In the last six months I’ve watched as about 30% of the neighborhood hung out a for sale sign. Each time the home in question was sold in a matter of days – and if internet records can be believed, commanded sales prices that no one would have dreamed of two years ago. Two more just on my far exurban road have “coming soon” signs that went up last weekend.
I’ve seen enough of these boom and bust real estate cycles to know that seller’s markets don’t last forever. Then again, neither do buyer’s markets. Even knowing that, I have to confess to just a touch of jealousy at those cashing out and moving up or on.
By the same token, I’m spectacularly happy that I’m not trying to find a house to buy in the current market. Too many people chasing too few good options. I don’t have the patience for a bidding war or the tolerance for assuming all risks by waiving every contingency.
Part of me would dearly love to put up a for sale sign of my own and unlock the COVID equity built up over the last 18 months. The real trouble is, the house I really want hasn’t been built yet – because I’m still toying around with floor plans and design ideas to somehow hide the contents of a neighborhood library in a traditionally styled house.
I’d very much like my next move to be my last move. With seven of them under my belt since August 2000, I feel like I’ve had my share of packing and unpacking in town to town, up and down the dial already. Changing houses now would be, at best, a change of scenery. Since the scenery I’ve got is pretty damned good, though, it’s not an idea swimming with motivational appeal.
So, yeah, I have a little bit of sales envy, but no intention of doing anything about it for the time being. Barring untimely death or global economic collapse following the Great Mask Wars of the early 21st century, there will be time enough to cash out and have everything put together just so.
I don’t talk much about it because I’ve never considered it one of my finer qualities, but truth be known I have world class powers of procrastination. All those powers are currently being employed to distract me from pitching a wild, no way he’ll take it, ultra-lowball offer at the owner of one of the houses I looked at last night. Despite it’s rather quirky master bathroom and my natural aversion to home owner’s associations I’m having a bit of a flirtation with this place.
After getting word back through my agent this afternoon that the seller would “really like to get an offer and was willing to make considerable concessions,” I’ve been hard pressed to continue resisting the temptation. It’s a night of trying to remember that the place has been on the market for 2/3 of a year already and doesn’t seem likely to go anywhere in the next week, that even if it does something that’s just as charming will be along, and that even at it’s reduced price it’s a budget stretcher.
I’m procrastinating… with purpose. If I look around for another couple of weeks and this place is still sitting around, it seems to me that I’d be in a stronger negotiating position – especially since the only thing I stand to lose is something that was never mine anyway. For now, I’m just going to let it ride.
The problem with the internet is it puts every little thing you want to know right at your fingertips. Sure, that’s also the very best part of the internet, but that’s not the side of the coin I’m dealing with just now. In the opening stages of House Search 2015, I’m finding some decent places – or at least places to start… but then my damned inquisitive mind starts to wander.
It wanders to issues of property tax and leads me to the state government websites. It wanders to issues of boundaries, zoning, and planned nearby development which leads me to the county planning website. It skips towards flooding and hazard mitigation which leads me to FEMA’s notoriously inaccurate maps. And then there are the pictures – The fuzzy ones taken by the realtors and then on to the satellite imagery, bird’s eye views shot from airplanes, and Google’s evil car cam. As a side note, Google has not yet reached many the back roads of Ceciltucky. I find it oddly comforting that they actually don’t know everything.
I know more or less what I’m looking for in a house. I’ve moved enough to know what I like, what I don’t, and the fact that it’s all one enormous compromise in order not to totally blow the budget. I suppose it’s time to bring on a professional to help me narrow the scope a bit. From what I gather the good ones make pretty decent coin for sifting through the data I’ve been trying to manage on my own for the last few weeks.
I have to keep telling myself it would be a shame to just hand over their commission without really putting them through their paces to earn it.