Wednesday, July 10, 2013

How it all went down

Selling our house was stressful.

Back in November 2012 when we decided to buy a new house, we started prepping our old house, even though it wouldn't be "on the market" until May 2013.

The first thing we did was paint. Most of the walls were white and had not been touched in 8 years. Well they'd been touched, just not painted. They looked a little worn.

We said we'd paint a room a week. Well it went more like a room every two weeks. Still not bad. We hated painting.

In March we got a storage unit for all of the extra "stuff" in the house. Mostly mine. We also emptied out the closets off all clothes except what we wear. By having a more empty closet they appeared larger.

Also in March we had our house pre-inspected. It was $350 but it gave peace of mind as to not have any surprises. It was money well spent.

Back in April 2012 we had a really bad hail storm in the area. I had our roof inspected and was told we had no damage. Well the house inspector said our roof was in bad shape. I called our insurance agent. He agreed and said I had just one more week to call as they cover hail damage 1 year from the date of the last storm. If we had not had a pre-inspection....we would have been on the hook for $9,000.

Beyond that we had a few small things to fix.

When we bought our house in 2004 we paid $144.000 which was a crazy amount of money for us. Still is.

Over the years the city of Euless kept raising the appraisal value of our house peaking at $170,000 in 2012. We would be thrilled if we could get that much for our house. We wouldn't pay that much, but if someone else would...great.

We decided to use my Fraternity brother for our agent rather than a total stranger. He did give us a break on the commission charging 5% vs the normal 6%.

He let us pick the asking price. I'm not sure how we came up with it, but we decided to shoot for the stars and ask $185,000. We figured with a brand new roof, less than one year old air conditioner, new carpet and fresh paint....why not?

In April we had a garage sale. Prices were super low as we wanted to get rid of extra stuff. During the sale our neighbor across the street came over and said his family member wanted to buy a house in the area.

I gave him our floorplan (yep I saved it from 2004!) and the number of our agent.

They looked at the house twice BEFORE we listed it.....nothing. Waste of time.

Our house officially listed on May 1st. On May 2nd we had an offer for $181,000. On May 3rd we had an offer for $185,000.

The offer was a request to close on June 6th and then leaseback the house to us until June 20th (at the time our house would be done June 13th and closing June 17th).

They wanted $1850 for a deposit plus $50 a day. That spooked us and our agent. We negotiated for $1850 deposit and Principal, Tax and Interest (PTI) for rent. Fine. We thought the deposit was nuts for us living in our own house for 2 weeks.

They had the house inspected and looked at it again a few times. I guess they didn't think my security cameras recorded audio as they said a few odd things. Each time they looked at the house I had to leave. I'd pull away and just watch and listen to them on the security cameras.

Their inspector found a few things ours didn't. Four things:

1. The shower pan had a hairline crack and wanted us to replace the pan

2. A sprinkler valve and head were leaking

3. The caulk around the garage was "tacky"

4. The attic had an area that needed insulation

Well we did the following

1. Used silicone caulk on the hairline crack as a pan would be over $2000!

2. Repaired the valve and head

3. Removed the caulk ...and laughed as it looked worse

4. Nothing...the area was for walking and didn't need insulation


They were fine until the appraisal. Our house appraised for $182,000. They wouldn't budge. It was late in the game at this point. They knew we were moving.

Fine. It was still well above what we thought we would get.

On closing day we walked away with a lot of money. Being conservative we put half into a rainy day fund that was enough to cover almost a year of mortgage payments on the new house. The other part was spent on stuff for the new house and closing cost on the new house.

We were then renters. I took photos and video of the house the day we closed in case there were issues.  I also filled out a condition report similar to the form used to rent an apartment.

The closing on our new house was moved up to June 13th. Better.

We moved in on the 14th. Since it was only 5 miles away we didn't pack everything. Huge mistake. We made at least 10 trips to and from bringing "small" stuff. Ugh.

On the 16th we had maids over to clean the house. I cleaned out the garage.

On the 17th the power was cut off at the old house.

On the 20th we left the keys and said goodbye to our first house with a note to the buyers including our contact info if they had any problems with the condition.

About a week later our agent called and said the buyers weren't happy. We left "holes" in the walls and "Electric cables" hanging out and they were electrocuted!

The holes were there the entire time and were behind the TVs for cabling. The electric cable were two speaker wires that we had to leave.

A few days later we got a receipt for $500 for hole repair. That "upset" me.

I wrote a letter stating I had video and audio from each time they were in the house. They never asked for the holes to be repaired. We had to leave the TV mounts per contract. No response.

We were annoyed they didn't contact us directly, instead going through their agent.

They sent a check for $1350 with an explanation that $500 was for hole repair. I could have fixed all the holes for $20.

I sent another letter stating this was the final letter and if we didn't have the remaining deposit money we would be taking them to court for $1600 (3X the remaining deposit plus $100 per Texas law).

They sent the other $500 stating the would "live" with it.

We guess they didn't read the contract or their agent didn't explain the process.

I miss our old house some times....but I enjoy the new house. Hopefully this is the last house we will live in.

It was a stressful experience, but we had great timing.

When we bought our old house the neighborhood was just starting. We bought it site unseen. By the time the neighborhood was done the price went up to $165,000.

With our new house we signed for $263,990 and got $25K in free upgrades. Well after all the upgrades and add ons we paid $284,000. The same plan today is STARTING at $282,990. There's no way we could comfortably swing it now. Our house appraised for $300,000.

With our first house we got a FHA ARM mortgage. The rates then were 4% for ARMs and 6% for fixed. We were gamblers. Over the span it never went above 6%.

We did refinance to a 15 year fixed in 2011 at 3.25%.

With our new house we went conventional. When we started looking rates were around 3.50%. Then they started going up. That made us nervous.

At 50 days out we could lock so we did. We locked at 3.625%. Right after we closed rates shot up to 4.625%! Again timing.

That's a long story short on how it all went down.