Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Getting the Hell out of Here: Part Six

"Life is pain, Highness. Anyone who says differently is selling something."

Sell this Bitch

So selling the house is, bar none, the most intimidating piece of this process. For us, I mean. We've never sold a house, the market is not great, and our home value has dropped around 10% since we bought it. Not as bad as some people have it, granted, and we owe less than what's it's worth. But not by much, and we refinanced in January 2009.

Even if we actually got full value for our house (doubtful), by the time you factor in closing costs and fees and all that, we'll be lucky to walk away breaking even. It's scary times, peeps, which is why getting the house in tip-top selling condition is absolutely crucial. We have to squeeze every drop of value out of this place.

So what's the plan, Jen?

Well, I'm glad you asked. Are you sitting down? Are you ready to hear my terrible, ill-advised, likely-to-backfire-all-over-the-place idea?

We're going to try to skirt closing costs by giving a by-owner sale a shot.

*waits until laughter dies down*

I know. Believe me, I know. Every time I see a "For Sale, By Owner" sign in someone's yard, I roll my eyes and think, "Fools." There is a reason that real estate is a specialized profession. It takes knowledge of the market, the legalese, the process, current home trends, buyer habits, etc. There's more to it than staging with Sabrina Soto's pretty handmade wall treatments and slipcovers.

I know. And Imma do it, anyway.

Actually, it had never occurred to me to even consider attempting a sale by owner until I read about how Andrea Dekker and her husband sold their home on Craigslist in three days, during the economic whatsahoozit.

It's a risk. There are no guarantees, even with a realtor, and I have no delusions that because this strategy worked for a blogger I like, it will magically work for me, too. We're not stOOpid people, and I'm not going to just slap a For Sale sign in my yard and wait for the offers to roll in. If we don't see the kind of traffic/interest we need in a month, we'll re-evaluate before the house sits too long.

My only real conundrum is how we'll show the house. I firmly believe that homeowners should be scarce when potential buyers are touring their home, but I'm not about to let strangers wander around my home, either. No telling what weird shit people might be into, and I don't need someone dipping my toothbrush in the toilet just for the hell of it. We'd probably have to work something out with a few friends, exchanging favors for their time in showing the house for us.

The thing is that, like almost anything, it can be and has been done. And like anything that will succeed, the process requires careful thought, research, and painstaking planning. I believe in us enough to feel like we have as good a chance as anyone, as long as we're properly prepared. And we will go ahead and research agents so that we have a name or two on hand if needs be. We don't intend to approach something this important without careful thought and preparation.

I know you're shaking your head and silently judging. It's fine. If the plan fails, you get to be right, so good for you. But if it works...well, I think it's worth a shot. Worst case scenario? We end up with an agent. :)


  1. Good luck to you guys. Seriously. We sold our condo in the Chicago area, before the recession, and I would rather give birth. Every day. Without drugs. And we used a realtor, but only because the company relocating us paid for it.
    Of course, sooner or later we'll have to move - I doubt we'll stay here forever. Maybe I'll get hit by a truck before that happens.
    So anyway, I wish you guys the best, and I'm happy to help in any way I can.

  2. Selling is something we are dreading, too, big time. And I keep reading that you'd better have 10% of the selling price available for closing costs (including realtor commission), so I've been reading a bit about FSBO, too. Since Kurt is a lawyer, it seems feasible in some regards (he can tap into the knowledge of his friends with that expertise at the firm). It still seems very intimidating. I mostly worry about the negotiations stage, where realtors are very much in tune with how that process is supposed to go, and are good at protecting you, legally and financially. I worry about stuff like whether or not we disclosed everything we were required to disclose on the paperwork and so on.

    OTOH, 10% is a lot and we, too, will be lucky to break even since we'll be here about 5 years when we sell. Our neighborhood has held pretty well, value-wise, but we put down like 3.5% when we bought. It's a huge PITA to even THINK about, let alone actually do. We may become lifelong renters after this. :D

    I'm sure if anyone can tackle the FSBO beast, though, it's you! It clearly CAN be done, so why not try?