So… we got an offer on our house!
(I’ll pause while Sherry flails around since that sentence is a trigger).
And now that we’re through the inspection & the appraisal (and the closing date is officially on the calendar), we’re finally at the point that we feel safe enough to shout it to the interwebs (we waited until this point to share the “we sold our house” news last time too). Of course nothing’s guaranteed until we’re all signing on the dotted line in early June, but so far, so good…
First, some background: Sherry was set on selling our house FSBO (For Sale By Owner) again. She argued that we stood to save nearly ten grand – or even more – by not owing a Realtor the 6% commission. Even if we sold to a buyer with an agent (like we did last time) we’d only be out 3% instead of 6%… so the numbers were pretty compelling. But I still wasn’t so sure. I remembered the stress that we felt last time and was also curious to experience selling with an agent. We came to a compromise. We decided we’d try straight up FSBO for a week. If that didn’t work, we’d list it on MLS for a few hundred bucks ourselves (which is what got us a buyer last time) and if there still weren’t offers a few weeks later, we’d think about engaging a Realtor.
Now for the timeline details:
Friday, April 26: The Realtor who helped us buy our new house (Anne) checks in to see if our current house is on the market yet (she knew we were hoping to sell it sometime this spring). Turns out she has some buyers looking for a ranch and she thinks ours would be perfect. We tell her that we’ll be sharing the news/putting it on the market in four days. She says she’ll call us back if they want to see it then. This is a reenactment. And it makes Sherry cry laugh.
Saturday & Sunday, April 27 & 28: We spend the weekend furiously getting last minute projects done, on the off chance that we get any quick interest (we’ll write up a whole post about what we did to “stage” our house for a showing soon).
Now here’s where the days become a bit more action-packed…
Monday, April 29
- 2 pm: Anne the Realtor calls. Her buyers are very excited about seeing our house. She wants to bring them by the next day at 2pm. Yikes!
- 2:30 pm: Come down from the high of our first scheduled showing to realize we haven’t made a flyer or decided on a sale price. Uhh…. better get on that.
- 3 pm: Begin frantically cleaning the house. Since when did Clara have so many toys? And where would we be without storage ottomans?
- 9:30 pm: After some scrambling and looking at comparable homes for sale, we pick a list price and throw together a flyer.
- 12:30 am: Computer freezes while attempting to print flyer. File is lost. Too tired to recreate.
Tuesday, April 30
- 7 am: Up early-ish to recreate flyer and proofread our post with the new house news.
- 9 am: Flyer is printed. House still doesn’t look clean enough. More cleaning commences.
- 10 am: Post is up and comments are rolling in faster than we can keep up with them, but the caulk around the tub is too grimy. Where’s the caulk gun?
- 1:30 pm: House is looking presentable, but we’re a sweaty mess. Good thing Anne the Realtor will be doing the showing.
- 1:45 pm: Anne arrives early (as planned) for us to show her some of the improvements since she last visited.
- 1:55 pm: Buyers are early (not as planned) so we high-tail it out of there so they can look around without us hovering.
- 2 pm: Since we have Burger with us as well as Clara, we kill time at a nearby dog-friendly walking mall. We have some fun browsing places like Banana Republic (where Clara and Burger try out the three way mirror) and Build-A-Bear (without actually building a bear, which is a parental coup if we’ve ever had one).
- 3 pm: It’s a full hour later – and Clara’s naptime – but we haven’t received a call from Anne that we’re clear to come home. We try giving her a ring but our call goes to voicemail.
- 3:15 pm: Clara’s late for her nap and she’s getting tired of being at the mall. We assume Anne forgot to call us and drive home.
- 3:30 pm: We turn onto our street to see Anne and the buyers just getting into their cars. Wow. An hour and a half at a first showing seems pretty good. Maybe they liked it!
- 3:31 pm: Anne calls to say they really liked it and they were going to sleep on it, crunch some numbers, and get back to us.
- 4 pm: We’re excited and relieved, but have tons of comments to catch up on. Plus, we’ve had a few other house-interest emails from locals. We’re a pretty even mix of grateful, tired, and nervous.
- 8pm: We’ve sent out a few other flyers via email and have scheduled another showing for 11am the next morning. How did this house get so messy already? Oh yeah, our three year old…
- Midnight: House is reasonably clean again. We crash for the day.
Wednesday, May 1
- 5 am: Sherry can’t sleep thinking about all of the new house projects and potential buyer excitement. She begins drafting a Q&A post for you guys.
- 5:30am: I get up to go to the gym before the girls wake up. Clearly I missed Sherry rolling out of bed already.
- 7:30am: I’m back. Clara’s up. Time to get her fed and ready to go on an adventure with Grammy.
- 10am: Post is up. Clara’s with Grammy. Counters need wiping down post-breakfast. House is ready for its second showing.
- 11am: Potential buyers show up with their agent. Sherry, Burger, and I go for a walk (pretend this is a picture of Sherry, me, and Burger instead of a shot with Clara and no Sherry).
- 11:30am: Get a call from someone that we sent a flyer to last night while we’re out on our walk. They want to come see the house that afternoon. Woo hoo!
- Noon: Second showing is done. Agent says they liked it a lot, and have to talk to their lender with some questions. I let the agent know there’s another interested buyer but that no offers have come in yet.
- 2:30pm: Clara is back from Grammy’s and the third potential buyers show up. They don’t have an agent, so I show them around the house while the girls go walking with Burger. Sherry’s getting lots of exercise today!
- 3pm: Third showing is done. They seem to like it, but don’t appear as interested as the other two families.
- 3:30pm: Anne the Realtor calls. She’s sending us an offer from the first couple who walked through our house yesterday. It’s strong, but $5k below our asking price. “Thanks so much! We’ll get back to you soon!” is our response (while we sweat profusely).
- 4pm: We think things through and discuss everything a few dozen times. I call the buyer’s agent from the morning showing just to let him know that we have an offer on the table. He asks me to hold tight, they’ll have one for us within a few hours. Whaaa?!!!
- 7pm: Second offer comes in. It’s not as strong as the first. Bummer, but at least it helps make the decision clear. We call Anne back, tell her we have another offer, and ask if we can meet in the middle on the price ($3k above their offer, which is just $2k below our asking price).
- 7:15pm: Anne calls to say that the buyers have agreed to the new price and she’ll be bringing over papers for us to sign in an hour!
- 8:30pm: We sign about twenty papers with our minds spinning. Our house is officially under contract! And it’s less than 36 hours after our first showing. In our heads we’re doing a celebratory Elaine-from-Seinfeld dance, but in reality we’re too tired to move.
Now we just have a bunch of little things to check off of our list (a few inspection items, ordering a final termite inspection, and of course packing things up and getting moved into the new house). Should be a busy month!
I can’t tell you how grateful and relieved we are at how quickly and smoothly this second FSBO process has been so far (just like last time we’ll pay 3% to the buyer’s agent, but we saved nearly 10K by marketing the house ourselves and acting as our own seller’s agent). We hear the market is really coming back and it’s a great time to sell, so for anyone wondering, many other homes in our area seem to be getting contracts within a week or even a few days of listing them assuming they’re priced right and show nicely. So hopefully that’s good news for everyone!
We assumed we might end up selling our house to a reader who came to us through the blog, but hilariously enough, just like when we sold our first house, our buyer isn’t a blog reader and didn’t find out about our house because of our site at all. It was just coincidence (serendipity?) that we kept our Realtor in the loop and she happened to have a buyer looking for an updated one-level ranch like ours. So it might also be nice to hear that you definitely don’t need a blog to sell your house, although I’m sure the updates that we did certainly helped us sell it.
So far this experience feels like a stark contrast to our first time selling a home back in 2010. That took us 14 showings over more than 3 weeks, and a variety of promotional attempts (craigslist, forsalebyowner.com, MLS, a sign out front, etc). It was stressful, but even then we were grateful that it didn’t drag on for months. So we certainly are counting our lucky stars for the speed at which things happened with this house! As of right now we’re planning to move to our new house in around three weeks. Holy cow, we better start packing!
As much as we love a white kitchen, there are so many other fun options out there, like my sister’s wood cabinets + white appliances combo and “tuxedo” kitchens (a combo of dark and light cabinets). So when Rita’s makeover landed in our inbox, we couldn’t believe how much she changed her space for the better, and especially liked her two-tone cabinets. Here’s her letter:
Hi Sherry and John, We recently finished renovating our kitchen. The challenge was creating a kosher kitchen (two sinks and separate spaces for meat and dairy) while keeping it looking clean and uncluttered and keeping the cost down. The original kitchen was beige-on-beige laminate with very little counter space.
The only thing that wasn’t torn out was the window above the sink! The wall between the dining room and kitchen was removed, the dinette area was deleted, and that’s where the breakfast bar now sits. The large picture window was made shorter to accommodate the long counter with a second sink.
This kitchen is all about contrasts… white upper cabinets and dark gray bottom cabinets, a rough reclaimed wood dining table and shimmery capiz lighting fixture, sleek white counter tops and a dark limestone tile backsplash.
The cabinets are shaker style Diamond cabinets from Lowe’s (I’m thrilled with the quality). The brass pulls are Martha Stewart for Home Depot and the counters are quartz. Light fixtures over the breakfast bar and sink are from Schoolhouse Electric. The natural light that pours into the kitchen most of the day is awesome although I still need window treatments–I’m thinking of roman shades.
The new pantry sits where the original refrigerator used to be.
There are also two “sides” flanking the stove–one for meat the other side for dairy.
Here’s one of my favorite things–I found the idea on Pinterest.
It was totally worth the months of plaster dust and living with no sink or stove for a while. Our new kitchen is not only beautiful but a pleasure to cook in and I feel blessed to be able to work in it everyday. Thank you, Rita
No, thank YOU Rita! Because in addition to that awesome cabinet color combo, you have actually made me – a dude who likes power washing – appreciate gold hardware. And Sherry’s pretty much in love with everything, but the gold fixture over the sink (speaking of which, you can read all of the full sources on her blog) did her in. Thanks again for sharing your kitchen! What do you guys think? Got a favorite part? Who’s digging the secret TV?
***This giveaway is no longer accepting entries – see who won below!***
And this week’s lucky winner is Amy (who says she has an “unhealthy addiction to my iPhone, between email, Facebook, Pinterest etc. but I put it away for family time.”) Congrats!
Whether it’s googling around for a tutorial, answering comments on the go, or making a list of project materials on our phone, gadgets have definitely wormed their way into our DIY routine. So we thought one of you might enjoy being hooked up with over $700 worth of Microsoft’s newest Windows devices – a Surface RT and a Windows Phone. The Surface is like a tablet, laptop, and e-reader in one – and has fun features like a kickstand for watching movies and a spill-proof keyboard for, well, when your toddler watches movies. And the Windows Phone is equally kid-friendly since it allows you create a dedicated “Kid’s Corner” so they can play without accidentally deleting all of your emails.
- PRIZE: A Microsoft Surface RT with Touch Cover and a Windows Phone (a Nokia Lumia 920 for AT&T customers, a Windows Phone 8X by HTC for others)
- TO ENTER: Comment on this post with the words “WINDOWS ME” and tell us…
- BONUS QUESTION: … what’s the most invaluable thing that your computer, tablet, or phone does for you? Is it the ability to check your email on the go? Do you love packing your tablet or e-reader on vacation instead of lugging a stack of books? Or would you be lost without access to Facebook?
- NUMBER OF WINNERS: One
- PRIZE SHIPS: We always beg every vendor to ship internationally but some companies are not legally able to vend things beyond specific areas (more on that here). This giveaway is open to the United States.
- GIVEAWAY CLOSES: Wednesday, May 8th or at 10,000 entries (whichever comes first)
- USUAL STUFF: One entry per e-mail address is permitted. The winners will be selected using random.org and announced on Thursday as an update to this post. That’s right, come right back here on Thursday for the announcement of our winners. Good luck…
- ***COMMENT ISSUES? If you’re trying to enter but keep getting a “duplicate comment” warning, click here to see how to solve it!