Archive for December, 2016

Our Summer Home Buying Experience, Part 2: Selling Our Old House

We spent our summer deep in Real estate; selling one house and buying another. It had been the culmination of more than a year’s worth of work, preparing our house for the market. In the first post, I described the back-story and the process leading up to the purchase of our new house. Now I’ll talk a little about my experience selling the old house.

As I mentioned, it was my first time buying, and my first time selling. I had spent my entire time in the house we were in (that I married into) improving things here and there. Many improvements were small, but there were a few bigger projects too. The architect in me always wanted to make the house better, and the do-it-yourselfer in me always wanted to increase the value through sweat equity.

I was working right up to the very end. In fact, we had signed a purchase agreement to buy a new house before I was ready to put the old one on the market. I knew I was close though, so having a closing date for the new house would be motivation to get the job done.

It was the selling side of things that taught me the most about the process. Being a buyer before the house hit the market, I knew what the mindset was, and what buyers would be looking at when they considered my house. I knew that Realtors point clients to “comps” or comparable homes in the area to determine fair market price. I also knew that, though buyers would want to negotiate, the lower the starting price, the closer you’ll be in the end to asking price.
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Our Summer Home Buying Experience, Part 1: Buying a New House

Over the course of last summer, we went through the process of selling our house and buying a new one. Our family is growing, and the house we had was closing in on us. We also had a healthy amount of equity built up, and thought our need for more space was an opportunity to look for something a bit nicer too.

This was to be my first time both buying and selling. I married into the house we were moving out of, and didn’t get to experience the process of buying the house when my wife acquired it. It was quite a process, and I have wanted to share my experience ever since. There are things that went really well, and other parts of the process I will do differently next time (if we ever have a next time.)

We did things a little backward, beginning with the buy rather than the sell. We are very blessed in that my in-laws are our “bank,” holding both the mortgage of the house we sold and the new house. This gave us freedom, and in some cases power, we couldn’t squander.

Another aspect of this experience was using a Realtor that we knew and trusted. He is an elder at our church, and a friend. We had an understanding going back a year or two that won him our business. I’m now a licensed architect, and had hoped to buy a lot and build a house. Our Realtor moved over from home construction to Realty a few years ago when the economy forced him out of work. He had about two decades experience building houses. He was going to act as my mentor in the process of building, and I would use him as my Realtor when it was time to sell our house. We couldn’t find a reasonably priced lot anywhere, and eventually abandoned our hopes of building. Since we had an established relationship, and a pre-existing agreement, we thought it only natural to use him anyway.

Having a Realtor is really helpful, and though some people get burned by Realtors and swear them off, there is real value to a good Realtor. Good ones do a lot of work behind the scenes that you never see, and it’s a (partially, at least) thankless job.

When we got serious about looking at houses, he set us up with an MLS search that would alert us to new listings. We would scour the listings matching our search criteria, find homes we thought we might like, and he would arrange for showings.
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