Are there any real estate agents here?

jterrilynnAugust 4, 2012

How do you deal with customers where the wife wants one thing and the husband wants another and where they might agree somewhere the pricing gets in the way?

Husband has done no research and has a very unrealistic idea of prices. Its not that I have no experience in dealing with his unrealistic ideas of how much is what but I'd like to by pass all the aggravation and months and months of forcing him into reality. Is there a way? Showing him online listings does not help at all.

For downsizing I would like a small 1500 to 1900 sf one story home with a small yard, preferably with a pool but not a deal breaker and at least a one car garage. Ideally I would like something from the 50's or 60's that needs a moderate remodel. I do not want the house where someone has slapped white paint over an outdated kitchen and expects a high premium for the attempt.

Husband wants a connected home with a fenced patio and shared green spaces. At least that's what he says...however, he does not want to pay HMO fees over $150. Huh? That does not leave any nice or even halfway nice areas open for considerations in the town we both want to live. Plus, I am not a condo or planed condo/townhome sort. I need my own bit of sky and grass. I need my own identity and that does not include buying in an area where all the homes are identical and I have no yard and lots of rules. And, I'd like to walk my dog in areas not along a busy highway.

I have discussed a compromise in getting something small with a tiny yard which he agrees with but his idea of prices are so unrealistic it is causing trouble. Infact, we do not even have our house on the market yet and have already had several heated discussions. I'm living in a place I love, close to restaurants and shopping but with a bit of country. I cannot be contained in a box near lots of concrete.

It's not that we do not have the money for some of the small homes in the agreed town and neighborhood its just that he does not want to spend hardly any money. What to do?

This is causing a BIG wedge!

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Hmmm...well, maybe you can drag him to some open houses so he can get an idea of what you get at each price point?

My DH is similar to yours in the way that pricing is an issue. When we went looking for the house we now live in, he thought we needed to offer $20K less than we did...but we never would have gotten the place. We got our house only because the PO liked us-they'd been getting lots of offers (it was FSBO) and our final offer was just below asking.

I wish I could help you! I think tho that you should get a RA who your DH might be easier to win him over that way. He would feel he's got an ally.

    Bookmark   August 4, 2012 at 2:11PM
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I don't think this is a real estate issue. It sounds like a marital communication and compromise issue, and I'm not trying to be snarky or glib.

I think you might need to either let this percolate while you take some time to discuss and try to come to a compromise, or find a professional in the therapist branch rather than the real estate branch of your research...and FWIW, if he won't go I would still suggest *you* do. It can be very helpful to get a dispassionate view of the situation by someone who can also give you some tools to deal with it.

Good luck. With the house search too :).


    Bookmark   August 4, 2012 at 2:19PM
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Yes, open houses are a good suggestion and can help to bring him back to reality, but if you're in an area where the market is still tanked and similar to our area, open houses were not needed until recently because pricing was so low properties sold fast.

Sometimes people with unrealistic price expectations just have to experience the market for themselves before they can really get a better understanding of what's reasonable and what isn't and an agent can really help with this aspect of it. I know it can be a very along and painful process but....I personally believe that when it comes to real estate, seeing is believing and when someone is really interested in buying, they will eventually come around.

I know your not in a fun spot, but hopefully he won't take as long as some people do to "get it". My fingers and sympathy are with you. :c(

    Bookmark   August 4, 2012 at 2:49PM
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Sounds like your husband is not ready to move.

    Bookmark   August 4, 2012 at 2:54PM
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Is the issue a difference of opinion on what you can afford to spend, or does one of you want the nicest thing that you can afford ,and the other want the cheapest thing that meets minimum conditions?

How do you feel about shared walls with neighbors? About rules relating to property maintenance and use?

This must be hashed out before you have any hope of finding a place you both find suitable.

As to the months fees...this needs to be looked at realistically. No matter where you live, there will be expenses involved to live in and maintain the property.
And as you age, that no matter where you live you will need to pay professionals to cut the lawn, do yard work, snow removal, and exterior maintenance. So buying a home in a traditional neighborhood doesn't mean you won't have these expenses. It just means you aren't specifically contractually obligated to them. My retired parents live in their modest ranch house in a traditional neighborhood with no HOA, and they pay for lawn care, housecleaning, snow removal, and maintenance for their home. It is just on an individually negotiated basis. Find out what that would cost ,and then see what your DIY HOA fee is.

    Bookmark   August 4, 2012 at 2:56PM
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Have you ever lived in a townhouse/condo complex before. If not, research it, talk to friends/family who do, drive through some, find out what the HMO fees cover, etc. We used to live in one and you'll have to take me kicking and screaming into another. I know that for a lot of people they are a great way to live, maintenance is taken care of, often more affordable than SF homes, etc.

My problem was with the Strata Council (homeowners council) and the rules and regulations that are often put into place after you move in. As for everything real estate wise - just be informed and aware.

I echo the suggestion of others and start going to open houses starting with the ones in your DH's price range.

    Bookmark   August 4, 2012 at 4:13PM
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In answer to some questions...

Neither of us wants the nicest we can afford (so that's good). One of us wants the cheapest we can afford but he is not considering the neighborhood that comes with it. Husband is looking at it like the "last" property and not caring about resale as much. I'm looking at the move as possibly last but also with a possibility there will be another move, perhaps assisted living or other, who knows. The town we live in and want to stay in has good schools throughout, although my kids are grown. I do not think it smart to move to a neighborhood that is all Darrell and his brothers Darrell, Darrell and Darrell for future reasons as over all there does not seem to be much pride in property maintenance. I would like a mixed neighborhood like we have now. We have a few brothers Darrell, Gilligan, the Professor and Mary Ann and a hand full of millionaires (no movie stars). Although possible in our real estate slump, it is mostly unlikely to get the very cheapest we can afford and still live somewhere half way decent. I'm looking at a a low mid range to mid range. Husband is not only looking at cheapest he's looking to spend a nearly non existent cheap. He's not even in reality and its strange because I know he knows better.

I do not want to move but know it is smart to do so. The large yard is work I enjoy but I'm finding it harder and harder physically.Due to the very large size a lawn company would cost alot of money as opposed to a small lot when the time comes to pay someone. I like the extra rooms but do not need them. Husband wants badly to move. He says he is sick of all the work but wouldn't mind work on something small. He would live in a condo in a heart beat. Thank goodness I have a Rotti and two other dogs.

I do like the idea of a real estate agent husband picks though. I'm thinking that will help.

    Bookmark   August 4, 2012 at 4:26PM
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In regards to condo living, I have found that a lot of people coming from your situation are like your husband. They like the idea of a condo where they believe everything outside of those walls is taken care of by someone else and they won't have to worry about it.

What they don't realize is that just as with any property, insurance and costs to maintain the grounds do increase and that means those HOA fees will increase (usually on an annual basis) as well. If you have a good manager of the HOA, the increases are not too bad but if you don't and it's mismanaged OR as the property ages and roofs need replacing, the amenities need work or the roads need paving, your HOA fees can get pretty hefty or depending on the situation, you are charged assessments to help out with the costs and THOSE can be hefty as well. You have the right to a vote in regards to some of the decisions made by the Association, but other than that you have little control over what you are charged. I've seen where people have had a really hard time selling because the HOA fees are either too high or there is a large assessment that has to be paid and of course the buyer wants nothing to do with it so the seller is stuck paying it anyways.

I also see where people who have lived in a single family residence for years have a really hard time adapting the change of sharing walls and the lack of privacy that condos can often bring. And lets not forget the limitations of what you can do with that property. The CCR's can be very limiting.

If you stick with an older neighborhood where their roads are still maintained by the local municipalities, there typically won't be an HOA. Older neighborhoods can really offer a lot of charm and the smaller lots you're interested in.

    Bookmark   August 4, 2012 at 6:17PM
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We recently bought a second home in Florida. We rented a condo for a few years before deciding. What we learned was that we did not like condo living. Shared walls, someone above or below, or walking out of your front door and you have to walk by three other people's front doors.
So, what we bought was a small stand alone ranch home that is a condo.
Would there be an option like this where you are? I get where your husband is coming from,he wants as much money in the bank as possible , but as we get older our quality of life is even more important because we might not be as mobile and have to be home more. Home should be as comfortable and safe as possible.

    Bookmark   August 4, 2012 at 6:31PM
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Have you had your own house appraised yet? That might be a good starting point. I don't have any experience living in a condo, but it seems like you'd have more control over your expenses in a single family home.

I think as we get older we're able to stay in our homes longer if there isn't an issue with stairs. Having a bedroom and a bathroom with a shower on the ground floor makes it easier if going up and down stairs becomes a problem. You may be limited in the number of condos that have that option. I'm just thinking of reasons to back up your argument.

    Bookmark   August 4, 2012 at 8:19PM
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I have lived in 3 condos - large and small HOAs. I have no intention of doing so again. I prefer owning a house.

With an HOA your finances are directly tied to other people. Many of them won't have the same approach to money that you do. You can't begin to imagine how unusual some of their ideas will be. My favorite was the guy in Dayton, OH who had a conniption after a 2-inch snowfall because the snow plow "just pushed the snow around parking lot." He insisted that "snow removal" meant we should pay to have the snow trucked off premises.

You can end up in a poorly maintained space, because the majority of the owners are too cheap to spend money on ongoing maintenance. That leads to a whopping assessment when the item deteriorates to the point that there is no choice but to do very expensive repairs.

You can end up paying for a swimming pool or tennis court that is of no interest to you.

You're stuck with decisions of the majority - whether or not you agree. The rules and approaches can change with the mix of owners, so nothing is ever completely settled.

If some of the owners start having financial difficulties, they will stop paying HOA fees long before foreclosure. An increase in fees may be needed to cover the shortfall.

Just some things to think about.

    Bookmark   August 4, 2012 at 9:44PM
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Well I looked and there are no open houses except in the $1,425,000 to $10,000,000 range lol.That is the hard to move bracket. If you take the 1 off the first set of numbers that is about what my house will sell for although it will go up for sale quite a bit higher. On the up side I did talk husband into waiting until December or January to list the house (this is BIG). Statistically houses here in Florida fetch a lot more money in the season so there is a chance of getting a little more by waiting. The smaller house's that I would like seem to be holding their own whether its summer or season so anything extra on our sale is good. We bought in 2000 so the real estate tank will not affect us much as we did not buy during the peak but bought well before the quick rise in prices and the horrible fall. There are some foreclosures here in the neighborhood but they are mostly the small original frame structures. These are being bought up cheap by investors who will eventually sell them for land value when the market turns around, some will be rented out in the mean time.

So, I made a bit of progress throughout today with delaying the listing a few months. I don't feel so rushed to reach some sort of compromise; it was getting me a bit panicky. Ok, it was getting me a lot panicky. I have to remember that there are a few things to be thankful for. One is that he is not being so squeaky as to suggest we move further inland. We could get a lot more for our money by doing that. Right now we are about twelve minutes or so drive to the beach and neither of us wants to be any further.

Oh I just read what I wrote and who am I kidding about a compromise. I have to fess up and admit I just want husband to compromise. So, that is not really a compromise is it? I thought it sounded good but it really doesn't make sense if I'm doing no compromise on his end. I will not live in a planned community of condo's, town homes or duplex-y things, it will break my spirit and possible kill me with unhappiness. Most of those places would not even except us with a Rottweiler and two other dogs anyway. Shhh what's up with that man.

    Bookmark   August 4, 2012 at 10:52PM
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Bumblebeez SC Zone 7

I would let him handle it. See what he comes up with and then, after all that, you step in to help. Obviously he doesn't want to hear it from you so let reality speak to him first.
He might then realize that yes, you do indeed have to spend a certain amount to get what you both want.

I think someday we might be in the same situation, we have a big house ( 5 bedrooms, 2 kitchens, 4 bathrooms, 2 living rooms, etc) and a bigger yard.

    Bookmark   August 4, 2012 at 11:54PM
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Hire a male real estate agent who is roughly the same age as your husabnd. Your husband may be more willing to accept what he has to say about pricing. It also would not hurt for you to speak with the agent in advance and explain the situation and what you are hoping to accomplish.

    Bookmark   August 5, 2012 at 7:36AM
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That is good news. Just so you know, after the November election, rumor is, the banks will be releasing a lot more properties that they are currently holding on to. Florida's market has been moving somewhat similar to Michigan's and in our area a sort of "false" upswing on the market is taking place. Less foreclosures, more fair market sales and that means higher pricing. My point is, by waiting until the winter, and after the elections, you may be able to get a much better deal by finding a foreclosure that's in good condition.

If I were you, I would contact an agent (or two) that is working primarily in the REO market, (there are agents who now specialize in this) and find out what their predictions are for your area in specific. Ask the one you're most comfortable with if he/she can start sending you a listing report from your local MLS of the weekly listings and go from there. Familiarizing yourself now with that particular market can really help you secure a sweet deal when the time comes. If I could only share some of the deals I've seen with you. Honestly, do your homework and in the end you could end up with a lot of bang for your buck.

    Bookmark   August 5, 2012 at 9:32AM
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I was wondering what was up with the next hit of foreclosures. In order to get a deal on a little house I almost have to have a few realtors. Yes they all have access to the same info but around here there are a few people who really know ahead what is coming up that's good in certain neighborhoods. For example there is one little area where all the houses are on intra coastal waters or canals leading to with no fixed bridges. There are only five or six little scrappy looking houses in the whole area that are not on the water. I would love one of those homes if one comes up. There is one realtor who gets most all the listings, she used to live there before her divorce and knows everyone there. My husband knows her. In another area close to that but bigger it's the same thing with water homes but with a larger selection of scrappy little non water homes. There are a few realtors who get the listing but one guy has the most and has worked the area for years. He is an A$$ but a person to get in touch with. Those are my target areas; I want the small stinky little house near all the grand water ones. These houses are small but I could do something real nice with something so tiny.

What makes it all difficult and what is unlike Michigan's slump is that we have about 10 zillion out of country investors snapping the best deals up for cash every season. They are the preferred special people with realtors, no mortgages and such so the realtors can make a fast buck. We have neighborhoods around here that were too late in having investor stipulations to protect their home equities. There are a few that are in great locations but were a bit on the line for investing. They are forever destroyed now. Some of these areas have the investors renting out to anyone and the neighborhoods have quickly gone down hill. My son bought a town home in December. The only reason he got it is because they had stipulations that the townhome could not be rented out until the buyer lived there for a full year. That was one of the few places where the average Joe had a crack at owning if one did not have cash. I need to find out what the gig is in the areas I would like buy in. I can't imagine that those area's would allow the rental investor types but who knows.

    Bookmark   August 5, 2012 at 10:50AM
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Good luck,jterrilynn! I can say your "dream home" exists in our neighborhood, and we have no HOA, just a voluntary neighborhood association to which we belong and have been on the board.

I lived in a townhouse before I met DH, and although it had its advantages in that I didn't have to mow the lawn, our HOA was small. We also had about 1/3 OOT owners (college town) who we would sometimes have to threaten to sue to get the very modest dues we paid (The ONLY way I could consider condo living right now would be in a nice, downtown walkable area.

    Bookmark   August 5, 2012 at 11:50AM
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Don't be mistaken about the investors in your area. This is oh so very common everywhere and very much a problem here as well. I do inspection work for the banks and know what you're talking about, however investor properties were a large contribution to the drop in values in the heavily hit areas like Florida, Michigan and Nevada. However w/in the past six months or so, in an effort to help values and bring in more owner occupied buyers, most larger lenders and investors (fannie & freddie) are now refusing investment offers until after a 10 day list period. This is why it's important for you to get the new MLS listings directly from your realtor as soon as they come out. Timing is very important and that way you avoid any time delays between the listing date and when the listing hits public sites like or

Freddie Mac is currently releasing a sh*t load of properties it's been holding on too right now actually. I've been swamped with them all week long. You can also secure financing and bid on a HUD home, if you don't have the website with all their listings, I can forward it to you. Lenders are getting less flexible on pricing though. Before they had so much volume to move, they'd practically accept any low ball offer thrown at them, but now instead of pricing at a distressed discounted level, (an average of 10-20% below fair mkt) they are pricing at a 90-120 day sales price and pretty much sticking within 3-5% of that. This is the one draw back to waiting IF you're interested in going the foreclosure route. After November, who knows what kind of deals the banks will go for. It could be really great but then again, it could be a wash for a lot of buyers.

    Bookmark   August 5, 2012 at 1:26PM
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Lukkiirish, great info! Thank you!

I have much to tell you all on the one open house we went to today ( in my fav neighborhood) and the talk with the Realtor.
Very tired now but looking forward to your thoughts on the reply I got for new listings.

I'll be back!

    Bookmark   August 5, 2012 at 11:11PM
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tjerrilynn, I feel your pain! We live in a pretty large house on 2.5 acres and we want to downsize, BUT, my DH wants to build a new house in a new addition, with NO trees or character, and I want in an established neighborhood with a home to fix up if we had too. So, alas, we are still in our house!

    Bookmark   August 6, 2012 at 11:35AM
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Hi, I don't have time to talk now but we are going to find out how much a house costs in another neighborhood that husband really likes.It's a new listing. I know this will bring some reality.

    Bookmark   August 6, 2012 at 1:02PM
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Ok, the suspense of your posts are KILLING ME!!! Come back soon, I can't wait to hear what you've discovered. Good luck!

    Bookmark   August 6, 2012 at 1:13PM
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Husband and I actually found an open house in the area I want. Someone bought it a few years ago for an investment and did a horrible remodel for a flip. Of course the price reflects the so called remodel. What a shame! The setting of the house is real pretty with lots of mature trees and tropical foliage. I think the house was built in 58'. The bedrooms are small but ok, it has a fireplace and pool, patio, two car garage and a nice layout.

The agent is one of the popular ones in that area. I gave him my scoop about our future listing and what we were looking to buy as well as our emails ect. The guy was very honest with me when I asked for the new listings to my email before they hit mls online. He said he had a lot of investors that he deals with. I said I would like a crack at the listings they get (thanks Lukk for arming me). He made some sort of comment to the affect that they are priority. I said, you mean I come after them? He said, well lets see, I have five to seven regulars that I get repeat cash sales so what do you think?

Me, we go again!

I'm going to have to do some serious aggression to get a house in that area and get one that was not destroyed with eekkk remodel. That's ok though because I have no shame when it comes to muscling in.

I know a little about HUD. My son just bought his townhome through HUD. It took him six months to close. It took the whole family working daily to keep it on track and deal with all the paper work. I think part of the nightmare was due to the 203k (?) loan with the repairs wrapped up in his mortgage and one of the few mortgage companies that did that sort of loan. What a mess, son went through three different people in charge of his case and two managers. They all kept leaving for Wells Fargo. We helped him look and it took over 6 months just to get a crack at something in his price range. Like I said above the only reason he got it is because of the stipulation in the neighborhood where you have to live there a year before renting it out and the fact that it was HUD. Investors didn't have a chance at that one but there were close to 200 people interested. We got the listing fresh off the press by mistake when a realtor we were dealing with sent it to his investors lol. My son put in a bid $5,500 over list and got it.

Don't get me wrong, there are deals to be had everywhere down here. Just not in the very best areas unless you have a connection and cash. Or, you want to pay top dollar. Although places are appraising rather low now so that part could come out in the wash. A connection is key though.

About the other house husband loved the look of in a near by to my fav neighborhood. Well, it was about a hundred thousand more than he waned to spend. I then made him drive around in neighborhoods in "his" price range. No way he would live there.
I'm making progress. Really though, I too want to find a deal so I'm not looking to go crazy. I do want something I can make nice in a decent area though.

Ollie, I'm with you on established neighborhood with trees!!! Some of the roads I'm hoping to find a little house on in my preferred neighborhood are not necessarily the nicest roads. However, the reason I like some of those roads is because they have an abundance of natural tropical foliage and trees with older homes. I love the old Florida feel. There is not much of that left around here and I pine for it.

    Bookmark   August 7, 2012 at 10:14PM
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jterrilynn I just sent you an email. I hope it helps but if you have any questions, let me know. -- Lukki

    Bookmark   August 8, 2012 at 11:47AM
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