Saturday, February 27, 2010

50 Hours on the Market

When we bought our townhome in 2005, we only expected to live here for about three years. We thought that when Josh graduated from UCCS in May 2008, he would find a job, and we would sell this house and buy one big enough to start a family in.

The best laid plans of mice and men often go awry

Little did we know that Josh would graduate in an economy that didn't really lend itself to finding a job quickly. Or selling a house quickly. It took him seven months to find a job. (We are so thankful and thank God often that we are both employed right now.) Meanwhile, we put our house on the market in July 2008. It was up for a year. I got soooo tired of having to leave it in showing condition everyday. Some days we took the gamble: no one will want to come see the house today. Then, if we did get a call, we'd run home to clean it up before the showing. We left it on the market until 2.5 weeks before Lorien was born, so you can imagine me rushing home, eight months pregnant and cleaning like a crazy woman ... all for nothing. In that whole year, we got one offer, and it was so low that we couldn't afford to accept it.

We decided that moving with a newborn was out of the question, so we stayed off the market for the last seven months. Recently, though we decided we ought to take advantage of the tax credit for first-time home buyers (since that's probably who is going to buy our house) and get it back on the market. I was dreading—dreading—the pressure to keep it clean. Having a baby didn't make that any easier.

Insanity Week

Since the current real estate market has made it difficult to rack up much equity in our house, we decided to go with a flat-fee listing service and save ourselves paying commission to a real estate agent (even though we have an agent whom we love). To cover ourselves, we decided to work instead with a real estate attorney who would charge us a fraction of a realtor's fee to to the contracting for us. We filled out the forms to list the house on Monday night. It was supposed to hit the MLS by Tuesday night, but there was a glitch and it didn't go live until Wednesday at 2 p.m.

At 3:00 p.m. we got a call for a showing at 4:30. Thankfully, I was working from home that day and could drop what I was doing to get the house ready to show. I got it all done except for 2 dirty pots, which I left in the sink. Lorien and I went to Focus to see Josh, since he was working late. While we were there, we got a call from the Realtor doing the showing, saying that his client was very interested. After a minimal amount of verbal negotiating, we got a formal offer at about 8:00 p.m.

The next day, Thursday, we had another showing. And another offer. It amounted to about $4000 less, because it included a request for us to pay the buyer's loan closing costs. We let them know that we already had another offer and asked if they would like to beat it (thinking they wouldn't, but they did).

Both offers were reasonable, but both also came with slight risks. (The first had a contingency for the sale of her current property, and the second was financing almost the whole amount and asking for closing costs on top, so there was a high bar for the appraisal.)

We spent all day Thursday on the phone negotiating and working out the contracts. Seriously—Josh and I both nearly ran our phones out of batteries talking on them. Friday morning we commenced again. By Friday at noon we had reached a verbal agreement to accept the first offer (the one with the contingency). And at 4:00 p.m. we signed the counterproposal and went under contract.

Fifty hours. Unbelievable.

In the midst of all the negotiating and trying to figure out which was the better deal, Dad Keffer put it this way: "The one thing that's clear is that you were not supposed to sell your place the last time around, and that you are supposed to sell it this time around." Thank goodness!

Now we just have to make it to closing on March 24 and get the money in the bank!

Just for fun, here are the house photos we used for the MLS listing (for those of you who haven't seen where we've been living for the past 4.5 years).

Front door: ours is the unit on the left.

Back door

Pretty and green in the summer

Our postage stamp-sized back yard and flowerbeds in early summer

Nursery #1

Nursery #2

Living room #1: The fireplace is one of my favorite things we did with this place. I have even considered recreating it in a future abode.

Living room #2

Upstairs bath

Master bedroom

Downstairs bath

Kitchen #1

Kitchen #2


  1. Congrats! Gotta love when the timing isn't what we think it should be :) I'm glad it's finally working out. Have you found a bigger place to buy/rent?

  2. so cool! do y'all also have to find a house to buy before closing? or do you already know where you're moving?

  3. We are looking to buy a new place, but we have a temporary place to stay, so that gives us some time. More to come soon on the house search. :)

  4. Congratulations! Dad was right, this was definitely the timing God had for you. Enjoy the home searching stage - I always loved that part! Are you hoping to stay in Briargate?

  5. Yes, hoping to stay in Briargate. Or D-20, rather.