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Discouraged (real estate & other issues)

July 11th, 2015 at 04:03 am

So my mother's condo has been on the market for about 7 weeks now.

There has been some traffic and a lot of lookers are saying they don't like the set-up with the finished basement, which requires use of a staircase for access to it that is shared (just the staircase) with one other, adjacent property owner. So whenever you leave that lower level room, you'd always have to lock up.

People have also commented that they prefer wood or laminate floors to the wall to wall I just put down, but I mean, at this price point, beggars can't be choosers. The condo was listed at $158K with me chipping in $3K toward the buyer's closing costs. It's hard for me to believe that a 2 bedrm, 1.5 bath condo in Fairfield County, Connecticut could be had for so little money. This is a pretty expensive area to live in.

Unfortunately, I agreed yesterday at my realtor's recommendation to lower my asking price by $5,000. Because another unit in the complex was just listed for barely $2,000 more and it has a new kitchen, hardwood floors and a garage instead of the finished lower level. Most people seem to prefer the garage. (Clearing snow off a car all winter gets old fast.)

So my realtor said we should do whatever we can to set my unit apart from that one, price-wise, and to try to get mine sold first, cus otherwise, the sale of the other one would be used as a comparable against mine, and it might make mine look overpriced and force me to drop my price further.

I'm not happy about dropping my price by $5K, but the place needs to be sold, and the stress from having it hanging over my head is not something I want to have over the winter. My carrying costs are about $500 a month. That includes property taxes (discounted becus my mother was eligible as a low income senior but she would have to reapply next year and I'm guessing she would be ineligible becus she was no longer residing at this address), electric (which is $40 a month cus nothing but stove and hot water heater are running, tho this would rise even with minimal heat in the winter) and HOA fees, which are $363 a month.

I really wouldn't care so much about the price if, say, my mother had passed and the money from condo sale was just my and my sister's inheritance. But in this case, my mother's assisted living is running $69,000 a year (and will rise when her condition significantly deteriorates). I won't get much for the condo at this rate, given the already 1 price reduction, realtor's commission (which drops to 5% if they don't sell it in I think we said 2 months) and oh, i just learned of the $1200 or so conveyance fee, which state of CT collects from sellers, just becus it can.

So the net proceeds from condo sale would barely pay for 2 years at her assisted living place.

This weekend there is a weavers conference in Northampton, Mass, and I was able to get the woman I've been dealing with who manages the website for the CT weavers group to post a flyer I created at the conference inviting weavers to stop by my home to buy some cheap yarn on their way home from the conference. Northampton is a few hours away from here but this is a regional conference.

I learned about this conference very last minute from another weaver who stopped by here and so I don't think the webmaster would have received the flyer I mailed until yesterday. (Yeah, she could have just printed it out herself from an emailed copy from me, but she didn't suggest that and since she was doing me a favor, I didn't ask.) So hopefully she will look at her mail and post it today so I get some weavers calling me. I said "By appt only" so I don't have people popping in at all hours. I am hoping I will get at least a few tomorrow afternoon.

The liquidator for the art said he wanted to meet to discuss a few marketing ideas he had, but he failed to follow up after I told him I was working from home yesterday. I'm not sure I can count on him for anything, so at the same time I've been talking to another gallery person who was very interested in showing my mother's art.

On top of all this, my mother still leaves me phone messages saying she misses me terribly and she hasn't seen me in ages, even though I've seen her every weekend for the past year. As usual, stretched too thin, and the issues with selling this condo are also a worry hanging over my head.

I have to accept the fact that I can only do so much and that the condo will sell at what the condo will sell for. It would be better to sell it now at a lower price than refuse to negotiate or lower it further and then be stuck with it, and its monthly carrying costs, through this coming winter and into next spring.

I have to accept the fact that if my mother is still alive when she runs out of money at assisted living in about 4 years tops, I will have to put her in a nursing home. I have to accept that I cannot make everyone's lives perfect, even for those I love. I have to not allow guilt to goad me into stressing and worrying more about all the what ifs.

11 Responses to “Discouraged (real estate & other issues)”

  1. Ima saver Says:

    I am sorry you are having to go thru all this stress.

  2. Joan.of.the.Arch Says:

    I think you're absolutely right to lower the condo price to get it sold before the other one. And to get it done so that it is an anchor tied to your waist longer than necessary. Frown
    That's a smart idea to offer the yarn for sale to the weavers.

  3. Carol Says:

    Your condo is a steal in Fairfield County. Hope someone recognizes that ASAP! Hang in there!

  4. AnotherReader Says:

    The adjustment for no garage and a shared staircase to what is likely considered a storage area by most buyers is probably at least $5,000. Does your agent have any information about what the increment of value is for a garage in the condos in that area?

    If no buyers step up in the next couple of weeks, I would consider another price reduction to get this unit sold. Your market is very seasonal and you are nearing the end of the selling season. The real estate market could shift significantly between now and next spring, and in your shoes, I would want the unit sold in today's hot market.

  5. FrugalTexan75 Says:

    {{{hugs}}} I'm sorry you're going through this. I hope a buyer comes through very soon.

  6. creditcardfree Says:

    I hope the price reduction makes a difference for you. I wonder if lowering under $150k, but not including closing costs would open you up to another set of buyers, those not wanting to spend more than $150K for example.

    I had to remind myself several times about the cost of holding on to our property when we were selling. It is always more expensive to hold on to it then to sell at a reduced price.

  7. AnotherReader Says:

    Agree with CCF on this one. Buyers' agents search the MLS by price and the property type and features. $150k is an important price divide. At $149.9k, your listing will show up in a lot more searches. In your shoes, I would consider dropping the price to that level and not offering closing costs if the current price does not bring buyers in the door within a couple of weeks.

  8. CB in the City Says:

    Aw, gee, so sorry you are going through this.

  9. Jenn Says:

    I was just talking to my husband about you (though I don't really know you!) during a long car ride today. Your mother is fortunate to have someone as trustworthy as you are to manage her finances. Your motives are in the right place and your decisions are sound. Every decision has some risk and it's impossible to know the future. I'm glad you're reminding yourself not to feel guilty because you can't control the outcomes.

  10. AnotherReader Says:

    After giving this some thought, it seemed very odd to me that a property like yours has been on the market for seven weeks at this price with so little activity. I took the information you provided and looked up the listing on Realtor.com and Zillow.

    In California or Arizona, Realtor.com picks up the listing within a couple of hours after it is input into the MLS, as does Zillow IF the listing is released to Zillow (broker option). I do not know what the MLS policy is in Connecticut, but the listing was listed on Realtor.com 22 days ago, or three weeks. Zillow shows a listing date of 21 days ago. It's possible the agent put the listing on the MLS but did not release it for syndication until it had been on the market for a month, based on her broker's policy or her approach to marketing.

    Given the use of Zillow and Realtor.com as search engines for buyers, that does not make sense to me. I would certainly consider asking the agent why the placement on the portals was delayed the next time you talk to her. I would be very concerned if the property was not placed on the MLS at all until then.

    Given that the unit has likely only been broadly exposed to buyers for three weeks, I would not be as discouraged by the lack of response. I did notice the pictures were a little dark and some things were difficult to see. The cloudy weather was probably a factor there. Some brighter pictures might help buyers visualize the features of the unit. It might be helpful to you to look at the listing as it appears an Realtor.com and Zillow to see the condo as potential buyers see it.

    Given the condition the unit was in when you started the cleaning and purging, you have done an amazing job of preparing the unit for sale. It looks almost new. The carpet was an excellent choice - light and neutral. In your shoes, I would keep closer tabs on the showings and the marketing efforts made by your agent so you can more effectively judge what to do if you don't get an acceptable offer soon.

    Fingers crossed you sell soon and for the price you want.

  11. bluesfemme Says:

    You have done an amazing job patientsaver. I know how tough and draining it is, after doing it for my mum many moons ago. You have done all you can as you can't set the market.

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