Today, I drove around with our Realtor and looked at all of the homes that I had selected and all I can say about that is YOWZER.
Has any one ever seen the television show Hoarders?
I need to write a post about how to SELL a home and distribute it to 18 of the 22 homes that we saw today. While I'm fairly good at "seeing past" some one else's belongings, it's hard to do when you can hardly walk through a house because there is so much stuff on the floor.
Stuff like ... say ... a half eaten cheeseburger from McDonald's, still in the wrapper.
Are the homes really in such high demand in this part of the country that people can STOP cutting their grass once their house goes on the market? Because seriously, I felt like I needed a weed whacker to get to the front door on several properties. And once inside one of the homes, I quickly had to block not one, not two, not three, not four, but FIVE cats from darting out past me. At another house, the owner greeted us at the front door smoking a cigarette.
A large part of the reason it took Charlie and I several days longer to leave California than we had expected, is because when we pulled out of the driveway for the last time, our house was absolutely spotless. So to see homes in such terrible condition to me is downright baffling and disgusting. But it also helps me to better understand how we've now received five offers on our home in two weeks time.
Suffice it to say, the strategy I employed today for finding THE PERFECT home was met with zero success. But that's alright because as far as Charlie and I are concerned, we found the perfect home this past weekend. Thus far, nothing even comes close to comparing and we're ready to feel settled and slightly afraid that if we don't jump on it, it will be sold out from beneath us. Even though the bathrooms are a little small and Charlie and I will be sharing a closet ... I don't wear half the clothes I own, anyway.
So we're putting in our very first offer, tomorrow.
Now here's the thing.
We've never put in an offer on a home before. Because the first (and only) home that we've ever purchased - was bought directly from a builder, so there wasn't much (any) negotiation.
We were feeling a little intimidated as to how to even determine an appropriate offer and so we have opted to apply the same approach of how we established the sale price for our California home. While we trust our Realtor, we really wanted to come up with a value in our own minds that we believe is acceptable, before we sit down and talk with her about drawing it up.
First, we asked that our Realtor send us all of the comparatives for similar sized homes that have sold within the neighborhood within the past six months.
Second, we reviewed all of the comps. And we crafted yet another spreadsheet, that captured the listing price, sales price, square footage of the home, square footage of the lot, other features such as garage, attic, basement, fireplace(s), and any improvements.
Third, we calculated what the average sale price per square foot was in the neighborhood and then we compared that to the listing price of the home we're interested in. And what we discovered is that "our" home is listed at approximately 50% over the average square footage sale price for the neighborhood, despite not having a single update since the 1960's. While we suspected that the home was overpriced before, we now have concrete evidence to support our lower bid.
Fourth, we came up with what we consider to be a reasonable offer and compared that value to the estimate on Zillow (http://www.zillow.com).
Fifth, thanks to the advice received from so many of you, I wrote a short letter to the family, expressing our gratitude at having an opportunity to present an offer on such a beautiful property - and excitement at the prospect of living in such a wonderful home. It wasn't my intention to write anything sappy, but rather, to let them know a little about the young family that would thoroughly enjoy living in this space. I'll ask our Realtor take a look at the letter and if she thinks it's acceptable, we'll include it with our offer that we'll be submitting tomorrow night.
Sixth, we'll be keeping our fingers and toes crossed that this all works out. We took the children to the house today and they spent the better part of an hour playing in and around the creek. That house, while it definitely needs some work, is without a doubt, a child's paradise.
Seventh, we'll definitely be hiring a private inspector. But I have no idea when that will happen. We're totally figuring this thing out as we go. Also, there are A LOT of homes out there and the deal's not done until the check has cleared the bank. So whatever you do, don't allow yourself to get too emotionally attached.
Oops. Too late.
I love it there, oh my good heavens, I LOVE IT SO MUCH. Today, while I was standing in a sunbeam on the bank of the creek - and Henry was tossing in rocks, and the triplets were trying to catch an alligator, a bright yellow monarch butterfly was circling my head.
It was a magical moment.
I really hope we can have a hundred million more just like it.