Living Outside The Lines: “When The Sign Says Sold”

When we initially moved, there were maybe two homes in the area for sale. By the time the “For Sale” sign hit the front yard, there were a dozen.

Becky J Miller | Exclusive to Corridor News

What exactly is the American dream? Research on the topic provides a myriad of definitions, offering only one conclusion; the meaning is different for each of us.

The root of the American dream is based in part on a stanza from the Declaration of Independence, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.” 

Throughout history, each generation has forged its own interpretation with the pendulum swinging from materialism, to women’s suffrage, land ownership, civil rights, protection from discrimination, educational opportunities, home ownership, health care, sustainable retirement, and so on. 

Wanting to create a better tomorrow for my children while creating a sense of stability for them, home ownership and upward mobility were the pieces of American Dream that always resonated with me. In 2008, my husband and I purchased our first home. Our children were 17, 14 & 12 at the time. I don’t think any of us expected it to be our forever home. It was an abode that met the needs of our growing family.

At a time when the housing market had slowed considerably, I desired more than anything, a brand new home. New home construction in San Marcos was basically non-existent, with probably less than a half a dozen new homes in our price range. The one we bought was actually a custom built home for a potential buyer who lost funding.

Choosing to sell our home was a tough, and necessary decision. Time does dull uncomfortable memories, so while I recall doing some hoop jumping to buy the house, selling it seemed so much worse. We vacated in February 2017, but spent another three months getting completely moved out & ready to sell. When we initially moved, there were maybe two homes in the area for sale. By the time the “For Sale” sign hit the front yard, there were a dozen.

We learned a lot during the transition. The most important lesson? Just because your home is appraised/valued at a certain amount, the numbers on comparable homes may be skewed not in your favor. Smaller, older houses in our subdivision sold for much less than our asking amount, which directly impacted the perceived value on ours.

Lesson two, even when you’ve dropped the price to remain competitive, potential buyers try to negotiate for a lower cost, and unnecessary upgrades along with who knows what else. And, the Texas laws seem to swing much more in favor of the buyer. Depending on the buyer’s loan type, the seller may have no choice on whether they want to pay closing costs. 

The earnest money buyers put up to hold a home does not benefit the seller, it goes back to the buyer. Sellers are forced into accepting an unreasonably low amount of money for a ridiculous amount of option days in which the buyer may back out of the deal. And, if the buyer’s realtor mistypes the option contract in their favor, the seller is free to force a correction, but ultimately, it will delay closing.

Inspectors are not the seller’s friends; they will find preposterous cosmetic issues that will cause unnecessary outflows of cash. Homeowners associations also favor the buyer. It is possible to get an email from the title company giving less than 24 hours to pay ludicrous sums of money to transfer the HOA to the new buyer. How the HOA transfer becomes the seller’s problem is beyond me?? Be advised though, not paying will find the seller in breach of contract, not a place anyone wants to visit. 

While securing the right buyer may take forever, six months in our case, once the ball begins rolling, it picks up speed quickly, at such an accelerated rate that the seller may find him or herself fervently praying at the end. The addition of a closing date near the Christmas holidays, and a realtor on holiday vacation only increases desperation. Oh, and if the homeowner lives two hours away, #moreissues.

Imagine the home inspector finds plumbing and roofing issues that must be addressed prior to closing. #ohdear A great realtor knows people in the business who can help, like ours did. Although, the best laid plans…

The plumber can get the job done, but won’t agree to wait until closing for payment. Plumber shows up, plumber does work, plumber sends an invoice, seller pays invoice, seller gets text on the Saturday before Monday closing, buyer’s agent stopped by and the toilet plumber “fixed” flooded the bathroom and ruined the sheetrock downstairs. #timetopanic

On a Saturday evening at 7PM, there is not much one can do in this circumstance but pray that closing will not be delayed. One can call the plumber, but chances are they won’t respond. One can also rely on the fabulous realtor, Monica McNabb of McNabb & Company Real Estate to know a sheet rock guy who DOES answer his phone on weekends.

Kudos to Domingo Perez for not only answering the phone on Saturday night, but showing up on a Sunday to look at the damages and provide an estimate, then rearranging his schedule to start the repairs first thing Monday morning!!

Hallelujah, despite all that drama we made it to closing!! Sleeping on an air mattress, in our empty house as memories of happy times bounced off the naked walls, in rooms devoid of furniture was tough, but a chapter is closed which means we get to start a new one.

No more are we carrying the mortgage, insurance, HOA dues, property taxes and utility costs, or worrying about lawn upkeep on a vacant home. The sign says, “SOLD,” and despite the difficult road we took to arrive at this destination, it is something I can totally live with!

Until Next Time,
Becky J. Miller
“Warrior Princess”


Becky J Miller is a contributor and is exclusive to SM Corridor News. You can read more of Becky’s columns in Lifestyle.


 

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