The Real Estate Roller Coaster

After we got engaged The Mrs. talked me into moving into her house. It's a little smaller than the bachelor pad, but it's a real house so we don't have to share any walls and there's a yard with a fence for the dog to frolic in. So, with a heavy heart, I put the bachelor pad in Antioch up for sale. (Honey, if you're reading this, the 'heavy heart' part was just for dramatic effect.)

The little condo community the bachelor pad is in has 96 units and 'For Sale' signs have been the landscaping of choice since I started paying attention. There have been at least 12 units for sale constantly for the last six months. By the time we listed mine in early April there were 14 already on the market. Since there was so much competition I was having visions of the place sitting empty for six months or more. And thus our real estate roller coaster starts out at the bottom.

So as I was picking my seller's agent I had worris of paying two mortgages for an extended period. The realtor I decided to hire is actually a neighbor. She lives about 200 yards down from the bachelor pad. I thought it would be handy to have her close by since no one would be living in the bachelor pad anymore. While we were signing the paperwork I found out she had never listed a property before, all her experience was as a buyer's agent. That made me seriously reconsider the whole thing. But in the end I figured she'd work extra hard to prove herself to the boss since it's her first sale, and it helped that she lived right next door.

Turns out the gamble paid off. Youthful exuberance won out and we got an offer exactly 30 days after we listed the bachelor pad. After a little negotiation we agreed to a price that was a little above what I paid for it last May. The Mrs. and I were both very excited since we had so many better things to do with the money going to pay for that mortgage. This is when our real estate roller coaster hit the top of the first hill.

So the closing date is agreed on and all is good. I'm already imagining the new computer and power tools I'll be getting with June's mortgage payment when I get a phone call from my realtor. The buyer is just out of college and needs to borrow 100% so there are finance issues. So we're 7 days from closing and the real estate roller coaster is back at the bottom.

I stressed over this for almost a week waiting to see if the deal would go through. Finally, the day before we're planning to close my realtor calls me. Financing is secured and we're a go for closing the next day. So the roller coaster is back at the top of the next hill, except I have 24 hours to get all my stuff out of the bachelor pad. Everything after that is a blur. It's a week day so all my friends have to work and can't help me move. I spent the next 24 hours moving all my stuff and explaining to the dog why he has to sleep in the back yard.

I showed up at the closing with a frazzled brain and the last car load of my stuff. Then the roller coaster took another plunge downhill. The buyer brought a cashier check from his bank in Lexington (KY) but the banker forgot to sign it. The check won't cash, and the buyer has to go all the way back to Lexington to get another. The bank won't wire the money because they want that invalid check back first and the roller coaster is down at the bottom again.

It's just as well that the buyer had problems because I learned something else interesting. I bought the bachelor pad before I was married. My name was the only one on the deed, and the Mrs. never lived in it. So I didn't think she needed to be there for the closing. Turns out I was wrong. The lawyer told me that even though she had nothing to do with the bachelor pad it became half hers the moment the minister signed our marriage license. So we couldn't finish closing until I got her to sign the deed transfer.

All is well that ends well. We went ahead and did the paperwork, the Mrs. was summoned to sign the deed, and I let the buyer park his trailer full of furniture in the bachelor pad's garage so he could head back to get the cash. The money showed up today, and I'm currently looking at the biggest check I've ever had made out to me.

I'll just summarize the important lessons learned from this experience:

1.) Don't try and flip a house you lived in for only a year unless you did a lot of fixing. You might make a little profit on the sales, but realtors are expensive. I ended up taking a sizable loss.
2.) Enough enthusiasm and hard work can sometimes make up for inexperience. At least with realtors.
3.) Real estate is stressful. And there are lots of things to sign.
4.) Community property isn't just stuff you buy together. Once you get married, half your crap belongs to someone else whether she wants it or not.


Blogger Sarcastro said...


Where in Antioch was your condo?

3:40 PM, May 25, 2007  
Blogger W said...

Thanks. It was on Bell Road at Blue Hole Road. Up on the hill behind the Sonic.

3:49 PM, May 26, 2007  

Post a Comment

<< Home