As mentioned before, the thinkdaddy family has moved from St. Louis, Missouri to the Miami - Ft. Lauderdale area. I will also mention that moving is a bitch both physically and emotionally. That said, we got out of our old house really easily.
We put some nice time, effort, and money into making the house "show well" and it paid off. Thinkmommy and our two girls got on a plane and moved to Florida on a Friday. I stayed behind took care of typical last minute "stuff." The house would go on the market when I left to drive our car and "Bob the Dog" down to Florida.
I left Saturday morning and was in the car three hours when the realtor called. She had an offer on the house. A damn good offer. A damn good, non-contingent, cash offer.
We took it.
The house sold in THREE hours.
The best part of it was that we would be able to start looking in earnest for houses in Florida right away so we wouldn't be stuck in a temporary apartment for very long. Let's ride the "buyer's market" wave.
Well shit . . . I've never seen a bigger bunch of lazy homeowners/sellers and realtors in my life.
The market down here is really bad. I'd say that more than 75% of the houses we've seen are short sells or foreclosures. People are really down about the housing situation. You are constantly hearing on the news about how horribly hard it is to sell a house. Houses are selling way under their purported value.
Given all of these woes, you would THINK that homeowners would do everything they could to make their houses ready to go. If someone was ready to buy and had the cash, the owners should be able to say, "Paper or plastic? Welcome to your new home."
Why then, in the name of friggin' St. Joseph, can people not be bothered to even clean up their houses when they KNOW potential buyers are coming? Buyers that can lift the burden of these structures off of their swayed backs. Buyers who really, REALLY want to buy.
Of course, this rant doesn't apply to the foreclosures. These houses are empty and dirty. They've essentially been abandoned when their owner's oversized dreams were shattered by the radical (and entirely predictable) increase of their undersized sub-prime, adjustable mortgage payments.
I'm also not talking about general straightening of furniture or vacuuming or "staging" of the house in order to make seem like a nice product.
I'm talking about walking into a house with our realtor and having the owners not even bother to get their asses off of the couch and turn off the basketball game. I'm talking about not leaving piles of dirty dishes in the sinks and dirty ashtrays on the tables. I'm talking about maybe postponing washing the dog in the kitchen SINK until AFTER their showing. I'm talking about maybe not deciding to boil whatever crazy, stinky, vegetable you found at the local farmer's market ten minutes before someone was coming to maybe buy your house. A house that they don't want to imagine stinking like boiled shit if they ever moved in.
These all happened. They were all different houses.
I should add that we're not looking small places in questionable neighborhoods. These are in nice developments with parks, and gates, and guards, and Beaveresque features.
I should also add that we are the IDEAL buyers for todays market. We are pre-qualified for more than double what we're looking at. We don't have any contingencies for closing the deal. We are ready to go NOW!
It makes you wonder if the listing agents should maybe coach their clients a little bit about making their house a bit more appealing. Guess not. Today was the kicker -- check this out:
I schlep the two girls on the 30 minute drive up to see a house today that we were really interested in. It looks GREAT online and meets almost all of our criteria. I was going to check it out, and if it was good, thinkmommy was going to look at it after work and we'd make an offer tomorrow. For some reason, listing agents in certain communities want to be there with you when you visit with YOUR agent. It's a pain in the ass, but a seemingly necessary evil. I show up today at 2:00pm. Right on time. It's getting to be naptime for the girls, but that doesn't matter at the prospect of finding our perfect house. Our realtor is waiting in the driveway, all is looking good.
Nope . . . the other realtor canceled at the last second. There was no lockbox on the door because obviously she was the only realtor that could be trusted in an empty home with potential buyers.
From the outside, it was perfect. Through the windows, it was perfect. But, I dragged the whole circus up there and that fool woman no-showed on us.
It's from these above citations that I make my ultra non-scientific pronouncement:
50% of the housing slump is caused by lazy, unmotivated homeowners that are enabled by their quasi-inept and equally unmotivated realtors.