Tuesday, June 16, 2009
Update (6/17): The prospective buyer's deal fell through today (apparently, the seller decided they didn't want to move after all). Buyer and her parents are coming back tomorrow to give our house a fresh look. Wish us luck!
I've tried to keep my personal trials and tribulations on selling a house in this market off this blog -- in part because it's a bit depressing (and I aim to entertain) and in part because I'm frustrated beyond words. But today I feel compelled to break my silence; if only in the hope that getting it off my chest will make me feel better.
Today we received word that the radiologist who looked at our house on Saturday (and again yesterday) decided to go with another (more expensive) home in our neighborhood. The buyer's realtor assured us that we were "the second choice" and, should things fall through, that they'll be back. Well, I'm not going to hold my breath. This is the third time that our house has placed second in the minds of prospective buyers -- and I'm completely sick of hearing that. Telling me that just makes it that much harder because of the unshakable feeling that I came this close to getting an offer -- and making the sale. Suddenly, I find myself obsessing over figuring out which home they went for instead of mine...and then why.
The truth is, "why?" is a difficult puzzle to solve. In my day job, I negotiate contracts for the purchase and sale of energy commodities on a daily basis. These sales are logical and transparent, in part because these goods are completely fungible (after all, an electron is an electron) and the buyers and sellers are experienced and sophisticated counterparties. But in real estate, while you can attempt to quantify a house in terms of location, square footage and the number of bedrooms and bathrooms, there's a huge qualitative factor that makes setting a market price -- or explaining why one house sold faster than another -- much more difficult. To make matters worse, buyers and sellers are rarely experienced and sophisticated parties. People tend to price a house or buy a house more emotionally than rationally. Sure, I can chalk up this second place finish to just personal taste (which there is no accounting for), but for someone who is used to logical market behavior, the real estate market is incredibly mysterious -- and frustrating.
In my less hysterical moments, I know that we will eventually sell our current house. After all, we've already received an offer on it (albeit one we chose not to take) and we're still getting plenty of traffic. Yet I find myself increasingly jaded and far less hopefully than I was earlier this spring when we first put the house up for sale. In conversation with friends and family, I've often compared selling a house to dating and I believe the metaphor is still apt. Now I remember exactly why I was completely sick of dating by the time I met my husband. It's exhausting.
P.S. - While I would welcome reassurance, please don't tell me that I'm sure to sell soon or how great my house is, etc. It's rather like the long-suffering single bridesmaid being told by all her married girlfriends that "you're next!" or "the right guy just hasn't come along yet!"