the first weekend, but we showed it ourselves as the realtor had better things to do. We got a full price offer. We did all the work other than putting it on the MLS and had to pay the full commission. After that, we've sold our last three houses ourselves without even listing them on MLS, so I'm not a fan of paying 6% commissions.
If we didn't have our Spring Rally coming up fast, we'd probably just continue to sell it ourselves, but I'll pay a capped commission for an agent to list the house, show it, and do all the paperwork so we can get on with our summer plans.
So, that's where we are now. We're both worn out, I didn't watch any of The Masters, and there is still a lot of work to do. It's 7:00 a.m. and Linda is doing laundry, while I'm finishing up taxes and this Journal entry. We'll be glad when this chapter is over. :)