How to get pricing - FAST!

DLM2000July 10, 2014

This comes under the heading of be careful what you wish for !!

We have been on the fence for close to 2 years about moving and, a few friends and neighbors know our 'plans'. Sunday afternoon a couple rang our bell, introduced themselves (sister and BIL of neighbors a few doors down), said they heard we might be selling soon and they were interested in seeing our house if that was true. I said they were welcome to come in but we are no where near 'show'ready', not staged and in fact I have piles of things for an upcoming garage sale in several rooms. They said they were ale to look past it all - not their first house (actually 4th), they are probably early/mid 40's, and if the neighbors who are their family are any indicator, they would be dream buyers. Cut to the chase - they loved the house, planned to do some looking with a realtor but would prefer to buy direct if timing and $$ work out. She just texted me that they have seen over 10 houses, still love ours and want to know our pricing and timeline. They are nailing down their financing and should have that by the middle of next week and would then like to come back to look again at a more reasonable pace.

This is exactly the type of push we secretly hoped for because we could go on forever debating when is the best time to move. Assuming we are able to reach a financial agreement with them, we are willing to scramble and make this work.

We are leaving town Sat - Tues - how on earth do I get an idea of a reasonable starting price by the middle of next week?

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Call an appraiser now. Make sure he knows that it is for a sale and not a refi.

    Bookmark   July 10, 2014 at 5:23PM
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Any tips on how to pick one or does it matter?

    Bookmark   July 10, 2014 at 5:34PM
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dlm2000, do I remember you from the home decorating forum? I haven't posted on GW in years, so apologies if I'm wrong, but I thought I remembered you from there and that we were in the same area? I'm in the NW suburbs of Chicago. If you are near me I'd be happy to check Angie's List for appraisers with high ratings since I'm a member.

    Bookmark   July 10, 2014 at 6:25PM
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Yup - that's me, mareda. That would be so sweet of you - I'm in the 60035 zip so any appraiser would have to work this area. I am frantically calling friends and family for referrals and they're all telling me that appraisers tend to go too low and I should ask a realtor or 2 for pricing. I have 2 friends who are excellent realtors (would have a tough time choosing between if I list) and would be comfortable being totally up front either one of them. Maybe we could pay a flat fee to help come up with a starting price, or maybe that's not ethical, I don't know. I've checked 5 online sources and they range from 641,000 to 946,000 so not real helpful :-/ My gut tells me to start low 7's, high 6's - based on comps I've been following for the last 4 - 5 months.

    Bookmark   July 10, 2014 at 6:45PM
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How exciting for you! I'll look right away but don't think I can post them here. Is there an email address I can get from you to send them or a private message feature here?

NEVER MIND - I can email you through GW. I'm on it!

This post was edited by mareda on Thu, Jul 10, 14 at 18:58

    Bookmark   July 10, 2014 at 6:51PM
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Okay, just sent a few leads to you. Let me know that you received them. Or didn't.

And good luck!!

    Bookmark   July 10, 2014 at 7:08PM
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Thank you- got 'em. I think my head is exploding - in the best possible way, though!

    Bookmark   July 10, 2014 at 7:39PM
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You could always offer to pay one of your realtor friends a couple hundred bucks for their work. But I've not been super impressed with most realtors' methods for pricing homes. I'd go with an appraiser, but remember that he/she isn't like a judge with final say on the price or anything. Think of them as an advisor, look closely at their comps (or provide him/her your own suggestions), and see how they've adjusted them to get you house price. You can ask questions, push back, etc. and they aren't on the hook to a bank for a valuation that will be used for a loan or anything.

    Bookmark   July 11, 2014 at 9:49AM
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Weedy I just did that and she refused to take any money but will come over this afternoon, with some do-workers if she can snag them on short notice. She's a smart cookie as well as being a nicer person so she knows if this doesn't work, she's that much closer to getting my business in the future and I'll be likely to recommend her to others either way. Have a call in to the other friend also but she may be out of town.

We're trying to get an appraiser lined up but the Chicago suburbs cover a LOT of territory, not just geographically but in terms of houses and pricing. Someone who does most of their work just 20 miles from me is pricing in a different world. Trying to find someone who does most of their work here and is available like yesterday!! You're a great resource with all the experience you have and I appreciate your input - may be asking for more soon ;-) Thanks

mareda - tried to email back to you but you have that option turned off.

    Bookmark   July 11, 2014 at 12:51PM
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Ask them to make an offer. It's usually the person who first names a price that's at a disadvantage :)

Also, go to, then in the search function, put your location, click on options and indicate accordingly (price, bedrooms, square footage, etc.). On the left is sold houses, where you can put a time from (say 6 months). You can also see what's currently on the market and under contract

You then see all the houses that sold on a map. Then drill down. You then can see each house, including asking price, days on market, description, etc. Sometimes you won't see all the pictures anymore of the listing. However, if you scroll down, you may find a sold link, which then will get you to the original listing with the pictures and description.

Here is a link that might be useful: Redfin

    Bookmark   July 11, 2014 at 1:18PM
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I just saw your post and emailed you. I found two (but not on A's list) that do appraisals on the north shore and I sent you that information. Also, try calling the mortgage department of local banks to see if they can recommend anyone.

    Bookmark   July 11, 2014 at 1:47PM
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mareda I got your emails and now I can't reply because MY email is messed up - #*@!!!! Can't reply to anything in hotmail - what a pain. I'm scrambling with laundry and packing while also trying to clean before the realtor gets here - I will get back to you but it may not be before I leave town!

    Bookmark   July 11, 2014 at 3:32PM
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NOT a problem. I'll be here muddling my way through trying to figure out some of what I need to do as an FSBO seller, and I just hope I find a buyer quickly.

Try to enjoy your weekend away even with all that you've got going on!

    Bookmark   July 11, 2014 at 4:39PM
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nosoccermom - somehow I missed your post - thanks for the suggestions. In a perfect world maybe it would work like that but I don't think that's going to be the case here - maybe - but I doubt it. I've asked them if they have numbers from a bank yet and they are working on it. But what will they say - the bank says we can spend up to XXX? I sure wouldn't if the situation was reversed! I have a pretty good idea of other houses they've looked at so that gives me a clue to their price range and we should fit in there nicely. They are nice people, neither of us wants to shoot first but I think we'll have to, just as if we were doing this as a planned listing it with a realtor or FSBO. We're getting 2 market evals from realtors and one appraisal.

I've checked Redfin and get regular updates straight from the MLS so do have some idea. Housing stock here is all unique in that there are no subdivisions or HOA's, you don't seem the same house or variations on a theme. This is a train line suburb and walk-to locations are coveted. We have that in spades; walk to train, beach, school, town, Ravinia Park (huge music venue) and Botanic Garden I do take my hat off to many realtors because pricing is not just by the numbers here, it is an art to some extent. And it's also a crap shoot. But maybe that's not really unique ;-)

    Bookmark   July 11, 2014 at 5:13PM
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Quick update - potential buyers are still interested, texted me this morning and would like to know our timeline . School starts here 8/21 and they'd like to know which school to register at even if they are not moved in by that time and want to come by for closer look, plan to make an offer or more likely respond to our starting point asking price. I'm nervous but it's all good. There's no time to do anything except clean like a whirling dervish tonight and tomorrow and I'm still doing laundry from our trip :-/ It's not like I can get things in storage, paint, stage the house etc in 24 hours.

Breathe in, breathe out. If it's meant to be........

    Bookmark   July 16, 2014 at 6:06PM
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So did you end up hiring an appraiser to help you with pricing?

    Bookmark   July 16, 2014 at 6:36PM
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No, weedy and here's why. My brother just sold his house and made some calls for me - the appraiser told him that the local realtors will have the most accurate info for what we need, that appraisers use them to determine their comps anyway. Maybe that's true or maybe it's not, or maybe it's partly true but at any rate we decided to start this process with info from people (realtors) we know and trust. I'm ok with what we got from them and we have an entire package of current info, actives, pendings and solds to work from as well as their insight about our specific house and location. Is it possible we could shoot ourselves in the foot being too high or low - sure. But I think we're on target and if all the other stars align, we'll know soon enough. If not, no harm no foul because we never listed the house FSBO or otherwise so there will be no taint from a publicized sale that fell through. Then we'd move on and decide if we're ready to do this now or wait longer.

    Bookmark   July 16, 2014 at 7:31PM
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What a great opportunity! My only advise is to not get greedy. You want to get the most you can but if you don't have to pay a Realtor, then give the buyer a break as well. If they are pre-approved, it's worth sharing some of that profit to have a stable, enthusiastic buyer. It's good karma, IMHO ;-)

    Bookmark   July 16, 2014 at 7:45PM
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It's strange that the appraiser refused to take on your job.
Remember, don't get into a deal unless the buyers show you a pre qual letter form their lender. And, it only takes a short time to speak with a lender and to get a letter in hand. I am talking hours, not days.

    Bookmark   July 16, 2014 at 9:08PM
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Our thoughts exactly, Mmmbeeer. We want all parties to be able to come out a winner here. They're great people and would be great for the neighborhood.

    Bookmark   July 16, 2014 at 9:15PM
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Missed your post ncreg - We will absolutely ask for their pre-qual letter first thing, thanks. The appraiser didn't refuse the job but indicated that he's not a necessary piece of the puzzle for us as sellers - his info would be available at no fee from a realtor. Perhaps he's not a good representative of the industry! I did talk to 2 other appraisers last week who would be available if we choose.

    Bookmark   July 16, 2014 at 9:21PM
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When we were getting ready to FSBO, the first appraiser I talked to kind-of demurred as well. She said "a realtor will do this for free." But I wanted an appraiser's approach, which is more analytical than every realtor I've talked to. I interviewed 10 realtors when we were moving from FSBO to realtor-listed, and not one of them gave me a straight answer when I said "how did you pick the price you're recommending?" I needed a more analytical backing than that.

So I found a different appraiser who was willing to do what I wanted.

    Bookmark   July 16, 2014 at 9:57PM
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"The appraiser didn't refuse the job but indicated that he's not a necessary piece of the puzzle for us as sellers - his info would be available at no fee from a realtor. "

For whatever reason he did not want the job.

Good luck! How exciting to answer the door to such an opportunity!

    Bookmark   July 19, 2014 at 7:10AM
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You could be right about the appraiser, kswl. However, I'm waiting for the exciting part to kick in. Right now I feel like a deer in the headlights. They came back Thurs night, we met them at the door, handed them a legal pad, pen and tape measure for any notes, measurements or questions they wanted to write down. Then we took the dog for a long walk. Came back, sat on the porch, talked dates and numbers. They met our asking and will wait for our timeline which does not coincide with the start of school here - we can't get out that fast. We'll get all the i's dotted and t's crossed and then I'll have to deal with this reality! DH and I are both suburban Chicago boomers and live about 2 miles from the house I grew up in - didn't go far from the nest. This will be huge. Have I said yikes yet today? YIKES!

    Bookmark   July 19, 2014 at 12:38PM
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Wow! Congratulations! Exciting! Yikes! Fun?! Good luck!

    Bookmark   July 19, 2014 at 1:22PM
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Congratulations on your verbal contract! I love it when deal comes together, especially ones that seem to come together more by fate than anything else. Good things usually happen to good people.
Get the verbal acceptance down on paper before too long, if not for any other reason than to be able to sleep better at night. If possible, try to get the buyers to perform their due diligence sooner than later. (home inspections, survey, well water test, septic inspection...) Even if the closing is way out. That way, if something comes up that can not be resolved, you know now, rather than right before your big move. It will also commit them more to sticking to the deal, because they will have a financial interest (costs) in the property.
Keep us updated.

    Bookmark   July 19, 2014 at 6:47PM
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And we're off and running! Had a slight delay (came back from CA, promptly got a bad cold which turned into bronchitis/sinus infection - oh joy) but wheels are back on the track now. We're under contract, they met our asking, met our closing, papers are with the lawyers, inspection is tomorrow, I'm trying to schedule a house sale because we plan to move very little from the house (famous last words) My husband's business is another story and will require a truck on its own. I'm overwhelmed -we're not collectors/hoarders by any means and I've been in the divesting stage of life for several years but 24 years of living and raising children in this house means there's *stuff* and 90% has got-to-go. And, and, and.... I'm whining as if I'm the only person who has ever had to do this - sorry.

Don't know where we're going which is a totally new sensation in my life - we'll be homeless! Not really, but we could be holed up in a hotel or AirBnB for a short while. Plan is to rent a house for minimum 6 months so we can really dig in, explore WNC, possibly NWSC and I don't know for sure if we'll get that nailed down before we have to skeedaddle out of here. Anybody want a job? I need a supervisor!

Saying good-bye is going to be really hard :-(

    Bookmark   July 23, 2014 at 5:16PM
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Congratulations! I feel your pain, only I had 27 years of stuff to go through. I'm not doing that again! Next time I'm going to leave it all until I die and let the heirs take care of

Will you be having an estate sale or using Craig's List or a garage sale or what? I'm guessing you probably have some neat little goodies stored behind that cute door!

    Bookmark   July 23, 2014 at 7:48PM
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mareda I'm hoping to have a conducted house sale - I don't have enough friends with experience to man a sale properly on my own. I've been selling things on CL piece by piece over the last couple of years. But there's a huge walk-up attic under that roof that was full of things I'd collected to furnish apartments for both my sons - and of course they both live far far away and it's not worth moving any of it! Are you familiar with Ampersand Estate Sales? I like them and they did a sale for my brother last month in Lake Forest so they're coming by tomorrow to size it up and see if they can squeeze me in. With Labor Day weekend in there it really messes things up. I'm happy to give you the details when it's set up but you KNOW you can't be buying anything now!! How is your FSBO process going?

    Bookmark   July 23, 2014 at 8:57PM
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I have heard of Amersand so I know you're in good hands.

You are SOOO right!!! I cannot buy anything at this time!! All these months of purging - I shouldn't even be tempted!

Things are moving along. I had two agents out yesterday and they were $10K apart. The thinking on the lower one was that I could offer it at the lower price to save the buyers some money, since I'm saving money selling it myself, thus moving it quicker. Before they came out I honestly thought it would be estimated at the higher number. But I thought about it and decided to go with the lower price as the agent has been in the area for 30 years and the other one is much younger and only here for about four or five years. The seasoned agent did tell me she will not show any FSBO homes to her buyers because she had a bad experience once. If others in our area feel the same, I'll be greatly disappointed. The house will be going up in another day or two and then I'll see what happens. I should have ordered that St. Joseph's statue before today!

I know you'll feel stressed out - but the hardest part is over for you. I wish I was in your shoes!

    Bookmark   July 23, 2014 at 10:34PM
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Congrats and kudos DLM! A great jump start to this next 'commencement'.

You are WISE to limit items to be relocated. This is particularly true if you don't have a house or house plan selected. The real challenge with this path, in our experience, is finding a selection of quality furniture stores in your new community. Hard to compete with Chi-town for goods. Fortunately, if you settle in NC you'll have much to choose from.

We 'rehired' from L'ville to NW Ark. Our only household move without mega-corp assistance. It was challenging!!! Encourage you to obtain/hire as much help as you can along the way. The move was vastly more stressful, physically and emotionally, than we anticipated.

Best wishes and enjoy the journey. Delighted for peeps who pursue their dreams.

    Bookmark   July 26, 2014 at 3:27PM
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Congrats!!!! What a journey you are on and good luck. :)

    Bookmark   July 26, 2014 at 11:57PM
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Thank you bgj and Acadia - it is a journey!

I have NO right to complain but this limbo-land where you're not truly sold is the old curse, "May you wait." come to life. Buyers certainly have the inspection report in their hands at this point but the radon test won't be picked up until tomorrow, so we wait. My husband and I have mentally squirrel caged every possible scenario we can think of in an attempt to stay ahead of the game and have a pre-thought out response and counter to..... whatever. But it's all a guessing game and just mental gymnastics at this point. It'll work out or it won't. The beauty is we don't have to move.

And so we wait..............!

    Bookmark   July 27, 2014 at 12:52PM
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