Author Topic: Condo sale going poorly - leave on market, remove until spring, or rent out?  (Read 3572 times)

JoJo

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I bought a condo 11 years ago.   Paid 550K, with dues, taxes, improvements (over $5K recently) and special dues have paid over $700K in total (but had a place to live in all those years).

The market was going crazy here in May and June so I decided to list it after encouraged by an agent acquaintance.  My ultimate goal is/was to retire sometime next year and be nomadic.  It was freeing to get rid of so much of my stuff.  A great friend let me move a limited amount of my stuff into his home, and I plan to stay there for the few months I need to next year.  From sept 13-Jan 20 I will only be in town for 12 days.  So I was hoping to be in contract on my home in August.

Neighbor identical unit sold for $777K on father's day weekend (actually all things being equal mine is easily worth 10K more - end unit, better view, covered parking).  Market was showing signs of slowing in late July but 2 weeks before I listed mine, a similar one down the street (slightly larger) listed for $725 and sold for $800 with 6 offers.  So we thought we would list for a low ball of $725 and hopefully get multiple offers and land around $750.  This was the expert opinion by the local agent.

Well, that has not happened at all.  In hindsight, August was a very poor time to list.  It's now been on the market for 3 weeks and we reduced the price to $699 already and still little foot traffic.  Having 1 open house per weekend for last 3 weeks  (2 opens on listing weekend).

Agent has incurred some costs - photography, printed materials, and they paid for staging.

I'm 2 weeks out from leaving the country for extended time and have to decide what to do.  Choices:
1) Leave it on the market, sitting empty indefinitely, except the few days I'm in town I can live there.  I don't expect the agent to stage much longer.  If it doesn't sell by October, remove and list again in the spring.
2) Try to find someone to sign a 6-month lease.  In the spring, we list it again.  Probably could get in the range of 2000 to 2400 for rent.  Agent would broker so they could get paid back for their incurred costs.
3) keep on dropping price until it eventually sells.  I'm already sick that I'm close to 80K below what the neighbor sold.  Some guys have all the luck.

Agent is sort of pressuring me towards #2.  If they hadn't paid for various things, I would probably go towards #1.

The really sucky thing is they gave me advice to get rid of everything so I hardly have any furniture, no bed because we assumed it would sell right away and I'd need to get rid of these things before I leave the country.  Due to such a quick turnaround, I gave most of it away (I think if there was time I could have sold some of it and netted as much as $400)

I hope I'll get the call this week that someone is making an offer but due to my impending time out of the country, I need to make some huge decisions quick.

FYI... this is in the Seattle eastside area. 

JoJo

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A couple other decision factors - the big question is if we are at the start of a big drop or a temp cooling due to summer.  Otherwise Spring is historically a better time to sell than Autumn and I would be in less of a pressure to sell because Ill be in the US.  I'd say my carrying costs if not rented out are $2500 per month, a little more if I rent it out (for management, possible repairs)

Scrapr

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Tough deal. The market is changing. You can only tell after the fact. Is your unit a family neighborhood? Or singles/hipster vibe? If family I would hold for the Spring. Families buy April-June. Get settled for new school year. How is the neighborhood? SFR pricing holding up? Condos typically are the last to rise and first to fall. I would probably drop the price a significant amount. Don't try to catch a falling knife

You can deal long distance with docusign and the like. It's not ideal. But can work

JoJo

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Tough deal. The market is changing. You can only tell after the fact. Is your unit a family neighborhood? Or singles/hipster vibe? If family I would hold for the Spring. Families buy April-June. Get settled for new school year. How is the neighborhood? SFR pricing holding up? Condos typically are the last to rise and first to fall. I would probably drop the price a significant amount. Don't try to catch a falling knife

You can deal long distance with docusign and the like. It's not ideal. But can work

It's in a great neighborhood, but it's small.  Across the road from a beach, walkable to the nearby downtown.  Best for a single or a couple - 2 bed, 1 bath.  Lots of tech jobs nearby with good salaries, and one major company paid huge bonuses in August.

mm1970

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I would lean towards #2 or #3.

It's really hard to tell if it's just a fall slump or if the market is going to crash again.

One of my local friends, who works in housing, thinks early 2019 we are heading for another market correction (So Cal).  Interest rates have been creeping up also.

But hindsight is 20/20, you just never know.  A lot of this is dependent on location.

patchyfacialhair

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What feedback did you get from the people who toured the home?

On paper, yours may be more valuable than your neighbors due to corner unit, etc. but if it smells like cat pee or if you have loud neighbors it could mean that your unit is listed higher than it should be.

I'd see if you could rent it out and list again next year.

bognish

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Is your monthly carrying cost $2500 expenses, or is part of that the mortgage payment principle? You will get the principle part back when you sell, so I wouldn't count that as carrying costs.

Renting sounds nice, but I would be worried about the risk of a bad tenant damaging the property or not moving out. Could cost a lot more than what you will earn in rent to get the house on the market again. I would probable leave it empty and try again in the spring.

lbmustache

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What feedback did you get from the people who toured the home?

On paper, yours may be more valuable than your neighbors due to corner unit, etc. but if it smells like cat pee or if you have loud neighbors it could mean that your unit is listed higher than it should be.

I'd see if you could rent it out and list again next year.

I agree. I'm also wondering why the unit hasn't sold - what feedback did you get? Is it next to the community dumpster, next to a busy street, etc.?

This also may not be pertinent to your building or area, but for me personally, a lot of back to back sales in a condo building could be a red flag. Is the HOA shitty or financially inept, and people are jumping ship? Not saying that's happening in your building - but as a buyer familiar with condos, I would definitely be on the lookout for a reason like that.

JoJo

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What feedback did you get from the people who toured the home?

On paper, yours may be more valuable than your neighbors due to corner unit, etc. but if it smells like cat pee or if you have loud neighbors it could mean that your unit is listed higher than it should be.

I'd see if you could rent it out and list again next year.

I haven't had cats and no problem with the neighbors.  I only share the floor below and 1 wall (with the unit that sold).   Carpet was cleaned, everything cleaned, and new paint.  Tub was refinished and looks almost new.  Really, it looks better than when I moved in 11 years ago. 

Someone looked at it today.  Agent only said it was "good".  They're doing opens on Wednesday and next saturday.  For once the weather might cooperate with the openings.  If nothing by next week will really need to decide. 

patchyfacialhair

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As a last ditch, consider replacing the carpet and doing or paying for a deep clean before the next open house.

That new carpet smell may sucker someone in to taking it off your hands. Since you're only talking a few hundred square feet it shouldn't cost much at all to have that done.

Even though I initially mentioned that I'd rent it out, I'm backtracking on that...replace the carpet, do the deep clean, and sit tight on the price and I'm willing to bet that it'll move before long.

JoJo

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What feedback did you get from the people who toured the home?

On paper, yours may be more valuable than your neighbors due to corner unit, etc. but if it smells like cat pee or if you have loud neighbors it could mean that your unit is listed higher than it should be.

I'd see if you could rent it out and list again next year.

I agree. I'm also wondering why the unit hasn't sold - what feedback did you get? Is it next to the community dumpster, next to a busy street, etc.?

This also may not be pertinent to your building or area, but for me personally, a lot of back to back sales in a condo building could be a red flag. Is the HOA shitty or financially inept, and people are jumping ship? Not saying that's happening in your building - but as a buyer familiar with condos, I would definitely be on the lookout for a reason like that.

A street fronts the building, but it's the same street shared with the unit that sold for $777K. 

HOA has gotten much better and building in pretty good shape (new roof < 5years, new siding last year, OK reserves).  And I think only 1 of 20 has sold this year (the $777K in June).  Maybe one earlier this year like January or so.   I know the $777K was an incredible deal for the seller.  I feel bad for the owners who are a young Indian family who bought it as an investment property to rent out.  Their agent really screwed them over. 


But still really thought mine's a deal at 699 but no one's biting.

JoJo

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As a last ditch, consider replacing the carpet and doing or paying for a deep clean before the next open house.

That new carpet smell may sucker someone in to taking it off your hands. Since you're only talking a few hundred square feet it shouldn't cost much at all to have that done.

Even though I initially mentioned that I'd rent it out, I'm backtracking on that...replace the carpet, do the deep clean, and sit tight on the price and I'm willing to bet that it'll move before long.

It would suck  - I paid $500 already to stretch and clean the carpet. 

The weather has been good so windows have been staying open during all the showings.

I don't know if new carpet but maybe I need to bite the bullet and put in hardwood floors.  Neighbor at $777K put in hardwoods, and painted everything depressing gray.  Mine got painted an eggshell color.

bluewater

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Your comment about hardwoods and the depressing grey color of your neighbor’s condo make me think you might be out of touch with what’s current in the design world. Grey is very popular and hardwoods are a huge upgrade over carpet IMO. Perhaps your condo is looking “dated” compared to what else is out there. Also, maybe having the windows open is contributing to excess street noise. Instead of buyers enjoying the fresh air maybe they are thinking it’s just too close to a main road. Without actually seeing the listing its hard to say but maybe a fresh set of eyes from someone in your target demographic might be helpful. Good luck!

JoJo

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We had 2 serious buyers looking over the weekend, both spent over an hour there.  In the end, this is the feedback, and nothing I can do about these:

* too many stairs.  There are 28 stairs between the parking lot (a 7 down and then 21 up (over flights with landings). 
* too small.
* only one bathroom.

Both ended up making offers on larger units elsewhere with little view.

JoJo

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Your comment about hardwoods and the depressing grey color of your neighbor’s condo make me think you might be out of touch with what’s current in the design world. Grey is very popular and hardwoods are a huge upgrade over carpet IMO. Perhaps your condo is looking “dated” compared to what else is out there. Also, maybe having the windows open is contributing to excess street noise. Instead of buyers enjoying the fresh air maybe they are thinking it’s just too close to a main road. Without actually seeing the listing its hard to say but maybe a fresh set of eyes from someone in your target demographic might be helpful. Good luck!

Yeah, I know what's current - gray everything, white quartz countertops, hardwoods.  My carpet certainly does date the place. 

There is nothing limiting the person moving in from doing that stuff, but I think it's silly to tear out 12 year old solid granite countertops with no damage.  What a contributor to the waste problem in the US.

The big problem is the investors are sitting on the sidelines (they weren't 2 months ago). 


Scrapr

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We had 2 serious buyers looking over the weekend, both spent over an hour there.  In the end, this is the feedback, and nothing I can do about these:

* too many stairs.  There are 28 stairs between the parking lot (a 7 down and then 21 up (over flights with landings). 
* too small.
* only one bathroom.

Both ended up making offers on larger units elsewhere with little view.

1 bathroom? Do you mean 1.5 bathrooms? A master bath plus a "company" bath?

So feedback says your unit is overpriced. (for the market at this time) How much did the 2 looky loos offer on the other units? How do those units differ from yours? What does your Realtor say?

I was a wreck when we sold our house 2 years ago. And I see homes in the sale process every day. I was shocked at how I reacted. And we had a relatively fast sale. Offer on the 2nd open house. We dropped below a marker number, about 5%.

Good luck

lhamo

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I'm really sorry you hit a soft patch in the market. Our neighborhood has been hit hard, too.

A 2br 1ba with stairs is a hard sell. Young unmarried people might not like it because the single bath makes it not great for sharing. Young couples might not like it because they will want morespace  as their family grows. Older buyers may not consider it because of the stairs (reduces age in place potential).

My sister bought a 2br 1ba place on queen Anne last year. She would have preferred 2 ba. She did not consider any places without elevator access due to the age in place issue. She paid much less than you are asking.

If it were me I think I would probably try to rent for 6 months and see if the market picks up again next spring. List early.

JoJo

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Unfortunately, it only has one full bath, and not a huge one at that.

yeah, looks like I'm overpriced (even though identical unit sold on father's day weekend in 4 days for $777K.   Unbelievable how unlucky the timing.

honeybbq

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You could offer a $1500 "carpet incentive".

I know Seattle market is slowing down but something is up if it's "priced below market" and still not selling. Slowing down, but it's still a hot market.

Can you ask a friend to "view" it for you and tell you what is wrong?

Is it professionally staged? It seems almost all Seattle FSH are staged but I'm not sure about the condo market.

JoJo

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It is professionally staged.  I honestly don't know if it's priced below market or if it's just August and people aren't looking.

There have been some sales of similar units that priced really low, like the $500,000 range, but they had 1980's (as opposed to 2000's) decor and not nearly the nice view.  Also 1 BR and/or 100 square ft less.

I've had several friends visit, all said it was great.  Agent also saying only feedback is the size, steps, and 1 bath.

We'll see if it picks up after labor day. I really have to decide now if I rent or leave it empty... wish this 7 weeks going out of town was not approaching so fast.  The stress of work, impending vacation, and condo situation is affecting my health.

MNBen

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While lowering the price is never fun as a seller, when you hit the sweet spot you should see increase in interested parties.  Sometimes that can trigger multiple offers to hit at once.  I'm not suggesting to lower and hope you get multiple offers, but know that is a possibility.

I recently sold a home.  Started at a price we thought we could get and didn't get interest, kept lowering prices, and held longer than we expected.  Finally received a great offer and were excited, however the buyers were overly scared by anything the inspector found and we couldn't agree on a resolution and the agreement fell through. 

It was easy fixes (about $5,000) on a $400K+ home to fix a few things.  Unfortunately, it sat off the market for about 5 months as some of the work was outdoor work and couldn't be done in the coldest of winter.  But sure enough, when it went back on the market after the work was done, lots of interest again and a buyer jumped right back in at that same price and no issues - quick closing.

My lesson:  Most of the time it's the price.  Hit the right price and the buyers will appear.  Have the wrong price and the home will sit. 

Car Jack

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People with "school" on their mind are now out of the market.  You need a significant price drop.  Properly priced properties sell quickly.  Overpriced ones don't sell at all.  Sorry, but price is a huge part of selling. 

If the place is dated, it's worth asking your agent this:  "Hey, if I put $10k into this place to modernize, what's the biggest bang for the buck I could get?  What should I do?".  If they tell you to replace the carpet with XYZ color and paint the walls ZZZ color, just do it. 

dcheesi

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Unfortunately, it only has one full bath, and not a huge one at that.

yeah, looks like I'm overpriced (even though identical unit sold on father's day weekend in 4 days for $777K.   Unbelievable how unlucky the timing.
Maybe it's more that the other seller was exceptionally lucky? From your previous posts, it sounds like they lucked out by hooking foreign investors with more dollars than (market) sense. I know it's the closest comp in terms of the property configuration, but maybe you need to start thinking of that one as more of an outlier?

lhamo

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Unfortunately, it only has one full bath, and not a huge one at that.

yeah, looks like I'm overpriced (even though identical unit sold on father's day weekend in 4 days for $777K.   Unbelievable how unlucky the timing.
Maybe it's more that the other seller was exceptionally lucky? From your previous posts, it sounds like they lucked out by hooking foreign investors with more dollars than (market) sense. I know it's the closest comp in terms of the property configuration, but maybe you need to start thinking of that one as more of an outlier?

I agree.  I don't think that sale was representative of the market overall. At least not the current market.

You have two sunk cost fallacy issues here.  First, you bought the place at the peak of the market before the crash, and probably paid too much.  Now, you are dealing with a softening market and don't want to drop your price.  I understand and sympathize with the pain, but you really need to ask yourself one question:

Do I want cash in hand or a higher price? 

How will you feel if you don't sell now and prices continue to drop?  Will that be worse, or will the comfort of money in hand make up for the possibility that you sell now and prices go back up next spring?

Let's say you sell for 600k, and pocket 550k.  At a 4% WR that's 22k/year.  Pretty nice travel fund.


LAGuy

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I was in nearly exactly the same position as you 2 years ago in Los Angeles for the exact same reasons. I was cashing out and going nomadic. Put it on the market in May and got 3 offers. Went to escrow, Brexit vote happened a few days before escrow close, buyer flipped out and bailed. Went back on the market and everybody started to ask, "What's wrong with it, why did it fall out of escrow?" That was in July. Traffic was low. We dropped the price once, but it didn't do anything. At that point I took it off the market with the plan to relist in the spring. Place sold a few months later in October off the MLS for $25000 less than my original list and $35000 less than the first offer that fell out.

My take away from the ordeal was the following. Summer is slow in SoCal. People are on vacation, getting ready for school, what have you. It'll pick up again in the Fall. Next, listings get stale...everybody who's looking for a place has already seen yours if they're interested. Just pull it from the MLS and let your realtor keep it in his back pocket for showings. Open houses are a waste of time and are more for the Realtor to increase his number of contacts.

Presumably, you had a plan B going into this situation. I wouldn't chase the market down, the buyers will just smell blood. I'd just execute your backup plan if the sale prices doesn't work for you. If that was renting, throw yourself into it and prepare to deal with that for years. Or, replace your furniture and live in it and continue to work (that was my plan, just keep working until I could get my price, since without my price I wasn't retiring yet). Replacing the furnishings probably wouldn't be *that* expensive, especially when you consider the numbers involved in buying and selling a place in SoCal. It sucks for sure, and this is why I at least will never have a significant portion of my net worth in property again. If things don't break your way, you are looking at potentially waiting years (or at least until the next selling season) until you can pursue your next goal.

JoJo

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If I do rent it, will be only a 6 month lease so I can sell next spring.  But I don't know if there's anyone that would be interested in that (especially if not furnished).

I think I need to meet with my agent after this weekend if still no leads and decide a game plan.  This impending trip is really messing things up  (I was thinking I'd be a couple weeks out from closing right now based on what was happening up to listing.


I should also mention my original plan was to live in it until next spring, but a post card from this agent in April (she is an acquaintence - I wasn't ready then as I was out of town April-June) + the high sales price of the neighbor in June kicked me into full gear. 

lhamo

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I think I found your listing.  Unfortunately, I think you are overpriced -- that other unit probably sold for what it did because the buyers were desperate to get something and didn't understand the market.  Yes, your view is nicer than the cheaper 1brs that sold recently nearby but that major road in front is a HUGE disincentive for a lot of people -- I would never buy a place with that kind of road frontage, because you can't really enjoy the view when you have cars going by all the time.  Those smaller units did not have the more expansive view, but they also did not have the road in front, and that complex has direct waterfront access, which is a selling point.

If what you said above about the stairs is accurate, then the property info on the listing needs to be corrected - it says there is only one stair, not 20+. 

I also think there are things that could be done to improve the staging.  I'll PM you suggestions.

JoJo

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I think I found your listing.  Unfortunately, I think you are overpriced -- that other unit probably sold for what it did because the buyers were desperate to get something and didn't understand the market.  Yes, your view is nicer than the cheaper 1brs that sold recently nearby but that major road in front is a HUGE disincentive for a lot of people -- I would never buy a place with that kind of road frontage, because you can't really enjoy the view when you have cars going by all the time.  Those smaller units did not have the more expansive view, but they also did not have the road in front, and that complex has direct waterfront access, which is a selling point.

If what you said above about the stairs is accurate, then the property info on the listing needs to be corrected - it says there is only one stair, not 20+. 

I also think there are things that could be done to improve the staging.  I'll PM you suggestions.

The neighbors staging was GREAT.  Mine not so much. 

I feel sorry for the family that bought the unit next to mine.  It's an Indian couple with 3 very young kids.  They bought as an investment and their agent really screwed them.    Rumor has it they offered 784, it appraised at 720, and they had a hard time getting the loan, even though putting down 50%. 

meghan88

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You might want to sit tight a few more weeks.  August is one of the worst months to try and sell.  Things usually pick up a bit in September.

IMO, a price reduction so early would reek of desperation.  It's only been three weeks, so maybe try to be patient for another 2-3 weeks.

JoJo

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You might want to sit tight a few more weeks.  August is one of the worst months to try and sell.  Things usually pick up a bit in September.

IMO, a price reduction so early would reek of desperation.  It's only been three weeks, so maybe try to be patient for another 2-3 weeks.

well, I already took drop from 725 to 699 at advice from Agent.  But I will wait to drop again - really need to see how things pick up in September.  I am not really in a rush - but they want to be paid back for their staging.

One that went on last week at 838 (200 square feet more but poor view) reduced twice already, to 798, then 750.  In one week!

SunnyDays

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If you can't sell it soon, do you have someone who would be willing to AirB+B it for you while you're away?  You could potentially get a lot more revenue than just renting it.

LAGuy

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If I do rent it, will be only a 6 month lease so I can sell next spring.  But I don't know if there's anyone that would be interested in that (especially if not furnished).

I think I need to meet with my agent after this weekend if still no leads and decide a game plan.  This impending trip is really messing things up  (I was thinking I'd be a couple weeks out from closing right now based on what was happening up to listing.


I should also mention my original plan was to live in it until next spring, but a post card from this agent in April (she is an acquaintence - I wasn't ready then as I was out of town April-June) + the high sales price of the neighbor in June kicked me into full gear.

Yeah, unfortunately, when it comes to property it seems very little ever goes according to plan. I think your fundamental mistake here was to get rid of all your stuff and plan a trip before close of escrow. You could have always rented the place back for a week or two to get rid of your stuff afterwards.

Fortunately, I think the fix is easy, if disheartening. You need to refurnish it. Either as a short term AirBnb type rental (my guess is that's a no go with the association), or preferably (in my mind) for your own use. Continue to live in it and work for another half a year if you can. If all you do is a spartan refurnishing for just yourself you can probably do it for just a few thousand bucks. You may also need to cut short the trip, and there will be some costs associated with that. But I think the few thousand bucks all of that ends up costing you, is far better than the potentially 10's of thousands you could lose by chasing the market down at the slowest time of the year.

Also, do consider what others have said about the price. You can't just be going for top dollar...you need to be offering the buyers what looks like a fair to good deal. Think about what price you "need" to get for it, and target that price because if you're anything like I was, you can't afford to take a whole lot less (and retire). Then, you either get it and ride off into the sunset, or you just hang on to it...for years if necessary and continue plunking away as you have been. For sure it sucks, being a property owner is essentially the antithesis of the nomadic way of life and it seems so unfair that this damn thing is holding you back. I remember how frustrated I was with it. But I felt a lot better once I reconciled myself to the fact that I'd need to stay in the place until I could get what I needed out of it (or otherwise saved a lot of money in some other fashion) and my nomadic dreams would just have to take a back seat for now. Then, the place sold in October.

JoJo

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If you can't sell it soon, do you have someone who would be willing to AirB+B it for you while you're away?  You could potentially get a lot more revenue than just renting it.

Airbnb is a no go - I can be fined $150 per day.  Minimum lease is 6 months, but there is no rental cap so that's no problem.

JoJo

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If it doesn't sell in September, I'm tempted to stay in it myself until next spring.  Luckily I kept a few things - one loveseat, some cooking supplies, a table and my TV.  I might try to get a twin mattress and that will do. 

dcheesi

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If I do rent it, will be only a 6 month lease so I can sell next spring.  But I don't know if there's anyone that would be interested in that (especially if not furnished).

I think I need to meet with my agent after this weekend if still no leads and decide a game plan.  This impending trip is really messing things up  (I was thinking I'd be a couple weeks out from closing right now based on what was happening up to listing.


I should also mention my original plan was to live in it until next spring, but a post card from this agent in April (she is an acquaintence - I wasn't ready then as I was out of town April-June) + the high sales price of the neighbor in June kicked me into full gear.

Yeah, unfortunately, when it comes to property it seems very little ever goes according to plan. I think your fundamental mistake here was to get rid of all your stuff and plan a trip before close of escrow. You could have always rented the place back for a week or two to get rid of your stuff afterwards.

Fortunately, I think the fix is easy, if disheartening. You need to refurnish it. Either as a short term AirBnb type rental (my guess is that's a no go with the association), or preferably (in my mind) for your own use. Continue to live in it and work for another half a year if you can. If all you do is a spartan refurnishing for just yourself you can probably do it for just a few thousand bucks. You may also need to cut short the trip, and there will be some costs associated with that. But I think the few thousand bucks all of that ends up costing you, is far better than the potentially 10's of thousands you could lose by chasing the market down at the slowest time of the year.

Also, do consider what others have said about the price. You can't just be going for top dollar...you need to be offering the buyers what looks like a fair to good deal. Think about what price you "need" to get for it, and target that price because if you're anything like I was, you can't afford to take a whole lot less (and retire). Then, you either get it and ride off into the sunset, or you just hang on to it...for years if necessary and continue plunking away as you have been. For sure it sucks, being a property owner is essentially the antithesis of the nomadic way of life and it seems so unfair that this damn thing is holding you back. I remember how frustrated I was with it. But I felt a lot better once I reconciled myself to the fact that I'd need to stay in the place until I could get what I needed out of it (or otherwise saved a lot of money in some other fashion) and my nomadic dreams would just have to take a back seat for now. Then, the place sold in October.
It sounds like professional staging is pretty much de rigueur in that particular property market; simply rearranging their own remaining furniture probably wouldn't have cut it. So the alternative to eliminating most possessions would be to rent a storage space for it all during the time that the property was staged and on the market, followed by the need to get rid of the stuff anyway when the property sold (which can be more difficult once you no longer have a residence in that area).

lbmustache

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I think I found your listing.  Unfortunately, I think you are overpriced -- that other unit probably sold for what it did because the buyers were desperate to get something and didn't understand the market.  Yes, your view is nicer than the cheaper 1brs that sold recently nearby but that major road in front is a HUGE disincentive for a lot of people -- I would never buy a place with that kind of road frontage, because you can't really enjoy the view when you have cars going by all the time.  Those smaller units did not have the more expansive view, but they also did not have the road in front, and that complex has direct waterfront access, which is a selling point.

If what you said above about the stairs is accurate, then the property info on the listing needs to be corrected - it says there is only one stair, not 20+. 

I also think there are things that could be done to improve the staging.  I'll PM you suggestions.

So, I think I found the listing too. FWIW, I think your place is quite cute and has a lot of potential!

I do think going for top dollar was probably the wrong move because to me, your condo needs a few upgrades. The neighbor has nice wood floors, recessed lighting, shutters, and a nicely upgraded kitchen. All of these add $. When I see your place, I see carpet, granite tile countertops and a drop in sink, old-fashioned "boob" lights, and dated tile. Now this is not a dealbreaker, but it does mean that the average buyer might go through and think "these are all things I need to upgrade." That costs money and time. Carpet is a no-go a lot of buyers now and that alone is going to be several thousand dollars to take to hardwood or even vinyl - and would also mean that someone has to hold off on moving in till that's been done. I think your current price of $699k is fair, and $760k+ was too much. 

I also agree that some other buyers panicked/overpaid/whatever, which make direct comps difficult. Sometimes people do weird things. A fully upgraded condo in my building sold for $407k, and then a crappier one with almost zero upgrades went for $415k a few weeks later because someone just "had" to have it and/or panicked.

To me, the staging doesn't matter as much. Your staging is not WOW but it's not terrible and honestly some of the aforementioned upgrades would do more in attracting buyers.

Slee_stack

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I sold a house at the beginning of the year and I had three contracts before it finally sold.

3+ months to sell it even though it got offers within 1-2 weeks each time it went on (or back on) the market.

I sure didn't plan on two contracts failing.  At least I got to keep one earnest money payment.

I dropped $7k on fresh paint and brand new carpet.  It already had hardware/tile in the common areas and I did little other work beyond the silly things each 'buyer' wanted done.

Some people do luck out and sell houses fast.  I wouldn't expect that personally though.  Figure out how much time you need...then double it.



waltworks

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It's not complicated. If nobody wants to buy it, the price is too high. Lower the price more.

-W

Linea_Norway

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When we sold out previous house, sales went slowly as well. We had lots of people visiting, but nobody made an offer.

We had brushed up some rooms by laying wood-looking laminate over old carpet. You can do this in a day and it gives the room a much better look.

What got it sold eventually was:

- Using another realtor, because the first one was not doing a good job. We re-used the same photographes, as those were okay.
- Lowering the price from 320.000 to 290.000, so that we would reach another segment of buyers. Everyone able to pay more than 300.000 had already seen our house.
- Fixing some of the things that we didn't have time to fix first first time. Laying a new concrete floor in the room with the warm water kettle. Replacing the window in a sliding door, that the first realtor had says wouldn't pay itself back. That wasn't even so expensive.

In your case, I would put nice looking, but inexpensive laminate on the floor. You then need new photographs of that room. You should also get better staging. Show them pictures of your neighbour's and say you want something just as great. Have viewings on the most quit times of the day, in matters of traffic. Think whether you need to hire another realtor. This one didn't provide you with good enough instructions, it seems?

lhamo

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Hey -- Redfin just told me your condo sale closed.  Congratuations!  I think you got an excellent price given the softening market and the updates it still needs, etc.  The other buyers definitely overpaid for a 2br, even with the updates.

JoJo

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Yep!

After going 4 weeks with weekly opens, not a huge amount of traffic, and a price drop to 699, the week after labor day ended up with 2 offers with escalation clauses that bumped it back to 721, only 4 less than my original price and it was awesome to go into contract before I left the US for my extended trip.  Super fortunate.  It feels weird to be a bit homeless... I move in with my friend when I get home.    I will miss the view... I lived there longer than any place other than my childhood home.