Thursday, August 24, 2006

Real estate irony

Being the ever-optimist that he is, Joe keeps telling me about all the articles and new stories he reads/sees about the real estate market slowing down. Just what I want to hear while preparing to put our house on the market.

Then I started thinking about the real estate market at the beach, which does not have the insulation of the Washington DC area. Logic would have it that if the market is slowing down in DC, then it must REALLY be slowing down elsewhere.

To some extent that seems to be true. There are plenty of homes at the beach that have been for sale since we began looking back in April. Many have dropped in price, some by $25K, others by $100K. Then I began to think about my frustration with losing all the properties I actually like.

First it was the contemporary house that sat directly on Red Mill Pond. The entire back of the house was windows and sliding glass doors, which opened onto a 2 level deck, with stairs down to the dock. The lot was treed, and I just loved it. The price was quite reasonable too. The problem was that the house was too small. So I designed an addition that would add a large master bedroom overlooking the pond, and a master bath and walk-in closet on the main floor, and a guest bedroom and an office on the 2nd floor. But before we were even close to being ready to put our house on the market, the house was purchased. I felt validated when we drove by last weekend and saw that the new owners were adding on.

Then we saw a ranch style house that sat directly on Red Mill Pond. It didn't have the lovely deck or stairs leading to the dock, but it did have a dock. The problem with that house was that it also was too small. It was also a modular home, built elsewhere as 2 pieces that are assembled on site. It had absolutely no drywall - just that horrible, dated patterned paneling that is oh so reminiscent of a trailer. The entire house was so dated there really wasn't anything worth saving or remodeling. I really wanted to have a bulldozer level the thing, have the debris hauled away, and build a nice house on that great lot. But Joe wanted to buy an existing house and wasn't excited (like me) about designing a house to be built. I checked today and found that this house has also been purchased.

Then there were the "water house" and the "pool house", which were my top 2 favorites. You already know what happened to the "water house", but we've also found out that the "pool house" is being auctioned on Sat. At first I was excited by the possibility of getting the "pool house" at a great price at auction. But then I found out you must have a check for 10% of the purchase price that day, you have to add an additional 5% to the purchase price to pay the auction company who will in turn give part of that to your realtor, and you must settle on the property within 30 days. We don't have 10% of the price in cash, and we can not settle within 30 days, since we don't even have our house on the market yet, much less have a buyer for it who is ready to go to settlement soon. So in effect, the "pool house" is gone now too.

How ironic that in a "slow market", all 4 of the properties I have been interested in have sold. Meanwhile, Joe is concerned that our house might not sell or that we might not get a good price for our house - which in all honesty is far nicer than most houses we've seen at the beach in the same price range. Joe would like me to join him on an endless discussion of contingencies. I got frustrated with this last night and told him it was just too exhausting for me, and that I felt like we knew what we needed to do. If circumstances change and our house doesn't sell or we don't get offers for the right price, we would discuss it THEN - not now. He thinks I'm being short-sighted, but I just can't worry myself to death planning for a myriad of contingencies that may never even happen. We know each other well enough to trust that when the chips are down, we will be on the same page. That's always been the way its worked in the past. We're just connected that way.

Drag Queen name of the day: Gladys Canby

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