24 March 2009

Realizations

No. 1: The Real Work Has Only Just Begun

This is not a political post, but it starts with a story that involves politics. And then it moves on to some whining. Don't say I didn't warn you.

I was an Barack Obama supporter from the get-go. I was quite nervous that he would not succeed in getting the Democratic nomination, not because he didn't deserve it but because Hilary Clinton had such strong support, such great experience, and such name recognition. I remember the day Obama got the nomination and the happiness and relief I felt that he was on his way to becoming our President.

That euphoric feeling lasted about two weeks. Then, one day, it occurred to me that he might not win the general election. That thought had honestly never crossed my mind until that point, daft as that sounds. I had been so focused on whether or not he could secure the party nomination that I had completely forgotten that that was the tip of the iceberg. 

I feel much the same way about my condo right now. I had to do so much work to get it ready to list—emotional and physical—that it never occurred to me that once it was on the market, it might not sell. I know, I know. Laugh all you want, as you'd think, given the current economic situation in the U.S. and the state of the housing market, it might have crossed my mind that I would not be able to sell. But it really didn't. It's starting to now.

My condo has been on the market nearly a month. This past weekend was the third weekend of open houses, all of which have been well attended. Buyer's agents have been brining people through. Yesterday, a woman who had spent quite a bit of time at this past weekend's open house went back with her agent, then sent my agent a long list of questions about my place. Maybe this will turn into an offer? It's the closest I've gotten.

Perhaps a month isn't very long. Or perhaps it's long enough and I need to drop my price. And therein lies a big dilemma. My condo is listed at $45,000 (yes, that's FORTY-FIVE THOUSAND DOLLARS) less than I paid for it three and a half years ago. That doesn't even account for the $15,000 (yes, that's FIFTEEN THOUSAND DOLLARS) worth of improvements I made during the time I lived there. So I'm already standing to lose a big chunk of change. On one hand, heck, I'm already going to lose a ton of money? Why not drop the price, get it off my hands, and lose MORE! On the other hand, that's a lot of money!

It's of course not the concern of the buyer how much money I stand to lose. The buyer is concerned only with getting the best possible price. I understand that. I'm just feeling frustrated and impatient is all. And a little stymied and unsure. I have yet to determine my breaking point on the price. No matter what I decide that point is, what will I do if I can't sell at that price? Move back in? Ugh.

I need to think about how long I can take the limbo. It's a status that's never been comfortable for me, and this is no exception. My gut sense is that it's not quite time to lower the price and that I need to take this as a lesson in patience. There's been a lot of interest in the place, and the price is not a secret when people decide to come by. My sense is that if the price were really way too high, no one would even be coming by to look. Of course, I'm not a realtor. That's just my sense. So I will wait a bit for now, keep mulling it over, and hopefully an answer, or an offer, will come to me.

*****************************
No. 2: I Need to Exercise

Totally unrelated to housing, two nights go, I was inspired to put my Jillian Michaels 30-Day Shred DVD into the player and give it a go.

Jillian Michaels is trying to kill me.

It's a good kind of killing, though, or at least that's what I'm told myself as I flailed around again last night, pretending to jump rope, doing endless jumping jacks, and heaving hand weights. I've been out of the exercise loop for a while now, and it does feel good to be doing something—anything!—rather than kidding myself that living on the second floor and doing a lot of lifting of 35-pound toddlers makes my life qualify as a workout. Now if I could just revamp my eating habits, too, because I've been eating a lot of the following lately:

Random List of Awesome Food I Have Recently Eaten
Cadbury Mini-Eggs (the brilliant CV heats them up in the microwave, yum)
nachos
Jell-O instant pudding (chocolate and butterscotch and that neon-green pistachio)
cottage cheese
JIF peanut butter (I'm usually a natural, organic, no-sugar peanut butter kind of gal, but I had some JIF the other day and I thought I'd died and gone to heaven)
Diet Coke
Friendly's chocolate soft-serve with peanut butter sauce
Chee-toes (the baked ones, practically health food)
Girl Scout Thin Mint ice cream

I'm totally in comfort-eating mode. I've also eaten some fruit and salad and such, but much of my diet has been rather, shall we say lacking in freshness as of late. Perhaps the shredding will inspire me to get back to my more usual ways.

*******************************
No. 3: It's not Spring Yet

OK, yes, according to the calendar it's spring. But just because it's late March and the sun is shining does not mean that it's warm outside. I keep pretending that it does, though, and not wearing my scarf and putting on short-sleeved shirts and sending the kids to daycare in sweatshirts and no coats and then regretting it.

This morning is was 28°F. It's not spring yet! Evidently my brain can't process that information.

******************************
No. 4: I Feel Dull

I've been quiet on the blog front not only because of being busy at work, but also because of feeling dull. I feel drawn inward lately, weighed down by work stress and condo stress and a sense of plodding along without really getting anywhere. I don't feel unhappy, and I've done many fun things lately, but I just feel slow and thus rather uninteresting and uninspired. I've felt this way before and it will pass. I hope soon.

50 comments:

Single Parent Dad said...

I agree on the house front, I think, too early to drop your price. If you think the price is fair I would hold out for it, and people can always make a lower offer for your consideration.

I need to join you on the health kick, I had a 'have you put on weight' this weekend. And the short answer is yes.

Susan said...

Snick - in this market especially, a month is NOT long enough. I would not drop your price. I was hoping for your sake that the city market would be better and it may but it will take some time. Keep holding on..... I know here in MI it is a dismal situation in housing.

We are doing the same yoyo with spring. Beautiful and warmer but our mornings are very chilly and downright cold. It's coming though and that's what we focus on ;)

I have gotten the exercise bug as well and I feel much better about myself!!! And I'm with you on the food list....we all have our "lists".

Fingers crossed for person asking lots of questions on condo.

Emskyrooney said...

I've never commented before but have been reading your blog for a while. I think you should wait another month or two before dropping the price on your condo. I live south of Boston by about 15 miles and we sold our house in 2007- the market was much better but it took about 4 months to sell even then- 1 month isn't very long at all! Good luck!

Jennifer said...

Hello :) I dont know if you have solved the Riley waking up part but I saw this and thought of you :)

http://www.goodnitelite.com/index.php

Jen :)

What A Card said...

Good luck on the house front. We are dropping the price on our house this week, but only because we found that house we love (and can't buy unless our house sells). I think in this market, it is really too soon, though, to drop the price. We haven't gotten tons of activity on our house, though someone came through Saturday and "loved the house", but it was their first day of looking at houses and want to see what else is out there... :(

My diet has been shockingly similar to yours! Yum, yum! I bought some salad fixin's the other day, but the lettuce was limp, and tomatoes tasteless. Only the carrots were good. I can't wait for fresh veggies this summer!

Becky said...

Would it be feasible to rent out your condo for a couple of years until the prices go back up? The market seems to be improving.

Holly said...

I am currently looking for houses. Don't lower the price yet if people are coming by and someone wants to know more info. As a buyer, you wonder what's wrong if the price drops this early, wait it out a bit longer if you can.

Pam said...

Ha ha, I also have the Jillian Michaels 30 Day Shred and I think that bitch is evil. :))) No seriously it is a great workout even if I feel like I am dying when I'm done and I have been exercising regularly for years. My 3 year old loves to watch me and when I finished he always says "Exercise AGAIN MAMA!". Uh, yea.
Good luck with the condo. I know it seems like it to you, but 30 days is not that long in this market. Lots of activity is good, try to be patient.
Pam

Kate said...

Jillian is trying to kill me, too. That bitch.

Susan said...

Your real estate agent should be providing you a lot of information: From previous sales, the number of days similar condos remained on the market; the selling price of recent transactions; feedback from agents showing the property (are prospective buyers commenting that the price is too high?). Be patient -- a month is really not a long time to wait for an offer, even in a better market.

I think we're all feeling a bit dull. Spring and warmer temperatures need to arrive soon.

Anonymous said...

It pains me that anyone is having to sell right now.

What does your agent think?

Mary Ellen said...

A month isn't long enough, imo. Don't drop your price yet... And, as far as questions like, how low would I go? I think you've made some of these decisions, even if you don't realize it. You moved out -- so, at some level, you were saying, "I'm washing my hands of this place...adios." And consider the money that you're saving with the shared space! That's good stuff. And you know, it IS just money, which sounds a little bit crazy -- since it's money that buys our peanut butter and chocolate -- but it's not peace of mind, which is sorta priceless...

carosgram said...

Thinking of you and wishing you the best

django's mommy said...

I love how I feel after Shredding, but yeah. She's a hard-nosed bitch, Jillian is.

I am in the same place as you- sort of crap food, feeling not unhappy but just sort of in-a-ruttish, needing to exercise more... yeah.

I'm hoping it warms up fast and I can get back to running regularly.

Supa Dupa Fresh said...

OMG there's a thin mint ice cream?

I think patience on price is warranted. Doesn't real estate tend to pick up when it starts to look like spring? In your area, that should be what, mid-June? :0)

X

Supa

Anonymous said...

Trust me, your realtor will tell you if you need to drop the price. Hang in there.

Elise

Anonymous said...

I agree with the others. Don't lower the price!!
A friend of mine just sold her house in this horrible market, and swears it was her positive thinking, patience, and those easy to bake Pillsbury cookies!!
She set a picture of her house with a sold sign in front of it as wallpaper on her computer, changed her password to something like, housesold, and baked a couple packs of those Pillsbury break apart cookies to set out before each open house. :o)
House Sold!!

caro said...

CADBURY MINI EGGS HEATED UP IN THE MICROWAVE. OH MY GOD.

That is all.

beyond said...

a month isn't long at all. hang in there. your diet made me smile...

Watercolor said...

Come to Mississippi for a break. It is in 70's and 80's here and everything is in bloom. Gorgeous! Bring the chocolate. I have a microwave...will share.

Anonymous said...

Any chance you might be able to rent it out for a year or two until the market picks up again? Even if you lose a bit of money each month, it might be worth it.

L. said...

You might (or might not) remember me posting in your comments earlier about selling a house last year. (And we'd already bought another, so, like, no pressure there.) I heartily agree with many other commenters: 1) a month is nothing, it's way too soon to drop the price, try two or three at least; 2) your realtor should be giving you a lot of feedback about what to expect and what people are saying; 3) **spring is coming** and don't forget the market picks up a lot then. Even at the best of times, this is a really dead time of year to sell. Things should pick up somewhat in the spring. And, in a nice coincidence, if you give it another couple months that'll get you to just about the right time of year.

Really, a month is nothing. I know (oh how I know) it's very hard, but if you can set some boundaries in your head about how much emotional space you will give to the topic of "unsold condo," it will help. Set a deadline with your agent to revisit the issue and in the meantime... live your life.

Anonymous said...

Our house took >1 month to sell in a market that was far better than the one that we're in now.

Part of what made me keep it on the market is a Freakonomics article that showed that real estate agents kept their houses on the market longer, and got 10% higher prices. The theory was that agents pressure sellers to close, because that's when they make their commission, and 10% of the commission isn't all that much. So, the seller's interest diverges from the agents -- since waiting for the 10% is worth it.

But, that's financial, and, it depends on what your carrying costs of the house are (Freakonomics was assuming that you were living in the house, and thus didn't have 2 houses to maintain). The emotional situation is much more complicated. I'm more comfortable with limbo than my husband, it creates conflicts when we've bought & sold houses.

Bert Bell said...

I have been following your blog for a month or so. You have made me laugh & cry. It may sound trite to some but I have been praying for you and will continue to do so. I am praying the right buyer for your house comes in the right time and that you get above fair market value...so don't lower it just yet. Give God time to bring the right buyer along. As for the blahs...don't try to cure it with food. Exercise is a good coping skill for the blahs....so is putting on some good praise and worship music and dancing like David. When David was on the run from Saul and it seemed like the whole world was against him, David encouraged himself in the Lord. How did he do it? Well David started running through his mental checklist of all the things God saved him from and did for him. Start there...start running through your own praise list to the Lord, thanking Him for all the blessings He has brought to and through your life....then do like David did...praise the Lord and dance in your underwear!

jan said...

Here in northern Delaware the average house is now on the market 100+ days- so hang in there.

BrooklynGirl said...

My apartment was on the market this fall, and it was incredibly stressful. We dropped the price at the one month mark by 50,000, which was a really painful decision, but we got an offer at our revised asking price a few days later. To me, it was worth it just not to have to worry about it anymore.

Best of luck whatever you decide!

Sadia said...

I think a month is too soon to start worrying. A good friend and former neighbour sold her house in 30 days, and we were all amazed that it happened so fast. She did an extraordinary job of staging it, complete with pot-pourri in the crockpot and "buy me" music (sorry, I don't know what she picked) playing in the background. Still, a month seems short in today's market.

Twwly said...

Root beer and cream soda have been my repeat offenders this month. I am a water person, lugging my giant Kleen Kanteen with me everywhere, normally... but now, I am drinking a soda every coupla days and boy. It is a delightful habit....

winecat said...

NO, don't drop the house price! Do you have more than one realtor working for you? If not I'll give you a tip from a friend of ours. He lists with 3 different realtors They're each given the same options, sell it the first week you get full commission, the second the commission drops 1%, etc. He swears it works and this is from a very smart man. Granted this is in Ca so I'm not sure how it would work for you but hey what can it hurt? Oh I need to join you in the health kick as well. I keep SAYING today I'm going to the gym, note that saying.

Hang in there, I know it's hard but $$ are starting to move out of banks if you can hang on a bit longer

kim said...

No advice re the house but as for exercise - the hotpants dvd by Dan Karaty is really good and doesn't kill you. I could keep it up for a few months without getting bored with it - but it takes 45 mins.

Jamie said...

The housing market is just tough right now. Our house has been on the market for over a year. At the 6 month mark, we lowered our price $25,000. And still nothing. It's the economy but many people seem to feel there is hope on the horizon. Hang in there.

Your list of junk food all sounds great, btw!

Christine said...

My boyfriend's parents' house took about six months to sell -- and this was about two years ago, when housing was still strong in our city. Be patient.

Anonymous said...

When I sold my condo I cried and cried about the fact that I was going to lose money on it. I worked so hard to buy the damn thing that the thought that it hadn't turned out to be a good financial move devastated me.

My husband reminded me that my main goal when I bought the place wasn't as an investment, it was as a place to live. If I had been renting a comparable place for the same amount of time, I would have "lost" much more money than I did by selling it at a loss.

Good luck!!!

Lindsey C. said...

I bought the same Jillian Michael's DVD and I haven't been able to finish the first level successfully. I'm not in great shape, but I run and do 45 minute spin classes so I thought I could do some home exercise video. Good luck and keep going with it! Exercise balls are also wonderful!

Melissa in TN said...

I don't think you should drop your price. You are already taking quite a hit. A month is not long, even in good economic times.

Maybe checking with your realtor about the average number of days on the market a house takes to sell would be the best bet.

I hope you can hang on and be patient. Spring is usually a good time to sell and it really is going to be here soon :). Good luck!

Roads said...

Well, as sometimes seems to happen around here, I'll offer you some contrary advice, just for the heck of it.

I'd say drop your price if they ask you to. Take a lower offer and get the deal done, for the sake of moving forwards.

Because in two years' time you'll never ask yourself about the last ten thousand dollars. You'll just say, Thank God we moved.

As for low spirits -- well, the arse end of winter can take it out of you, big time. But warmer, brighter days are on the way. And that's a given. Onwards and upwards.

orbgirl said...

Hello! Just a thought that has probably been brought up before since you have so many commenters! What about renting the condo? This would allow you to offset your regular income with the loss (if that's what you get when you eventually sell.) As it stands now there are no tax benefits for selling your primary residence at a loss, but a rental property, yes!

Keen said...

For some reason, your list of snacks really spoke to me. Probably because I have a similar list of my own.

I've been meaning to buy that DVD. When I do, I'm sure I will be joining the "bitch is trying to kill me" chorus!

Anna said...

Hang in there on the condo sale. I think we all got use to things selling within a few days of being on the market. I just bought a condo and have been watching properties since November and it has been taking 4 months or so to sell of they are prices right. Good luck

Melissa in Grafton said...

As agonizing as the waiting is, Snick, I wouldn't drop your asking price just yet. An earlier commenter was right, I think: we've gotten used to relatively fast real estate sales over the last few years... and when the market slows down as it has, it's important to keep things in perspective and try not to panic. (I know, easier said than done -- but your condo has only been on the market for a month... that's not very long.)

Fingers crossed for you...

Hugs,
m

OTRgirl said...

I think your gut is right on the condo price. If you're getting that many people coming to open houses, hold on a bit. It's a slow market and whoever makes an offer will try to low-ball anyway, so why help them! If you drop the price, it will send people into crazy bargaining mode. Hold on a little longer.

I hear you on the junk food. My latest guilty pleasure has been slowly savoring 3-4 spoonfuls of Nutella, dipped in peanut butter. It's my afternoon snack. (I tell myself it's better than eating a Reese's Cup!)

Diane said...

Why not rent it out? We did that with my husband's former house thinking it would be just a little while. Five years later, the rent is now far more than the mortgage. Not everyone can afford to buy right now, but they still need a place to live. Hang on until the market gets better. If you don't want to handle the day-to-day on it, use a property manager.

Ellen said...

Even in a good market, selling in a month would be unusual. And this is a bad market.

In this market, 45K down is not bad at all. I don't know what your neighborhood is like, but you could easily have spent that or more on rent in 3.5 years and had nothing to show for it.

And again, without knowing how expensive such things are, 15K wouldn't go very far in improvements on my house...

I'm not going to suggest no more whining, but you're really in much better shape than you think you are...hang in there...

Crash Course Widow said...

I think I waited 3-4 weeks before dropping the price...to the place it probably should have been at to begin with (and I had no showings for months). My price drops never really equated to a burst of activity, but I never had many showings to begin with. When all was said and done during the active listing phase, I dropped my price $45k from where I started. And I thought that was my breaking point, my bottom line that I would not cross. Except when I finally got the offer, I ended up selling $35k below what I bought it for (before all $50k of my upgrades and improvements), and lost almost $100,000 when all was said and done. And it was a tough chunk to swallow, but...it sold. I got what I wanted...I guess. We'll have to wait and see if it has the desired positive effect in my life.

A month isn't very long at all. It feels like ages, but like you said, it's just the tip of the iceberg. From the time I listed until I got the offer, it took almost 6 months. And it was basically a year from the time I hatched my "do i want to sell and move?" plan until it finally sold and I moved out. Patience sucks, though, and I hated every moment of the whole process.

Keeping my fingers crossed that it all ends up working out in the end....Hang in there! Selling in this market truly sucks.

Hugs,
Candice

laura said...

All the very important political and exercize questions aside, I just have to know...

Thin Mint Ice Cream? For real?

Does it exist, or do you just crush up some t.m. and add them to your ice cream?

cv said...

Laura - it truly exists! I wouldn't have believed it until snick brought it home. It comes in both chocolate and vanilla as a base flavor. mmmm.

juliebplusthree said...

We had our house on the market in 2005. We priced it on the high side, and it sat on the market for 6 months without ONE showing! Fast forward to January '09. We put our house on the market for $36,000 less than what we listed it for in '05. We had quite a few showings, and offer within 2 weeks, and I'm now sitting in the living room of our new home.

So, if you're getting showings, I think your price isn't too high. I know it's tough to wait, but give it another month and see what happens. We do have some remorse about our house selling so quickly...could we have priced it higher, and would it have sold just as quick? See? We can never be happy! :-) But, we had to do what felt right at the time, even if it meant sacrificing profit. (We had this house in mind, but needed to sell ours before someone came along and bought this one)

If you can, wait. If you can't, and you just want to have the condo out of your life, sacrifice some $$$. It's not what REALLY matters, anyway. But I don't have to tell you that!

Anonymous said...

I am pregnant and reading about your cadbury mini eggs heated up in the microwave made me actually get up and vomit.

everything else sounds good.

kerry said...

45K? really? I've never heard of any property in our area being that low.

kerry said...

oops, I missed that little word "less" after 45k.
just ignore me.