June 4, 2011

Keeping afloat

by @ 11:15 am. Filed under movies, rants, this old house

Before I begin my rant.  I need to tell you all to go out and see Submarine.  It’s a film, not a movie.  Another great performance by Noah Taylor and a surprisingly good soundtrack.    I was a bit shocked when I found out that Alex Turner (front man for the Arctic Monkeys) was the man behind these songs.  But, I think that is the point of indie films.  Showcasing new/underused talent.  The last time I saw a film with a soundtrack so shockingly perfect was “Dan in Real Life.”

…and now for the rant portion.  Hopefully my rant is not as bad as this stuff is…

The house sale thing has been  a pain in the ass but it is a  means to an end.  It’s either sell the house, move back in, or rent it.  The latter two options will involve me having to save money only to spend it on maintenance and repairs.  I think I will pass on that.

So now it appears as if I have a buyer.  The sign in front of the house says “SOLD” and the closing date is set for August 1st.  Paperwork has been in and out of my inbox all week.  Am I excited? Not really.  When I set out this year to sell my house, prices were plummeting.  Last year it was realistic to sell the house for $150k.  This year it was $139k.  I managed to get the house on the market for the peak buying time, but only a few people actually stopped by to look at it.  The open house drew ZERO buyers and I was freaking out.  Then came the low ball offer of $125k.  I needed to sell the house for more than that to break even.  After negotiations the price was  up to $134k, the break even point (and by break even, I mean pay off what was left of my mortgage and my down payment assistance loan).

I have to say that the option period is the worse period of time ever.  The buyer pays a around $150 to debate whether they want the house over the next few weeks.  They get inspections, they continue to look at other houses, etc… The last day of the option period I get a call from my realtor,  the results of the inspection are in and they want to lower the price by $4k.  Sunday was not a good day.  I spent the afternoon digging through my finances to see if I even had that much.  I sent my realtor back with a counter of $2k.  That I could do (I had made other plans for my tax return but this was more important).  They came back with $3k and I had to take it or leave it.  If I didn’t I had no buyers lined up and I would have to disclose everything they found during the inspection.  Or the alternative, move back in or rent it and find money to pay for repairs.

After listening to the horror stories related to the housing market on NPR, I suppose that $3k isn’t that  bad.  People have lost much more.  Many people are out there drowning in housing debt because you have to be inches from foreclosure before you can qualify for government assistance.   Looking at the big picture, this investment has cost me more than $25k in maintenance and repairs over the last 9 years.

My advice to anyone pondering home ownership:


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