Adventures of a Modern Day, Middle-Aged Hero, on the Glory Road(to family security)


Housing update.

Had a long talk with our real estate agent earlier this week.  Our house in Belfair has now been on the market for over 15 months.  7 years ago, we bought it for 179K.  We started on the market at $189K, which was 10,000 less than our agent thought we could get away with asking, looking for a quick sale.  We actually had an offer after being on the market less than 3 months, but the buyers funding fell apart due to student loan issues.

We drifted the price down.  In August, when we were asking 172K we had an offer at 160K.  I had to turn it down, because I wasn't going to be able to come up with 25K to close.  My company has relocation assistance, but it is reimbursement, nothing up front.  Sigh.  Drift down some more...change real estate companies, do drastic things like close out my Shipyard 401K.  This now allows me to cover 25-30K at closing.  

I am now priced at the 160K I was offered...and I don't have much further I can go.  I could probably say yes to an offer in the 156 range...but that's it.  For that, I would need to write a check for 28 thousand at closing...then get about 16,000 of it back for relocation...a loss of 12 after living in the house 7 years...

What are our options?  Well...we could try to refinance, lowering my mortgage each month to the point where it might allow me to break even renting it.  That option would mean I am renting until/if the market ever rebounds high enough to make a sale practical without relocation assistance. 

I could look at talking to the bank about a short sale. Technically, I am already in a short sale, I'm just eating it instead of the bank.  Truth be though, I am in the position where I might make just enough that the bank will tell me NO.  I know...that's not exactly a woe is me situation, but trust me...the bleeding is there, even if it is slow.

Finally...we could walk.  Go limp.  That evil dreaded word...Foreclosure. We wouldn't be alone.  My wife was playing bunko a friends house the other night, and they had a new lady.  She moved to Richland 7 months ago, and let their house go after 6 months.  A guy on Survival Blog is talking about doing it after an offer on his place fell through.
Heck...I've read stats saying in the last two years, there have been over 3 MILLION foreclosures, and in the next year, there could be another 1.5 MILLION.  Foreclosure doesn't have the same 'low class/down on your luck' connotation that it did when I was growing up in the 80's. 

None of that makes it right though.  You aren't supposed to walk away from your responsibilities.  I struggled mightily yesterday adjusting to the fact that I couldn't prove how many page visits other people sites got before giving them an imaginary award.  How do you think breaking a contract with a bank sticks in my craw?

At some point though, it may be needed.

For now...hope springs eternal.  My agent says there is a person who is REALLY interested in my house.  Funding, as always, is the issue now.  My agent says he is seeing a 25-30% approval rating for loans.  This new potential buyers problem is lack of credit history...he is 24, and just doesn't have enough established history.  He is on some crash course in establishing some credit...but that tree won't bear fruit until March.

It isn't an offer...but it's better than a stick in the eye.  One of the wonderful things better authors than I point out it how little hope we humans really need to keep on doing what we're doing.

In Richland, we are moving on up.  At the beginning of March, we are moving out of our apartment/townhouse in an actual stand alone rental house.  With three bedrooms, a living room and family room, it's bigger and better laid out that we are now.  There is a back yard for the girls, and a two car garage means I can get rid of the storage unit, meaning the price point per month is within $10 of where we are now.  I can sacrifice a few scratch tickets to cover that. 

It's the kind of place we can see ourselves renting 'for a while'.  Our goal was to find a place we think we can be happy with for at least 2 years(and possibly forever).  Three moves in 18 months is lame. 

This time, we are settling in for a while...and there is a huge part of me that never wants to be stuck owning a house again.


  1. The silver lining is that if you buy in the next couple of years, (especially a cheap "sweat equity" property) it will almost definitely be a solid investment, not so vulnerable to any future bubbles.

  2. I hadn't wanted to buy a house just over a year ago, I just couldn't stand having to put up with a landlord any longer. She started out as a decent landlord, but by the time we moved out the only repairs getting done were those where water would flood out a floor if the repair didn't happen. 3.5 months before we moved out she got a notice from the city telling her to fix the roof or they'd do it for her (and she'd have to pay them), almost 2 years later the roof still hasn't been done, I have no idea how she's stalling them.

    I can understand the reluctance to buy again, but Suz's right, anything you buy now is probly going to be a reasonable investment.

  3. I know I've said it before, but at this point maybe getting another agent is a good consideration. How many houses has he sold in the past year? How many houses have some other agents in the area sold? Honestly, real estate is such an easy game to get into, and the theoretical payoffs so large, that it attracts many more people than really have any business in the field. Around here, at least, there are a lot of people who have a house or two listed, and that's it. That your agent is pushing someone who doesn't appear qualified makes me wonder. At the very least, you need to ask some pointed questions about marketing. It's not like the house is in Las Vegas, right?