Friday, November 5, 2010

wheeling and dealing in the real estate market

If the housing market is still tanking, it's not my fault. I feel that we have more than done our part to aid the economy. In the past couple of months we have: sold our house, sold my dad's house, and bought a new house. It's weird how things time out like that. I mean, of course, after selling our own house we damn well better buy a new house pretty quickly, but to have sold my dad's house as well in the same time period is a little, well, it's overwhelming.

The sale of my dad's house turned out to be the easiest in the end. It sat on the market for six months with lots of viewings, but only one offer, which was so low as to not be taken seriously. That was partly our fault, as we priced the house too high initially, but I feel our realtor has to take most of the blame. We had no idea what a little Cape Cod that had been neglected for 35 years might fetch in today's market. Neither, as it turned out, did he.

I started to panic as our own house sold and it became clear that I would be moving before the end of the year. How could I sell my dad's house from out of state? Then, one day at work, I heard a woman discussing how her mother's house had been auctioned off and they had donated all the furniture. That's it, I thought. We could either just donate the house - something my dad had already suggested - or auction it off. Accordingly, I contacted the realtor with those suggestions. He was appalled at the idea of donating the house. You'll only get a tax write-off then, he told me. But we can auction it off for you. Would you like to do that?

Would I like to do that? Yes! As soon as possible. And that was all it took. One of his co-workers who is also an auctioneer contacted me about a month ago and assured me the house would be sold by the end of October. He also told me he could probably get us the asking price. I was thrilled and gave him the go-ahead.

I walked through the house the day before the auction. It was cold and empty and dirty, and I hated the house that day as much as I ever had. What an unhappy home it had been for my parents and my brother. I silently wished the new owners well, and walked out the door for the last time. The house sold the next day for $2,000 less than our asking price, which, really, we probably would have negotiated away in a regular sale. Less than a week later, the money was deposited in my dad's account. What a load off my mind. I can only hope the rest of our transactions go as well. Stay tuned.

1 comment:

jamanci said...

so glad to hear that's off your shoulders now! it never was a happy house, it's true. although i have memories there, they're not happy or unhappy--just neutral.

here's hoping the rest of the deals go so smoothly!