The Hellhole

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Our realtor fired us this week. It came as rather a surprise to us, because we thought we were nice clients. We keep the house neat and showable, we haven't been nagging and bitching at him about the lack of progress in selling our house, because we figured it wasn't his fault but a result of the current real estate market (hey, we watch CNN). But Monday he called Alan and said, without preamble, "I need to come by to get my lockbox and my sign." Alan was puzzled and asked what was going on, so he elaborated, "Your listing has expired. I'm coming by to get my lockbox and my sign."

Alan said, ", you're not gonna be our realtor any more?"

"That's correct."

Nothing further - no thanks for the opportunity, no sorry it didn't work out, no hey you need to drop the price, just 'i'm coming for my stuff'. His phone call to Alan saying he'd retrieved the items lasted 17 seconds. 17. (Alan looked at the timer on his cell phone.) Given the current market situation, I'm not surprised that he was discouraged or disgusted or disheartened or whatever he was, I'm just surprised at his abruptness.

So I called another realtor and whoa, do I like this guy a lot, who did some research and told me that if we really wanted to sell, we needed to drop the price about $35,000.00. Very discouraging. I mean, that $35,000.00, while not all the equity I have in the place, is pretty much all the equity I worked for and sweated over, all the years that my friends were buying every computer, flat-screen TV, Bose stereo and fancy gadget their hearts desired, going out clubbing all the time and attending every concert that came to Atlanta, while I was home being all Fiscally Responsible and Financially Conservative, and on very rare occasions splurging on an entire six-pack of imported beer. Well, you can see where that's gotten me.

Our new agent said that considering how far I am into a 15-year mortgage and how low my interest rate is, as much as he'd like a commission, still, his best advice is to suck it up/stick it out until the market rebounds, which he doesn't personally think will happen for 3 - 5 years.

We don't want to stay in this house 3 -5 more years.

It's decent but it's not large, there's no storage space, no basement, no room to do any of the relatively simple things we'd really like, like have a chest freezer to take advantage of sales, stock up on meats from Sam's Club, stuff like that (nowhere to put it except in the guest bedroom, or maybe in the garage if I stop parking the one of our three cars that gets parked in the garage, inside). Alan doesn't have to commute very often, 4 - 6 days a month, but on the days he does, it's 65 miles each way.

So many things like a spiffy gas grill, living room furniture (er, I mean, we have furniture but it's old and dingy and gross), a new television and a new puppy*, have been on hold because of this pending sale. I'm ready for our lives to quit being 'on hold' and start being lived.

Mr. Real Estate proposed an alternative to selling so low: his company would rent out our house, they'd manage the rental and he thinks it will rent for a decent bit more than the monthly mortgage/insurance/taxes. I'm not sure about this; I don't really want to be a landlord. I mean, they do it, that's how they earn their cut, but then I'm still on the hook for the mortgage for whenever/however many months the house isn't rented and for repairing all the damages the tenants might do - the repairs scare me more than the mortgage, actually. I've paid off several of our bills, including both cars, and the monthly outflow could easily cover this mortgage and a new one (except for that minor pesky detail of needing this equity for the new down payment) but what if our tenants are like the Skanky Neighbors? I seriously, extremely doubt they had as much as a $2500 damage deposit and $2500 would not cover a fraction of what those people have done to that house. Which I'd have to pay for, to get it re-rented, if it happened to us.

Technically, our credit is good enough that (despite the doom-and-gloom reports of the mortgage industry) a couple of lenders will give us 100% financing, so we could just up and move whether this house sells or not. But then it's sitting vacant, and what might happen then? I don't know what to do - I'm the polar opposite of a risk-taker, particularly in matters of finance (that's why I'm successful in my job, LOL). But I'm tired of this, we want to move, The Boss wants me to move so I can work out of his other office...I don't know the right thing to do.

*My cousin Kriste called me and said her stepdad had two little girl Shih-Tzus he'd sell (he breeds Shih-Tzus and Spitzes), one a year old and one 7 months. We got all excited about the prospect, thinking that this would work a lot better than a wee puppy because she'd be housebroken, not in the chewing phase, not as hard to deal with while the house is on the market and strangers tramping through, etc. But when I called him, the specifics had got garbled somehow and what he had was two 1-year-old non-neutered males which I didn't think would work with All-Male Alpha Dog Sprocket (especially not in this house which is too small to give each of them a 'territory'), and nine 7-8 week old puppies, of which he was willing to sell 5 males and 1 female. So I thought we were adding to the family but then we couldn't, and I was sad. I need more puppehs. And kittehs.


  • House markets suck everywhere now days. The bring the value up, and morgage companies go up, and nothing seems to go down. One reason why I don't ever want to own. I want to live everywhere for a few years then move and repeat.

    If I was ready to move I would rent from you! At least you would know I wouldn't distroy the house, but my roomie and I are not ready to move (Though we would in a heart beat) if situations were a bit different.


    By Anonymous Ashley, at 9:04 AM  

  • I think you should TOTALLY rent my house. It is near not one but two sushi restaurants. C'mon, you know you want to!

    By Blogger Helly, at 9:35 AM  

  • I can't believe your ex-realtor was so abrupt with you.

    If the rental company manages the property, could you still have some say in who rents it? I understand your feelings about that. You're definitely taking on some risk becoming a landlord. Then again, some people really make a lot of money that way. And on the one hand, having to repair $2500 worth of damages would really suck. But on the other hand, that's a lot less than $35,000.

    I say take that financing offer and move into the house of your dreams.

    By Blogger Nancy, at 6:16 PM  

  • What a quandary. We'll be stuck in this housing mess for 3-5 years? I hope not although I can believe it given the fact that the unit most recently occupied by the Devil Children in my neighborhood has been vacant since January and has been on the market for several months for a buyer. (Ah, the silver lining for ME, in this housing market downturn.)

    Good luck with everything, Helly. Here's wishing you the best. I don't have any advice as I'm a recent homeowner just trying to survive the 33% jump in taxes for my condo.

    By Blogger basil, at 7:01 PM  

  • My motto? One can never have too many puppies! (well maybe one can, unless they Shit-Zhus. Then it's all good.)

    By Blogger A Margarita, at 7:46 AM  

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