Friday, January 6, 2017

Our 2016 (Part 2)

As I mentioned yesterday, in a recent post I asked the question “What five words would you use to describe 2016?” Mine included: taxing, eventful, wearying, surprising and atonement. Eventful was covered yesterday. Taxing and wearying will be covered today.

In the spring of 2015 when we realized that once my younger daughter was off in university in the autumn we’d be empty nesters, the most amazing man in the world and I decided to sell our oversized home with its oversized chores and its oversized responsibilities and its oversized bills. And downsize. So in October of that year, a ‘For Sale’ sign was hammered into our front lawn.

And that’s when the troubles began...

Our biggest mistake was the real estate agent we selected to sell the beast. We should have realized how badly we’d chosen when he took an old listing of our house and simply copied the text over, including room dimensions, selling points, etc, when we put up our listing. Signs of laziness and lack of creativity.

While we were up and running, we found it difficult to get information from him after a showing, we had to mention over and over that this or that photo had to be removed because it was unattractive/outdated/detrimental, we had to remind him again and again to make changes on the listing because x, y or z bit of information about our home was wrong/incomplete/inaccurate. On and on it went. And the worst part? He never corrected or adjusted what needed to be corrected or adjusted.

All of this was taxing

The year ended and 2016 arrived. January and February and March and April came and went, and although we had visits, we had no offers. We kept the house clean and orderly, we prepared it for showings and tiptoed around so we wouldn’t disturb or damage or disrupt anything. We became anxious and frustrated and disillusioned with the whole process, and the relationship with our agent became further strained with his ongoing incompetence and his single sales strategy: price reductions. Sure, if you drop the price low enough, you can sell sand to someone in the Sahara desert.

All of this was wearying...

When May arrived, we thought “this is it”. Kingston has a military base and during the months of May and June, real estate booms as families are relocated. And so we worked on making a great impression. By this time the garden had begun to shine, we purchased beautiful annuals to decorate the front of our home, we reseeded our lawn and polished up our curb appeal. We invited our agent to come take a look, perhaps make some suggestions and to also snap spring photos of the outdoors, which looked colourful and inviting and warm. He never did. Instead, he removed the winter photos of the outdoors and put back the photos he’d taken back in October where our grass looked dead and there were no signs of landscaping and no signs of a garden. And all the beautiful annuals we had planted and all the stunning perennials I had carefully selected and nurtured over the years that were now putting on a show were nowhere to be found. The house looked dull...and unloved.

What happened with this shitty visual presentation of the outdoors? Our showings tanked and the month of May was a bust. We were livid. Looking back, we have no one to blame but ourselves for keeping him on for so long - 8 long, fruitless and exasperating months - to a point where he burnt our listing. Somewhere along the way we became so beaten down that we kind of gave up on the whole thing. Very unusual for two people who typically have very strong characters. But there it was.

In June, we snapped out of our sluggishness, dusted ourselves off, decided to cut our losses and fired him. But now that we'd kicked him to the curb, where would we go from there? Well, an idea began to grow. And the more we thought about it and the more we talked about it, the more and more appealing it became.

And I'll tell you all about that in the next post...

40 comments:

  1. I was wondering what happened with your planned house sale. I knew it hadn't sold or you would have mentioned it on your blog. So I diplomatically didn't inquire. Now all is clear! At least up until June . . . . Awaiting your next instalment on the saga!

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    1. You are right, Debra. I would have mentioned the sale of our home on my blog. It was definitely a crazy period!

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  2. Hind sight is 20/20, eh Martha?! He sounds like a real SLUG! Off with his head, I say!!
    I am trying to guess what the next chapter is in this 'saga' (tks Debra).
    I have an idea what you both decided to do.....but I have always had a vivid imagination!! lol

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    1. Let's see if you're right, Jim :)
      I don't think this agent is good for selling out type of house.

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  3. Wow, that has to be the worst real estate agent I've ever heard of! The only minor issue we had with ours was that he wanted to advertise everywhere, even local free magazines with very low readerships - which cost money, but he said our buyer might be one of those few readers... anyway we sold at auction at a reasonable price when we needed to sell quickly.

    Oddly I think the thing that sold our house was that our sister-in-law is Chinese and we'd visited there with her and brought back quite a few Chinese artworks for our house. Our buyers were Chinese, and when they met us after the auction they seemed surprised we weren't and commented on the art! I think it made the house feel like home for them.

    Looking forward to hearing the next instalment of your story.

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    1. I like that story, Natalie! Sometimes it's as simple as that to finding a buyer. There has to be that feeling.

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  4. can't wait for the next post! Did one of you get a real estate license, or something? Sorry you had that hassle; selling a home is rough anyhow, with that 'living in a fish bowl' existence, let alone an incompetent realtor. Hope the market value has at least gone up since then, and spring is right around the corner...

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    1. It's a very frustrating experience on its own. Add a real estate agent that gets on your nerves and you're just about pushed over the edge!

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  5. That sounds like a terrible real estate agent. Which is rather odd as they depend on making sales. At my job, I can get a paycheck as long as they doors are open and I show up

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    1. I don't think he was good for our type of home. He's more of a buyer's agent.

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  6. Martha! That was a bait and switch!

    Looking forward to hearing that you sold your home. 🏡

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  7. Pet Peeve # 3: People who don't do their jobs! Just do your job!!! Ughhh, I'm angry for you! But now, let me guess. You are selling your own home, no agent? You are opening a bed and breakfast? You are starting up an Air bnb? You are going to do a house swap and live in a different country? Am I close??? -Jenn

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    1. HAHAHA! You made me smile, Jenn. We actually have a neighbour that was thinking about turning their home into a bed and breakfast. It seemed a little silly considering we live in the suburbs and there's nothing really around here that would be considered 'tourist-worthy'.

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  8. Cliffhanger!! I was going to guess that you are planning a B & B, but Jenn beat me to it! As long as you're happy with whatever you decided, I can wait for the ending :)

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    1. I had to break it up into separate posts or else it would be much too long!

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  9. can't wait for part 3! So sorry to hear about this terrible agent.

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  10. The story from hell on real estate salesmen. It is a problem when to cut and run. You sound like you could sell this yourself!

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    1. There are too many agents, which makes it so hard to find the right one!

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  11. So sorry you had such a bad experience, but sadly not surprised. But talk about leaving us all hanging!

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    1. I didn't want to write one very long post, so I had to break it down. Although it's kind of fun this way :)

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  12. Oh gosh, I hope it is not a long time before your next post! I had wondered what was happening with your house and trying to sell it. Is there any way you can leave a review on some site about this realtor so others see your experience and think twice before using him? Makes you wonder how he stayed in business with customer service skills like that.

    I can't wait to hear what you guys did (another hint to post sooner than later :)

    This reminds me of when we were dealing with buying the house we would eventually use for a rental but the "kids" are living in there now at reduced rent. Our realtor was sharp and on her toes. The seller's realtor hadn't sold a house in 4 years. She had to constantly remind him to do this or that with the paperwork. It was a wonderful we only closed 5 days later than we were supposed to.

    Post soon!

    betty

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    1. There are some really good real estate agents out there. Unfortunately, there are way too many of them, so it's hard to choose. And those few bad apples give a bad name to the others.

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  13. Yes ... there are good agents, and there are bad agents.
    A shame you had to go through this - looking forward to a positive Part 3

    Good wishes for the weekend

    All the best Jan

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    1. That's just life, Jan. Hope you're having a wonderful weekend!

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  14. Cliffhanger! Glad you fired that agent...Happy wet and cold weekend here. I hope you're dry at least.

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    1. It hasn't been bad. It's cold but that's about it!

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  15. You're the best at writing these. Really a good writer. Love how you string together words.

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  16. This is very interesting.. waiting for the next post...

    I'm following you, will you please follow me back?

    Please visit: http://from-a-girls-mind.blogspot.com

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    1. Hi Krishna, I'd be happy to. I'll zip over to your blog in a minute...

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  17. This could have been written by me. Wow. October 2010 we listed - ..our big way too big house in a bad market time...and much much too much yard to maintain which we always did by ourselves. November, December, Jan,Feb,March,April, May,June came and went. Finally after so much in between I could write about we got it sold - way under what it was listed and would have sold for just a year or so before. Anyway, looking forward to the rest of your post. (our story ended with unloading a big house, moving to a much smaller one in one mountain range and then moving again (we are renting now) to another house in a different mountain range and small town. Best thing we ever did.

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    1. I'm glad everything turned out okay for you, Sandy. It can be quite an exasperating experience depending on the market...and on the agent!

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  18. The more we thought about it and the more we talked about it, the more and more appealing it became.

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