Once More With Feeling
Here We Go Again

July 20, 1999

For the last year we have been land barons. Either that or slumlords. I guess it's a matter of perspective.

About a year and a half ago Chuck and I left the land of denial and agreed that we'd grown out of our house. We'd sort of agreed earlier but there was that money thing. We needed some to buy a new house. We didn't have what we needed, then we did.

We started looking. We got ourselves an agent.

There are lots of ways to go about getting an agent, and the method that we chose, or more correctly chose us, is the wrong way.

This schlub was going door to door passing out fliers for a listing he had in the area. He knocked. Chuck answered the door. Before we knew it we had an agent. He was a schlub from the get-go. But he was persistent.

Unlike the first time we bought a house which went something like this: Beth looked at 200 houses (at least). She would find something she liked. Chuck and Beth's dad went with her and told her all the things that were wrong with the house. Beth looked at more houses. Again, Chuck and Beth's dad talked her out of the house. Finally, Beth found the house she had to have. Chuck and Beth's dad didn't have any serious objections to the house. Since Chuck and I weren't married, or even engaged, and I was buying the house myself, Chuck's input was important but I was making the decision. OK, Beth bought a house.

It's different when you're married. You both have to like the house. It's like decorating. You both have to like the wallpaper with the little flowers on it, not just one of you, or it doesn't go up. It's the compromise thing.

Anyway, schlub-boy was telling us about houses. We'd go to an open house, or drive by a house and let him know if we wanted to see it.

One day he called and said he had the perfect house for us. It was a Wednesday. We were at the house 10 minutes later. By that Friday we were in escrow. Then 30 days later we moved into our new home.

This part was great, but we still had the other house. We had decided to wait until after we moved out to sell since we thought it would show better without all the clutter and detritus of a family with a toddler crammed into too few square feet.

Again, we needed to find an agent. I have read all the articles and know how you should do it. That is not how we did it. We took the path of least resistance and let schlub-boy list the house. He had an exclusive for 60 days.

Long about day 55 he brings us an offer. He and the buyer's agent are going to be meeting with us at our home in the evening. Schlub-boy shows up about 10 minutes before the other agent and proceeds to tell us he doesn't really like this woman.

Well, we'd had absolutely no interest in the house in the entire time it was listed and we were paying two mortgages. Things were getting tight. We took the offer.

It was a nightmare I don't care to recount here. For the gory details you can look here, here, or here. Suffice it to say things were bad. Really freakin' horrible. And it was almost the end of our marriage.

Long story short, the house falls out of escrow and we're still stuck with two houses.

Then in November we rented the house. This arrangement worked out perfectly for both parties: us because we were at least getting some cash flow back in instead of the continual sucking vortex of cash that the house had become, and the tenant, as they needed short-term accommodations in the LA area.

The house was rented with the understanding that we'd be putting it back on the market this summer. Back to the beautiful shores of denial I go until about May. I really needed to do something about getting the house on the market.

This time we were going to do it right. We interviewed a few agents and all we had to do was make a decision. One of the agents we interviewed was a guy who'd been calling me for a year asking when I was going to list the house. He was nothing if not persistent.

We ended up giving the guy the listing. Last Monday night. His sign was up by Tuesday. He had a broker's open for last Friday. He called me yesterday. He had an offer on the house and another on the way.

Then he called me today. He had another offer on the house.

He came by this evening. He only presented two of the three offers because one was written contingent on actually seeing the house. These people drove by, liked what they saw but hadn't even been in the house yet, but wrote an offer. They can't make it until next Saturday.

In this market you make time. I've heard of houses being on the market for three hours and getting sold.

The offers were OK. We listed the house for $10,000 less than last time but I guess it's priced right.

We'll know by Thursday morning if either of the parties who made offers will accept our counter.

Hopefully everything will go the way it's supposed to this time.

Until next time. . .