Of the various outcomes I had imagined, back when we started talking about the possibility of putting our house on the market, none of them included what is happening now, which is nothing.

I thought we’d have a bunch of people coming by, to the point of total inconvenience—oh, we have to leave the house again, quelle fucking drag—and I thought we might get low counteroffers and I thought we might find out some terrible thing during the inspection, like that the roof is actually formed of popsicle sticks and there’s a poltergeist in the TV.

Instead, there’s been virtually no activity. We’ve had exactly two agents look at the house, and one lady who was house-hunting for her adult son and liked the place enough to go and bring her son back to see it for himself, and then they went and made an offer on a bigger place with less yardwork, and all I can say about that is that if they had bought our house I would have described them as a charmingly close family who have found the perfect sort of arrangement that works just right for them, but since they didn’t, I hope Mr. Sissy Mama’s Boy is happy in the low-maintenance mansion his MOMMY bought him, since he was clearly too much of a goddamned PUSSY to live in a house where he’d have to mow a LAWN.


I keep thinking about all the work we did in the days before the sign went up in our yard and I feel so stupid. We reamed out closets and painted trim and cleaned windows and ripped out weeds and bought plants and hauled stuff to the dump and re-arranged rooms and it was just this totally consuming, stressful effort that went into double-time in the last few days before it officially went on the market and I swear to god we nearly killed each other in the process.

I mean, that stuff needed to be done, and I’m glad it IS done, but jesus. I went at it like we had a ticking clock hanging over our heads, you know? Like the instant we had the MLS number we’d have crowds of people banging on our door.

Every morning before I leave for work I prep the house with the hope that somebody is going to come by, which means vacuuming, picking up, wiping counters, hiding toys, making beds, and on and on it goes. The novelty has long worn off and now I go about my cleaning-lady chores feeling more and more bitter. Will anyone come by today and notice the shining floors, the neatened children’s rooms, the carefully rolled towels arranged just so in their little stupid fucking wicker basket? Oh hey, probably not, but I can’t skip it because WHAT IF THEY DO?

I planned for every contingency except nothing. In the absence of information it’s hard to know what we should consider changing. Maybe we need a new agent, a new listing price, a new set of photos, a new economy—I just don’t know yet. For now we’re just hoping something . . . happens, soon. Anything is better than nothing.



75 Responses to “Middle of the story”

  1. victoria on August 23rd, 2010 10:48 am

    “The novelty has long worn off and now I go about my cleaning-lady chores feeling more and more bitter.”

    Oh, wow. I only have to pick up after myself and my husband (who’s pretty tidy), no kids, not even a dog at the moment, AND we have a cleaning service every week —

    and I STILL complain about the housework!!

    I can’t imagine how resentful I would be if I were cleaning the house and picking up after 2 little boys and a dog for TOTAL STRANGERS WHO NEVER SHOWED UP.

    I’m sorry you’re going through this. It sucks.

  2. Michelle on August 23rd, 2010 11:00 am

    We sold our house this year. We had it on the market for THREE MONTHS before anyone showed up to look at it. And that included two open houses where our agent sat there for three hours for NO ONE. We finally dropped our price. And sold three weeks later. I still think it was a good decision.

  3. Anne on August 23rd, 2010 11:28 am

    Just to add that we went through the same thing. It’s the market, and for you it may be the time of year (lots more people look in spring and early summer than in late summer).

    We are in a HUGE correction in the housing market after the bubble of the past 10 years. I went to an open house in our neighborhood last month for a house that, 5 years ago, would have been listed for 650,000-700,000. Now? It sold for under $500,000.

    We tried to sell ours last spring, but after 2 months and no offers (we had about 10-12 showings), we took it off the market. We’re going to stay here until things improve, even though it’s a bit small for us and my husband swears it’s out to get us (i.e., there’s always something breaking down around here).

    BTW: the absolute WORST thing, I found, was when agents would call and say they were bringing people over in an hour, and I’d scramble to clean up and get me, my 2 year old, and my dog out of the house, and they would not show up. Seriously–smoke would pour out of my ears, I was so pissed.

  4. Audrey on August 23rd, 2010 11:40 am

    We are preparing to list our house and what you listed is what I dread: the daily “show house” preparation. And I know what will happen: one day, I’ll skip the morning clean up and leave the house in it’s usual two kids, two adults, and a dog live here state…and someone will want to view the house. good luck, and hang in there!

  5. CJ on August 23rd, 2010 12:03 pm

    It’s the market, not you. The home we bought in early ’09 sat on the market for months!!

    I think at higher price points homes are sitting. It’s the sub-150k homes that are moving now (at least in my area, the SE) and those have likely slowed down after the tax credit expired.

  6. Jen on August 23rd, 2010 12:18 pm

    I didn’t read all of your comments so someone may have already mentioned this, but August is notoriously slow for real estate showings. Most people are on vacation, getting kids ready for school, etc. It usually picks up again in September. Hope that’s the case for you!

  7. sooboo on August 23rd, 2010 12:22 pm

    The person above me is correct. Summer (esp. August) is crap for sales. You’ll see more activity in September and remember it only takes one person to be interested in order to sell it. My in laws sold the duplex we were living in and I sold my mom’s house towards the middle and end of the good market and it still took forever (like 4 months) of showing in order to sell it. Hang in there. You’ll sell it.

  8. April on August 23rd, 2010 12:41 pm

    We bought our house in 2007 for $330. Sunk about $20-$30K in renovations into it, never mind the blood, sweat and tears of DIY fixes. Then we got tired of the 3+ hour commute a day, and moved to a nearby state. We aggressively priced our house as we’re now paying two mortgage payments. It’s been on the market for six weeks now for $21K under what we initially paid (nevermind the renovations). We just accepted an offer that will require us to bring $17,000 in cash to closing – *if* it closes. I keep telling myself that the new house we bought would’ve been worth $100K more two years ago… but it doesn’t really make it sting any less.

  9. Val on August 23rd, 2010 1:22 pm

    Be patient. I think your nuts to try and sell your house right now, but heck, I’m unemployed so my view of the financial world is tainted.


  10. Jess on August 23rd, 2010 2:25 pm

    I know the feeling. Ours has been on the market for a month. We are up here on Orcas Island and listed ours for far below what it is worth. Lots of people looking, no takers. Sucks with a kid and dogs to have to clean all the time, right?

  11. Tracy R. on August 23rd, 2010 3:12 pm

    I feel your pain. My less than feel good real estate story: in 2006, we had already bought our new home before we started getting our old one ready for sale (so dumb). Our “bridge” loan expired and I knew we were screwed when our agent and our lender were both like: “hmmm, that’s never happened before, not sure what to do now.” We were able to get another loan after our bridge loan expired, but it was a horrible deal. We were paying 83% of our take-home pay on mortgage-related loans for a few months. A buyer came through right around the time I thought I’d lose my mind. We didn’t need to bring money to the table, but we never would’ve bought the house we did if we’d realized what our previous house was going to sell for and how long and agonizing a process it was going to be to sell it. I know the “nothing” doesn’t feel good, but what you are doing is so much smarter, so feel good that you and JB are smart!

  12. Roz on August 23rd, 2010 4:17 pm

    Delurking to say I’m in the same boat. Mine has been on the market for 6 months. I am currently hoping to rent it and put it back on the market again in the spring. There is NOTHING in our small town selling. A few low cost houses, but nothing over 100K. It scares me when I see some that have been on the market for 700 days….

  13. Suzanne on August 23rd, 2010 4:54 pm

    This is going to sound like crazy person talk, but besides burying your saint in the yard, you could consider buying a special “sell your house” candle and maybe a few sage branches to vanquish the bad energy. The real estate office I used to work in had an ongoing relationship with the woman who runs the herbs and tarot card readings shop. When we put her house on the market, she sold in within a week of all that sage burning.

    Also, the house we live in now is gorgeous and wonderful and had a brand new kitchen and more space than we know what to do with and the most fantastic front porch ever…and was on the market for 8 months before we bought it. Empty. For 8 months. I couldn’t even believe it and blame the fact that everyone in this ridiculous town has TERRIBLE taste in real estate on the non-selling. So really, you’re just suffering from the same thing. People who appreciate beautiful things will come along soon.

  14. Amy on August 23rd, 2010 7:25 pm

    Ugh, I’m so sorry. We sold last year but had a low asking price combined with the first-time homebuyer’s credit, which I think did the trick.

    But… we never had showings while we were at work. They were always in the early evenings or weekends. And our realtor always had at least a day’s notice for us. Do you really have to do all that cleaning every morning? We didn’t. It sounds terrible. :(

  15. Denice on August 23rd, 2010 10:11 pm

    Hang in there. We just finally sold our house after 5 months on the market. The first month or so we had absolutely no interest or showings, but once we lowered the price we were getting two or three showings a week. Finally sold it to the first person who actually made us an offer – and it was pretty low. However, we then made a super low-ball offer on the house we wanted – and got the house. Don’t be afraid to lower your price!

  16. radioactive tori on August 24th, 2010 6:19 am

    Make sure you bury it upside down. My mother in law swears it is the only way it works. All I know is that when we had one sitting in our closet years ago our townhouse sold the first day it was on the market. That was years ago though and the market was much better at the time.

    Good luck! I remember the straightening up because someone might come look days from selling out last house 6 years ago and I don’t miss them at all!

  17. Nicki on August 24th, 2010 6:35 am

    Hang in there. We had to move due to work and so put our house on the market, where it sat for a long time. Eventually we rented it out for almost a year and then when the renters bailed, put it back on the market and just finally sold it a couple of months ago. It sucks, and frankly feels almost insulting when there is no activity, but eventually it will sell. Be prepared, though, that you may end up having to go down in price which truly sucks. Good luck!

  18. Kaire on August 24th, 2010 7:03 am

    We buried Mom & Dad’s Saint and 2 days later they had an offer. Sadly that was at the beginning of the sucky real estate stage.

  19. C. on August 24th, 2010 7:06 am


    Ahem. Sorry to shout, but you really should know – sounds like you’re over, and as they demonstrate, you’ve probably already burned time you can’t get back. You’ll likely have to cut, and you’re better off doing it early to catch the secondary 30-day bump.

  20. Liz on August 24th, 2010 8:29 am

    It took my parents almost 2 years to sell their house. it sat there on the market, they lowered their prices, and even with that they had almost no people come view their place. After awhile, they decided to go with a different realtor who was REALLY aggressive and ended up selling their house within a couple of months. She would host a “mini party ” of sorts with realtors all over town, and she’d serve appetizers and while people stuffed their pie-holes, she sold them on the really nice points of the house, and believe it or not, they had a tremendous feedback after that from a bunch of those realtors and their clients, and they were able to sell their house after that.

    Maybe the trick into getting more people to come, is to try different methods?

  21. Melissa on August 24th, 2010 8:44 am

    I know you’ve already heard it but you guys are not alone. We applied for a refinance on our house since the rates were great. Appraisal came in at an offensively low price. My husband and I are still sick over it. This market sucks big ass balls right now. As for the St. Joseph statue – I found a statue of Joseph, Mary and baby Jesus in our front yard. Apparently it worked for the people we bought the house from. I should have stuck it back in the ground before the appraiser got here. Maybe the market will pick up in September? Good luck – you do have a beautiful home.

  22. Stacy on August 24th, 2010 8:52 am

    We are in your EXACT situation in Texas. In fact, I even have 2 little boys the same age as your’s…and MY GOD, keeping a house clean with two little boys is exhausting and I am just about to give the fuck up. 6 weeks on the market and one person has looked at our house. ONE!!! So, my whole family gets a stomach virus last week and I think surely with the poopie splash ups and vomit towels on the floor someone will want to come see the house, right?? Nope. Still no one. I am buying a St. Joseph statue today though. And I am Jewish.

  23. Lisa B in Kirkland on August 24th, 2010 9:01 am

    Ha! Our realtor suggested one of those St. Joseph statues. We passed, but still managed to sell. Maybe I’ll suggest it to my sister: her huge 1996 3BR in Charlotte has been on the market for A YEAR. Ugh. Wishing you luck from Joseph!

  24. June on August 24th, 2010 10:25 am

    Not to be horribly discouraging, but our next-door-neighbor’s house (we’re in ruralish MN, pop. 10,000 and 1 hr from an urban area) was on the market for more than 1 year (from summer ’08 to fall ’09) before it sold at a steep discount. Hubby and I are talking about moving, too, but are pretty sure that we wouldn’t be able to sell our place easily. It has a lot of unusual details (marble and pillars and shit, inlaid hardwood floors – beautiful work, but not modern styled), it was on the mkt for 3 yrs as a brand new house during the housing boom.

  25. wm on September 1st, 2010 10:43 am

    I’ve been watching a lot of episodes of HGTV’s My First Sale lately. The message I’ve taken away is that if the house is nice, but nothing is happening, it’s almost always due to price.

Leave a Reply