Home on the Market? Patience is The Key!

As someone whose home has been on the market since the beginning of the year, I feel like I’ve been through a goodly share of the trials and tribulations that a home seller should be prepared to deal with when trying to sell their home in this lousy economy and slumping real estate market.

Granted, the real estate market is doing better in some areas, but where I live we are experiencing a pretty dismal scenario. If you’re one of those lucky home sellers who put their home on the market and sold it in a month, congratulations, but I’m not going to pretend I don’t hate you. Naturally, I’m kidding, but for people like myself and my family who are very anxious to sell our home and start a new life elsewhere, it can be very frustrating and even depressing when you end up feeling like a prisoner in a home you no longer want to live in.

There’s nothing wrong with our home or our property that has influenced us to leave. Call it a mid-life crisis if you want, but both myself, my wife and even my kids to some extent, feel like we are in a rut. Sure, that might sound pretty normal for a lot of people, but believe me, this is a rut that’s deep enough to mire down the biggest, baddest monster truck ever built. We need change and we need it bad.

There’s the all-too-familiar factor that we live in a pretty big house that we no longer feel the need to have since our kids are grown and will be striking out on their own soon. That, however, is not the primary reason our home is for sale. After 50-plus years of living in one area of the country, we feel like we’ve seen it all and we need to move on to a new place. We endure pretty harsh winters here and we’ve been complaining about that for many years. God bless all of you who love the cold and snow and just can’t wait to hit the ski slopes or fire up the snowmobile, but we’ve had our fill.

Anyway, perhaps it’s time I stop complaining about our situation and get back to the point of this post.

If you’re in a slow real estate market like ours and are trying to sell your house, prepare to be in this for the long haul. You’d also be wise to prepare yourself for the roller coaster ride that you may have to endure with potential buyers who seem very interested in your home and then decide – for whatever reason – that they don’t want to buy it after all.

We had what we thought was the perfect buyer lined up a little over a month ago. He was a single fellow with a good career and obviously a good salary to match. He seemed like a real nice guy and I got along with him very well from the moment I met him. I ended up meeting him because he had been shown our house by a real estate agent and was very interested. Since we have a rather large piece of property here, he was interested in taking a tour of the property to see exactly what was included. I was asked if it would be OK if he came out to walk around the property and get a feel for it. Naturally I agreed.

I spent at least a couple of hours with this guy showing him every property line and every notable feature of our property. After out excursion, he went as far as floating the idea of an offer to me which I told him would be quite reasonable. I must admit, at that point, I thought we had found our buyer. He asked if it would be OK to come back with a friend of his who supposedly had some knowledge of construction and could take a look at the house. Naturally, I agreed to that as well.

The guy was back the very next morning with his friend and they spent at least a half-hour looking both in and outside the house. If this didn’t look like an anxious buyer, I don’t know who does!

At this point, our potential buyer decided it was time to pull a disappearing act. After telling me he was going to “think about it,” when he left my house with his supposedly-knowledgeable buddy, I rather expected we would hear whether or not he planned to make an offer on our house or not within a few days. Instead, he decided to vanish.

When our real estate agent was finally able to get a response from his agent, we were told this potential buyer was still thinking about it but was unhappy about a few details regarding the house and property. What was strange was that I had discussed those very concerns directly with this potential buyer and we had worked them out. In fact, those very concerns were put to rest as part of the potential offer he floated to me when he had visited to tour the property, so his real estate agent was either misinformed or was a liar.

I honestly do not know whether he simply decided not to buy our home or whether he was expecting us to contact him through his agent and make him a lower-priced offer. If that’s the case, he’s going to have a very long wait. As anxious we are to sell our home, we’re not facing foreclosure or even having problems making our mortgage payments. The compelling reasons for our desire to leave are all emotional and not financial. Although we don’t look forward to spending another year (or whatever) here, we’re also not going to be taken in by some buyer who thinks he’s slick enough to talk us into accepting a low-ball offer. Sorry pal, you’ll just have to keep looking for that perfect new home you desire. We can wait it out.

Currently we have three potential buyers that may be interested in buying our home so all hope is not yet lost. To be honest however, seeing that other potential buyer just disappear was a huge disappointment. Thinking that we were so close to selling our home and then having nothing happen was very disheartening and really changed the way I think about buyers and how I will interact with them in the future. Although I have no plans to become an uncooperative seller, I can tell you this: I’m much less inclined to put myself out for a potential buyer. I went the extra mile for the guy that we thought we would be selling our house to and it was all for nothing. I don’t completely dismiss the idea that this guy could show up again since that kind of thing happens in real estate, but it will be hard to give him a reception that was as warm as the one he experienced in the past.

Here’s the deal: If the “right” buyer comes to your home, they’re going to make an offer. In fact, when we bought this house, the sellers had it listed on the market for over a year and were understandably frustrated with people traipsing through their home and around their property and not buying their home. When we were shown the home, the sellers didn’t even leave the house as is the custom. In fact, the husband actually seemed a bit like a grumpy old man and we didn’t feel particularly welcome while we toured the house with their real estate agent. But we didn’t care! We loved the house and the property so much at the time that we just had to have the house and we had written up an offer within 24 hours! We didn’t care about the grumpy seller – we just wanted this house!

I’m not saying that sellers should act unfriendly, grumpy or uncooperative when potential buyers come to your home – not at all! I still advocate treating people very well and being as nice as possible. However, when it comes to going “the extra mile,” like taking up two hours of my day leading a guided tour of my property, I’m probably going to be more likely to hand potential buyers a plot plan and tell them to walk around and explore as much as they like. When the “right” buyers come along, things will happen. Why waste time catering to potential buyers who end up deciding not to buy your home or simply disappear without giving you an answer one way or another?

I’m not ready to give up one being nice, but at this point I feel like I’m done being a sucker. So be it.

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