good stories about selling your house?

happymary45September 5, 2008

Hi all, I was just wondering if, with all of the problems and glitches that go with selling a home (financing for buyers falling through, houses sitting on the market for a year, etc) does anyone have any GOOD stories to tell? You got the price you wanted, the closing went like a dream, your house sold in just two weeks...? anything like that? we are selling and I need to be prepared for the worst, but little encouragment is always nice, too!

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Unfortunately, no. Each time we've sold has been sheer misery.

I think it's different for other people, though.

Just think, all the bad luck sticks to me so you can have some good luck.

    Bookmark   September 5, 2008 at 8:09PM
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Sure... our current home (that we just sold) we bought after looking for a few months. Everything went very smoothly and we moved in just a month before the birth of our last child.

We also just sold this same home for an offer of slightly more than double what we paid for it just 4.5 years ago. The market here has slowed (took 3 months) but prices are still good for sellers. Last week we passed inspection with flying colors and we don't have to worry about closing because we're using a relo company.

Our neighbors recently got an offer after just one week (contingent on buyers selling their home) and a 2nd offer with no contingencies and a financially solid buyer just three weeks later.

My sister, in another part of the country, also just sold. She didn't do one lick of de-cluttering or staging -- with her 3 kids and a market with a glut of houses just like hers I thought the house needed it big time! But after just 6 weeks they got a full price offer because the lady fell in love with my sisters craft room!

    Bookmark   September 5, 2008 at 9:39PM
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Rachel Parker

We just sold our current house. It was on the market for 2 weeks and sold for list price. We did a lot of decluttering, cleaning, fixing up things, and painting.

The buyer told us at closing that our daughters' having the same fairy curtains and our sons' having the same painted room made her feel more at home.

We are building a house which hopefully we will close at the end of the month. The new owner is letting us rent back to her until 9/30, which saves us from moving twice. It was a great experience and wishing you luck too.

    Bookmark   September 5, 2008 at 11:21PM
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My mother died in June and my brother and I were faced with disposing of her house and its contents. I live 75 miles away, but my brother is across the country. We interviewed several real estate agents and picked a good one. After disposing of the contents we turned the house over to the agent to make some agreed upon changes. He had the entire house painted, the carpet removed and the wood floors refinished. We didn't do any kitchen updates (other than regrouting the kitchen counter tile.) Some of the light fixtures were replaced. The agent held an open house and got two offers within the week. The first was a lowball offer, $30,000 below asking price, but the second was only $10,000 below our asking price and was within the amount we had agreed to negotiate, so we accepted with gratitude. Closing is next Friday. Yeahhhhh!

    Bookmark   September 6, 2008 at 2:02AM
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Selling was a piece of cake but the buying was a nightmare. We got a full price offer the same afternoon we placed the house on the market. The buyers were fully qualified and the sell went off without a hitch.

Buying, however, proved to be a nightmare. The sellers didn't want to cooperate with their agent when told what was needed to sell the house to us. I really felt sorry for the agents as these folks were totally unreasonable. At one point they even told their realtor, "No one allowed in the house for any reason". What? We almost backed out of the deal when they flat our refused to correct two very significant problems found during the HI. The realtors wound up paying for and getting the problems fixed. The kicker was these same people had used this realtor and according to him, were the nicest folks he had ever dealt with. I'm sure his opinion changed after the sale.

    Bookmark   September 6, 2008 at 8:21AM
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Thanks you guys. It really does help to hear a few happy endings. Ladynimue, THAT is a great story. It just goes to show that some of the most unexpected details will win a buyer over! I'm hoping our ace in the hole will be our very shady, oversized corner lot. Mature trees are important in South Texas. I know I can't count on it making a big difference, but really, its the best thing about our rather plain, humble home. And NWroselady, were you guys insulted at the lowball offer? that seems like a lot under to offer. I'm glad the better offer came along.

    Bookmark   September 6, 2008 at 8:50AM
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This summer we listed about 5% higher than our realtor recommended. We had put lots of money into the house including a brand new kitchen, so we weren't being greedy, but wanted to recoup some of those expenses. The comps didn't have higher end upgrades or were not updated at all.
After 2 weeks of lots of showings, but no offers, we lowered the price 2%. More showings, including 4 or 5 seconds and thirds, but no offer.
After another couple of nerve racking weeks, we got an offer at 5% below asking but there was another couple who had been on the fence. They made a full price offer, but the first couple came back 2% over asking. We sold to them and even after inspections came back, we ended up getting far more than our Realtor had initially recommended as our asking price! We didn't fully recoup on our improvements, but we came pretty close.

    Bookmark   September 6, 2008 at 10:14AM
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I have a tough sell property. It's small but elegant in my opinion. We live next to a hoarder. Their home is in disrepair and now it's spilling out into their yard and they even park on the street all day with the cars filled up too. But somebody still made an acceptable offer that we've accepted. There was no mention of the neighboring property. So there really is a buyer for everything.

    Bookmark   September 6, 2008 at 2:54PM
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In the 'you never know who will buy it or why' department:

We didn't sell in this down market; sold in 2000. We'd guessed the buyer for our updated 1950's ranch would be a starter family (like we were when we bought) or empty-nesters (like we were then). The one-floor living, 2000 sq ft house was good for either.

Our buyer was a couple with two grade-school children who wanted to be in our specific grammar school district. (The HS for the whole area is tops.) But they didn't want our house, they wanted the quarter acre lot! (So much for new windows, kitchen, blah-blah-blah -- de-cluttering, too!)

    Bookmark   September 7, 2008 at 12:48PM
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We just sold our house in Dallas. It was about eight hours from first showing to accepted offer, which was $11K over asking. (!) After the inspection we ended up at $6K over asking. Perfect buyer, everything went like clockwork. They were thrilled to get the house and we were still pinching ourselves even after we closed. We had one formal backup offers and other oral offers, plus people still wanting to see the house after it was under contract, in case it fell through.

Our biggest plus was the elementary and junior high down the street and not many houses for sale in the neighborhood. But our house was also in tip-top shape, spotless and in good repair. Other houses for sale in the neighborhood needed work, ours didn't. In 2.5 years, we did a LOT -- replastered/tiled the pool, new A/C and furnace on one side of the house, saltwater chlorinator, new board-on-board fence, new paint almost everywhere, stripped wallpaper and repaired walls, tankless water heater... We decluttered but didn't depersonalize the house much. Cleaned the heck out of it. Repaired all the little bitty things that needed to be done. Some things in the house were dated or could have been replaced, but we did not think they were significant enough to spend money/time on.

We had one of the very best realtors in the area. Incredibly smart lady, excellent negotiator. Then we listed very slightly below what others in the neighborhood were asking. Right at sold comps, actually. She thought we could have listed a little higher but agreed that since our goal was to SELL, not get a few thousand extra (which would have been wiped out had we needed to continue paying mortgage, utilities, taxes, insurance, etc.), we were better off pricing a little more agressively. When it was all over, we ended up getting $1K more than the list price she had suggested. We recouped all the money we'd put into the house.

And yes, she was worth her commission, even if the house practically sold itself. Her advice about what to update and what not to bother with, her knowledge of the market, her pricing strategies, and her negotiating skills (the first offer was for asking price, and she negotiated it up to $11K over!) were invaluable.

So for anyone looking to sell -- you can't conjure up a great school district if you don't have one, but you can clean, clean, clean and make sure the house is in good repair. You can hire a great realtor instead of settling for an average one. And if you're serious about selling, price it right from the start.

Good luck, everyone!

    Bookmark   September 7, 2008 at 2:06PM
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Wonderful...happy for your. But if you had an asking price, how did you end up getting OVER that? Didn't they know the asking price in the beginning? Sure wish we had that type of agent in this town~~~lucky you!

    Bookmark   September 7, 2008 at 3:00PM
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phoggie -- they went over asking because they knew there were other offers on the table and they wanted the house. They clearly wanted to have the BEST offer on the table. Simple as that.

Someone asked in another thread whether it's good to have a well-respected realtor -- I do think it was an advantage for us. Our realtor was super well known and respected, very savvy and no-nonsense. I think the other realtors knew she wasn't yanking their chains by saying there were other offers, thus we got their best offers right up front.

    Bookmark   September 7, 2008 at 4:42PM
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We sold at 95% of list in 12 days and our house had loud wallpaper, older carpet and smelled like kitty pee. :) Buyers did not request any fixes and we made about 100K profit on the house. Not bad! Things we did that helped - priced it cheap at just what our realtor said.. moved OUT first.. and hired a professional cleaning team to clean every nook and cranny. We also gave a small carpet allowance - we had a sick cat and that was the cause of the pee problem in one room. Other than that our house was in great shape, just with 90's decor and loud wallpaper. No granite, no stainless and the appliances didn't match. We had moved cross country already but I doubt any staging was done, nor were there cookies in the oven, etc. Other houses on our block are still languishing.

    Bookmark   September 7, 2008 at 5:04PM
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featherz~~ you are certainly a lucky person....and best of luck in your new move cross country home.

    Bookmark   September 7, 2008 at 9:36PM
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What area was the house sale in? what price range? around $100K? $200K? AND, how much did the cleaning crew cost? I've thought about hiring a crew, if it's not too too expensive. I just think it might be just that much better to have someone professional come and do it all.

thanks for the encouragment, everyone! It's unbelievably helpful to hear hopeful stories about this.

    Bookmark   September 8, 2008 at 8:09AM
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We have been very lucky in the home selling area.

Home #1 - sold in 2 weeks for $1000 under our asking price. We'd already moved across the country and it was vacant. The buyer was a little bit picky on the inspection but we ended up only spending about $200 on repairs. We made a VERY nice profit after only about 3 years.

Home #2 - sold in 1.5 days for $500 **over** our asking price. This was funny - we were going to price lower but for some reason our (very experienced) agent decided at the last minute to put it on the market for about 5% more than he originally recommended. The buyers wanted a quick closing as did we. Closing was super-easy. The buyers asked us to fix three very minor things but agreed $500 in lieu of repairs. We had already moved but were in a corporate furnished apartment so our furniture was still in the house. We'd hired a handyman to make a few minor repairs before putting the house on the market, and we also decided to replace all the carpet. Needless to say, I was pleased with our decision to put the money into the house before listing. We also made a nice profit after only a few years, although not quite as nice as the first sale.

    Bookmark   September 8, 2008 at 11:26AM
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This is my first time on the board, I usually hang out in the laundry room, so hello everyone!

We just sold our first house in one city in southeastern Ontario, and bought in another city. My DH is military and they asked us to move, so luckily they cover all moving expenses, realtors fees, closing fees, etc.

We had bought our house for $145K in July 2005, 2 + 1 bedrooms, 1 bathroom, partially finished basement with option for another bath, paved drive. We put a few thousand in, new paint, ligthing fixtures and faucets, and ripped out smoky carpet and replaced with laminate. The agent came to look and said not to do anything on our list of suggested things, he wanted it listed as is for $174, 900. I am pretty tidy, and made sure to leave and take the dog with me for showings, left the house immaculate. Within two weeks we had multiple offers and ended up getting $175K. We made $30K! Easy closing.

Now our new house is a whole other story, we ripped a bunch of walls out, DH is being really slow with the renos he promised me he'd get done right away, we keep finding leaks/mold/etc. Lots of fun, especially with my son with is 16 months running around!

    Bookmark   September 9, 2008 at 3:16PM
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Our agent wanted to list our house for $225,000 and DH suggested 230,000 to which he agreed. It's been for sale for about 11 days and we got 2 offers yesterday. The one was a lowball for 220,000 and the other one was for OVER the asking price - $232,000!

The buyer is paying cash and requested to appliances to stay. Which is no problem, because we're going to a retirement community where the appliances are already there. The buyer is buying it for her son and knew there was another offer, so she made the offer high enough to ensure getting it. Plus, she put down a $5,000 deposit.

Yay! That's a load off our mind.

    Bookmark   September 10, 2008 at 2:02PM
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What areas does everyone live in that the stories are good? are they areas not as effected by the real estate downturn? I'm in S. Texas and we have not been hit anywhere NEAR as hard as many of the folks I've heard talk on this forumn. BUT, I also know there isn't any way to predict how it will go. I am curious, though, to hear what area everyone is from. or where they sold their house, rather.

    Bookmark   September 10, 2008 at 3:06PM
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I live in SE Pennsylvania where the downturn isn't as bad as it is in some areas of the country, like CA and FL where prices were inflated. Plus, my house is not an expensive one, so people were able to afford it and interest rates are fairly low which made it a good buy.

    Bookmark   September 10, 2008 at 3:29PM
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As I said, I sold in Dallas. Texas is really not doing too badly. No big bubble to begin with means no big bubble to burst.

    Bookmark   September 10, 2008 at 8:41PM
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Hello everyone,
We are in Toronto, Ontario, Canada and we just sold our house a few weeks ago. It sold for 40K over the asking price because there were multiple offers which caused a bidding war. The best part was that it sold on the second day on the market. We bought the house 5 years ago and paid 279K and sold for double that! We feel extremely lucky and can't wait to move into our new home in one month!

    Bookmark   September 10, 2008 at 9:47PM
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HappyMary: If you are in South TX, I am sending my thoughts and prayers to you and everyone in TX, with Hurrican Ike heading toward TX. I hope your beautiful trees stay strong and hope the storm weakens and hits in a low population area that can weather the storm.

But if it hits anywhere withing an hour or so of your place and causes property damage to other homes, you might find the housing supply/demand equation goes out of whack quickly. This could cause your home to sell, as others could be looking for a home to live in while theirs is getting fixed. Or, in general, some folks might leave an area that was hit and move to another location 25 or 50 or 100 miles away. Also active buyers that were looking in the area that was hit now start looking in another nearby area for homes to buy. I saw this in my general area when a bad hurricane hit and caused property damage. Rentals became near impossible to get within a week, and then folks started buying up homes in nearby towns also.

    Bookmark   September 11, 2008 at 9:44AM
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We bought our home 35 yrs ago in a growing area outside NYC. Newer houses have been built over those years and the area has grown more and more expensive. The area is about 40 miles north of Manhattan and most people work in the City. The area has strict zoning codes, such as acre zoning, which prevented MacMansions and cookie-cutter development. Due to this taxes are very high but the area has some of the top schools in the country. Older folks are forced to move once their kids are grown. Taxes continue to rise.

Although our home has appreciated greatly, an older home requires upkeep which is expensive. We realized that sinking money over and over to upgrade to remain here was a losing battle. I'm glad we stayed here and raised our children in this area. I love my home but it doesn't make sense paying almost $30,000 in taxes to stay.

If I had my choice I would never move. No matter what we get we will make a profit on this house, but money is not a substitute for 'home.'

    Bookmark   September 12, 2008 at 11:44PM
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Happy Mary:

Did Hurricane Ivan come through your area? How are things in your area of South TX?

    Bookmark   September 16, 2008 at 11:52AM
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We sold our NJ house in mid-2005 right when the market was starting to soften. We priced our house at the top of the range for our neighborhood, after doing a LOT of de-cluttering. We also fixed a lot of the problems around the house that we could live with, but needed to be resolved before listing the house. We also redid our lawn with brand new sod and planted lots of colorful flowers in the front and back, as well as refinishing the back deck. As a result, we had TREMENDOUS curb appeal.

We priced our house and began praying. We knew that we could afford to lower our price if necessary, but didn't really WANT to. Fortunately, after two weeks on the market we got an offer that was $20K off asking - well within the range of what we WANTED to earn on the house, and a nice discount for the buyers.

The buyer's inspector was the toughest in the area and they made a LOT of repair demands after the inspection. We responded regarding the items we were willing to address and explained why we would not address other items. They accepted our comments and we spent $1,000 to address the 8-9 items on their final list.

Two months later we closed and we used the profits to pay off some debt, build our savings account and put a significant down payment on a larger, newer home in SC.

    Bookmark   September 16, 2008 at 12:15PM
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happymary45, we sold our home in Southeast NM, very good market here and in many areas of nearby Texas.

    Bookmark   September 16, 2008 at 1:13PM
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The hurricane didn't even bring us promised rain! i'm not complaining, though. The descriptions of the situations in Galveston and Houston and the pictures we've seen are horrible. I just hope there will be money to help rebuilt everyone's lives there.
We do have a cool front, though! 50 degrees last night. Woooo hooo. That's compared to the typical nightime low of 75 degrees we've been experiencing.

    Bookmark   September 16, 2008 at 2:41PM
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I listed my duplex on June 20th and it closed 6 weeks later, 2 weeks early. I had the best realtor in the city, (a longtime firm) and things just came together. I live in So. California were things are pretty bad so I consider this experience as a blessing.

    Bookmark   September 21, 2008 at 12:10PM
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We listed our last house on a Saturday in October, 2005. The next day, a man and his realtor came through our house. A couple of hours later, our realtor called us and gave us the following feedback: "The showing went very well. The fellow played in your house when he was a boy. He was friends with the boys who grew up in your house and they stopped at your house every day after school".

We received a full price offer from this man and his wife on Monday morning. She never saw the house until after we had a signed contract. Closing happened 3 weeks later.

This was near the top of the market in the Twin Cities, but as soon as I heard the feedback about the man playing in our house as a kid, I knew we had it sold.

    Bookmark   September 23, 2008 at 9:03AM
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We live in an area of California which is very hard hit by the real estate market drop, 20% and still falling. We sold a Victorian house last year, listed at $799K and priced according to market comps. We'd spent 3 years doing the house over to code and putting in foundation, wiring, heating, roof, painting, everything. The house was grand, an estate house, 3500sf on 2 acres in a very desirable part of our county. Nine months later we sold for $688K. We do consider this a success story, everyone was thrilled with the deal. We sold also last year a house my husband inherited from his Mom...the market dropped while it was listed. My husband remodeled it to turnkey immaculate and it sold for $44K under our real estate agent's recommended price after 6 months. No problem, we were happy with the deal.
We picked up 160 wooded acres on a lake for $688K (again, both sides happy, and do you notice the price was the same as the first house sale? Kismet!), and now we're in escrow after 6 months to sell our current house on 108 acres for $770K. We're happy with all of our deals, it's just a state of mind. The market is the market; accept it, go with the flow and move on.

    Bookmark   September 25, 2008 at 12:22AM
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We sold after 13 days on the market for 98% or our asking price. Even after dry wood termites were found, we still closed on time and buyers agreed to wait until after we moved to tent the house.

While we were in the midst of selling and trying to buy, Hurricane Ike roared through and left no damage at either house, just loss of power.

We successfully closed on our old house and are awaiting closing on our new house while living there rent free due to complications on the seller's side due to the hurricane.

We feel like we're living a charmed life. So many things went right for us. We're having a little hurricane guilt. All the neighbors on the opposite side of the street finally got power back 2 days ago. We got ours back in time to get the floors refinished in the new house before we moved in. Lucky, lucky, lucky. We must be living right.

    Bookmark   October 1, 2008 at 9:31AM
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where are you dk? what did y'all do to prepare? are you in houston? that's amazing considering it was basically during a hurricane! tell me some details! is your neighborhood high priced? medium?

    Bookmark   October 1, 2008 at 9:55AM
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We're in Houston inside the loop near downtown.

We decluttered by boxing up at least 2/3 of the drawer/closet stuff and putting it in storage. We also removed some of the larger furniture and tv and put in storage or the garage. We had 3 dogs that we kept in the air conditioned garage during the day and any time we had a showing. We freshly painted a few of the walls that we finished up some trim work on. We staged my utility room as an office/utility room with a desk and storage cabinets. We did a lot of outside work to give it some good curb appeal like installing a driveway gate and landscaping.

Our neighborhood was very ecclectic. We had historic houses next to new construction. Our house was basically a tear down when we bought it. They had just finished building a $500K home across from us. They built a similarly priced home down the street recently so the values were steadily increasing. The vacant lot next to me sold for $186K. Our house was an older cottage style that was very small so it sold in the medium range for that neighborhood. The great quality it had was a large lot to where the house could easily be added on to.

We were very lucky that it is a neighborhood where every time you add square footage onto a house, it turns into pure profit way above what the square footage costs to add. We have since moved into another older house in a neighborhood of well kept ranch homes and expect to see a similar trend of increasing home values.

    Bookmark   October 1, 2008 at 10:39AM
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Rachel Parker

Came across this thread that I commented on in 2008. Getting ready to sell our house and move back to where DH and I are from. Excited about moving back but stressing about selling. We built in 2008 in a neighborhood that is still building houses. Hopefully we have good luck selling again. Burying St. Joseph in my flower bed again for good luck!

    Bookmark   March 16, 2012 at 4:19PM
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Well, I did the "St.Joseph burial", but it took him 19 months to bring me a contract....hope he acts faster for you :-) But I am also looking forward to moving "back home" where I have family and friends.

    Bookmark   March 17, 2012 at 2:32PM
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My parents owned a condo in Florida which they had used for 20 years as a winter home. My father passed away last year and knowing that my Mom wouldn't be going by herself and she could use the money to make improvements on her northern house we put the condo on the market. I priced the house below the realtors recommendation slightly because the market was horrible and I didn't want to carry the maintenance and real estate taxes. My son went down for a vacation and cleared out personal items,. He said he cleaned it really well (!). The condo sold at full price the same day it was listed for cash and we closed in four weeks. The easiest sale ever!

I had my own home on the market at the time and it took 6 months and loads of aggravation. We did sell it though and it all worked out. We're currently waiting for our new home to be finished to close so it's a good thing we didn't sell it sooner.

    Bookmark   March 28, 2012 at 7:20PM
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Since you are competing with new construction, you HAVE to be priced lower than them, unless your house has something very special that the others do not.
What has happened in a lot of neighborhoods during the crash, is that builders stopped building the homes at xx amount, and then just recently started building the same homes for xx minus quite a bit. If this is the case in your neighborhood, then just because your home was bought for xx, it is now only worth what the builder is selling them for now.
I hope my math makes sence.

    Bookmark   March 29, 2012 at 7:48AM
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