Friday, August 01, 2008

For sale

Well, today its official: our house in VA is on the market.Okay, I can already hear you saying "But the real estate market is in a slump. Why would you put your house on the market now?", and that's a very good question, for which I have a very good answer.

About a month ago our VA realtor Betsy sent me an email indicating there was a temporary market condition that could very well work in our favor. As it turns out, there is a shortage of remodeled homes for sale in the desirable neighborhoods like ours. In fact, Betsy has had several qualified clients who want to buy, but have been unable to find a home they like in the neighborhood they like.

Our VA home is in a very desirable neighborhood due to its solid, character-rich older homes, trees and parks, and school district. We've even received letters in the past from strangers who wanted to move into our neighborhood, asking if we'd consider selling our house.

Betsy sent us the fact sheets from other homes in our general area that have gone under contract within 2 weeks of going onto the market. Not just 1 or 2 houses, but nearly all of the houses that were comparable to ours in size, location, and level of remodeling. We found that these home sold for about the asking price, give or take a little.

This really made us stop and think. Although the national real estate national is in a slump, the local markets can be different, and sometimes the conditions can be quite a bit different.

So we decided this is the right time to sell our house. The tenants currently renting our house have a lease through Sept 30, and under the provisions of the lease we are allowed to market the house for rent or sale 60 days prior to the tenants' move out date. Today the listing will become active in the MLS and the 'For Sale' sign will go in the yard. There will be an open house on Sun.

It was never our intention to keep the VA house when we moved to DE. We'd originally contracted with Betsy to sell the house around this time 2 years ago, but the market was very unstable then. It definitely wasn't the right time. So Betsy suggested we rent the house for a year or 2 while the market stabilized. Fortunately, the suggested sales price from Aug 2006 is still what Betsy recommends for Aug 2008. In other words, we won't be selling for less, despite the overall slump in the general real estate market. Instead, someone else paid our mortgage for 19 months, and now we'll sell our house when the local market conditions are very good.

I'm trying not to count our chickens before they've hatched. I'm certainly prepared for the possibility that the house may not sell within 2 weeks, like the others. But since we have 60 days before the tenants move out, we're allowing more than 2 weeks for a buyer to be found. But I doubt it will take that long.

When the VA house sells, we will be able to pay down our DE mortgage significantly, and will also remove the vulnerability we had from owning 2 major properties.

There have been several times when I couldn't get to sleep at night that I'd begin to wonder if we'd get a call from the property management company notifying us the furnace had gone out, the roof needed to be replaced, or some other major expense was necessary on the VA house. Although the rent covers the mortgage and property management fees, I began to feel like that house was an albatross sitting on our shoulders. When it sells, I will be able to breathe a big sigh of relief.

But we'll really miss that house. Its my favorite style: Cape Cod, and it has a wonderful, homey feel to it. The floor plan was great for parties and holiday entertaining. The gorgeous wood floors, the gracious stairway rising from the foyer, the 2 stone fireplaces, the arched doorways, and the generous room sizes gave the house a feeling of grandeur. While house hunting in DE Spouse & I said many times: "If only we could move our VA house to DE..."

But rather than have a feeling of giving up something I love, I choose to remember the wonderful times we enjoyed there and know that it was a terrific chapter in our lives. Now, we're living a new and different chapter of our lives in a different but beautiful house at the beach in DE.
(Photos may be clicked to enlarge.)

Crush du Jour: Alexandre Carniero


RAD said...

Is one of the houses pictured the one for sale? Hope its sells fast and well! :-)

Anonymous said...

I hope it sells and makes a new family very happy--and you a lot of money!

Java said...

Good luck! Sounds like you have a good agent in VA. Hope it sells quickly.

tornwordo said...

I would have kept both. You are actually making money off that house if you consider the principle that is being paid down on the mortgage. If you pay down the mortgage on your present home, you will gain no benefit and in fact reduce the deductible portion of your mortgage payment there.

All that said, I totally understand the scary "what if they call about the roof" feeling.

Lewis said...

Don't forget that ours sold (in Portland) for full asking price in five weeks. You just never know. Make sure it's priced appropriately....overpriced won't sell. I wish you the same good luck.

Jeff said...

Here's to a speedy sale! Good luck!

Victor said...

The house looks great. Good luck with the sale.

Bugsy said...

Glad to hear about the possible sale of the house. Sounds like Betsy is on top of things!

Best of luck! I know that will make you guys feel better financially!

CJ said...

Good for you! Hope you have a quick sale. Does the hunk come with it?