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.

Ahem.

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.

joseph

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Alli
11 years ago

I know that statue! My BIL was digging in the yard of their condo and found one at the root of some tree.

Anyway, just wanted to pass along some real estate vibes to you. I hope you get lots of showings this week and have an offer before next week.

Erin
11 years ago

Hang in there, Linda. The average time on the market is much longer these days but things are selling. We’re considering listing our house, too, and I’m preparing myself for just what you are going through. It sucks but if waiting gets you where you want to be, it will all be worth it. (Cue Pollyanna-ish music.)

Kate
Kate
11 years ago

My husband and I are NOT Catholic and in the midst of desperation to sell our house after it being on the market with little to NO interest, I secretly, steathily, bought and buried Mr. Saint Joseph (upside down) in our front yard…albeit terrified that my neighbors would catch me in the act, thinking I was burying some incriminating evidence of whatever sort in my front yard. The house did eventually sell, but it was still months after St. Joseph was ever so ritualistically laid to rest.

Angella
11 years ago

Oh, DUDE. That’s just so horribly frustrating and I cannot even imagine.

Rooting for you guys, per usual.

m @ random musings
11 years ago

bummer bummer bummer – I don’t think that’s quite the level of CRAP that you’re describing, but I’m totally there with you

When we sold my mother’s house, I was working graveyard. Every day after work I’d rush over (in the middle of rush hour – and lemme tell you, there is *no* reverse commute when you’re going from I405 to I5) frantically clean and then go home and collapse. Then I’d drive home (stopping for errands along the way) and collapse, hopefully by noon. My family would wonder (loudly, resentfully) why I never seemed to “get anything done” by the time they walked in the door at 5p each evening.

Hang in there – it *will* get better.

Jill
Jill
11 years ago

While I am in the not-so-religious camp, my grandmother had her house for sale for almost 2 years, finally buried that guy upside down, facing the street, and her house sold in two weeks. It was creepy. If you really did do it, I hope it works for you. :)

Beth
Beth
11 years ago

Take it from someone who grew up in a minister’s family and moved routinely–houses take a long time to sell. Even if the economy is good. We had one house take a year, I don’t think that’s totally unreasonable in this economy.

What you need to do is decide what things are DIRE to look presentable before you leave the house. DO wipe counters. DON’T fold fancy towels, etc.

GingerB
11 years ago

Bury they guy, you’ve got nothing to lose. I don’t know what your house is priced at, but in SLC, UT, where I live, a friend sold a very cute updated but classic bungalow in a fairly desirable neighborhood in 15 days on the market for $355K. My friend with a house (butt ugly architecture but well kept, with a smallish swimming pool and in a more desirable neighborhood) can’t sell hers marked down to $540K. In Utah, there is something about houses over $375 or so – they just aren’t moving. And on the bright side, you got rid of your stuff but not the father of your children. Well done!

AnnaA
11 years ago

Ah bummers. I don’t suppose renting it out is an option? We found tenants for two different homes/neighborhoods in Renton relatively quickly & easily (one after my in-laws gave up selling their place). Seems like people are really only buying the foreclosed properties right now. So sorry it’s not going well, but perhaps the statue will work?!

Lucy
Lucy
11 years ago

We were in a similar situation five years ago. You know what worked? Getting another agent involved, when I told the original agent, she got a bit hot under the collar, then within a couple of hours, she delivered by hand a written offer from a family who had viewed the house weeks before, were semi interested and then dismissed it. She persuaded them it was a good buy in the end. I’d say that the threat of losing business to another agent is enough of an incentive to get them working really hard for you. Good luck!

JMH
JMH
11 years ago

I used that statue too! Our house was on the market for 9 months…(in 2005) buried the statue and sold in within 2 weeks..it is worth a try! ;)

Barbara
Barbara
11 years ago

Timing is always in perfect accord with the Higher Ups, even when we think it sucks.

Think of it this way – your other house (the next one) isn’t quite ready for you yet. Everything must be aligned, so it seems slow on this end, but actually it’s all in perfect progress. You’ll cross paths with your buyers, your sellers, et al, at just the right moment.

Sara
Sara
11 years ago

Get another agent. It’s been a few weeks, right? At the very least, he/she should have arranged a couple of open houses by now, including an agents-only open house. A good agent who works his/her ass off to sell your house is a must. I had an amazing agent who got me an offer for full asking price only 4 days after I listed. Unfortunately I’m on the other side of the country so he can’t help you but, seriously, look into another getting another agent.

But on the flip side, it’s just been a few weeks. There are houses that have been listed for over a year. I know it’s frustrating but a mere few weeks is not enough to feel like it’s going to be a massive failure. I’m the last person who should be talking about failure because, like I said, I sold my house in 4 days, but I do know things could have gone differently and I would need to be patient.

Carolyn
Carolyn
11 years ago

Go Joseph Go! We buried St. Joseph and we were able to sell our house within a month afterward. We actually dug him up afterward and brought him with us to our new house because we were so grateful. To this day, 4 1/2 years later, he still stands on our kitchen window sill.

crisi-tunity
11 years ago

I like what Barbara had to say about your new house not being ready yet.

For the sake of perspective, my parents owned a house in Norfolk, VA that took twelve years to sell.

Lawyerish
11 years ago

I like what Barbara said, too.

It’s so frustrating to feel like there’s no movement in the area you most need things to move, but after a period of what feels like stasis you will suddenly find yourself racing to catch up.

This *will* happen.

g~
g~
11 years ago

Leave the house in a complete disaster and that’s the day it will get a lot of traffic. The people who bought our house came on a day where I was all “fuck it”, I’ve got a baby and a busy, busy toddler and TO HELL WITH EVERYONE. And lo and behold, they paid full price.
Never-ever heard of the burying the statue thing so I was all “HUH?” Dur.

Marie Green
11 years ago

As someone who likes to peruse MLS for funsies, I can say that it’s not your photos. Your photos alone should make the right person SWOON. (Ah, I guess that’s assuming you used the photos you shared here…)

I think (??) that summer is not a great time for real estate? Specifically late summer?

Hang in there… you place is gorgeous, I still have faith for you!

Beth
Beth
11 years ago

We’re in the same freakin’ boat – we did bury St Joe. Just not so many people banging down doors to buy houses these days. At least you still have just the one mortgage, we already had to move and are rocking it out with two places!

Lisa
Lisa
11 years ago

I remember recently seeing on some show on HGTV where people who lived in a family-friendly neighborhood had been trying to sell for about 6 months. On the show, a new agent had them did several open houses and had face painters, an ice cream bar, balloons, etc. to help attract more families to their open house. Another one held a large BBQ for theirs. The agents involved all said they wanted a party atmosphere where the kids can be entertained while the parents look through the houses. They put up tons of flyers, advertised in the paper, and online. It worked for the people on the show.

Jessamyn
Jessamyn
11 years ago

I just want to say I sympathize, and this is one very small kernel of “luckiness” that I hang on to when thinking about our own situation – since there’s no way our place will sell for the amount that’s due to the bank, or even CLOSE! – there was absolutely zero pressure for us to do anything other than clean up for photos. And when our place did go on the market, the idea was that we were pricing it so high (still lower than what we owed to the bank) that our agent didn’t even expect any interest – it was just a way to have our place on the market fast, to later give proof to the bank that we’d had it on the market at a higher price that got no interest. Do hang in there. I was DREADING having to keep the place clean, the way you are having to do. You are my hero – not just for this, but for this, too – and you will get through it.

Emily
Emily
11 years ago

My realtor always said it was all about price. How does your price compare to others in the neighborhood? Is it higher or lower? Around here (NY metro area), aggressively placed prices are selling, overpriced houses are not. I also agree that August is not the best time for selling a house. Around here everyone seems to be on vacation. You’ll probably see a pickup in showings after Labor Day.

Lisa V
11 years ago

We sold our house in July after 30 days, but we dropped our price big time. There are so many houses on the market and so few buyers that it makes it hard. For the first two weeks we had very little traffic. The second two a ton because our realtor had us on the cover of the paper’s real estate section, had a huge open house and had really gorgeous photos from a real estate photographer.

One of the things she told us is that since people can’t sell their starter homes, there are much fewer buyers for the “move up” homes -which our’s was and I think your’s looks like. She said to hope for someone from out of town that could make a cash offer. That’s what we got.

Ask your agent what she could do to get people even looking- maybe an open house? I know they aren’t as successful now because a lot of people look online, but even your neighbors going through might mean that they tell others how great your house is.

Luck. I remember how frustrating it can be.

kate
kate
11 years ago

Unless your agent advises otherwise, I wouldn’t change a thing. It’s August — I’d bet half the city is on vacation and the other half is out enjoying summer. I’d suggest cutting back the daily prep if it’s wearing you out and reassessing a few weeks after Labor Day.

jen (melty)
jen (melty)
11 years ago

my house will have been on the market for 2 years come january. We have had 3 lowballs.. this summer we were so stressed out that we took the last lowball. We would have had to pay $6k out of pocket to break even and we were just so DONE, and we had moved out, put everything in storage, when they somehow managed to break the deal and back out. Now we are living in an empty echoey house trying to figure out whether to move back in or not. I finally snapped and told my husband I couldn’t take this any more… and we decided if it doesn’t sell by the time our agent’s contract runs out we’re taking it off the market for awhile. It’s a nice house and competitively priced, I just don’t get it. We have probably had less than 20 showings in those 2 years, not counting open houses.

But when you get an offer and move you’ll be glad you purged your crap.

I like to think like Barbara, that your house isn’t ready yet. It’s so hard.

I don’t think you’ll see much activity right now. Everyone’s enjoying the last days of summer and kids are going back to school and no one is going to be looking now, or even wanting to move during the school year.

Liz
Liz
11 years ago

On the upside, interest rates just hit a new low of 3ish% for a 15 year. That is going to get people who wouldn’t have otherwise thought about buying/upgrading/looking/WHATEVER doing so. So, you know: there’s that? Maybe?

Thinking of ya. Ugh, no fun at all.

Kellie
Kellie
11 years ago

I live in the northern suburbs of Atlanta, and it took me 1-1/2 years to sell my house – I put it on the market right before the downturn (October, 2007). I had a full appraisal done, and listed it for $950,000 – then the downturn started and lasted longer than any real estate agents could have guessed. I FINALLY sold the house for $740,000. It was a brutal time, and I was lucky to sell the house without having to come to the closing table without a check. Make sure you have got the house priced to sell – there are too many houses out there, and you really need to be aggressive with the selling price – and offer to pay for closing costs, or a portion of them. Hang in there – it might take a while (being real here), but you will grow to love having a clean house and keeping it clean and straight will become second nature.

Kellie
Kellie
11 years ago

One other thought – has your agent had a showing just for the real estate agents? We did this a couple of times, and it involved having a light lunch/drinks/dessert, and a door prize. But it got agents through the door so they could see the house and hopefully keep it in mind for their customers.

sheilah
11 years ago

I can certainly feel your pain. We have a house that we would dearly love to sell (we are 2000 miles away from it but had to move for work) but since the house next door is 5000 sq. feet bigger & the same price (it is a foreclosure), I figure we won’t sell for a long, long time.

Liz
Liz
11 years ago

I’m right there with you. My house went on the market almost the exact same weekend and I’ve had ONE agent showing. One. I’ve had open houses three weeks in a row and only two families stopped by. Total.

I keep second guessing everything – our agent, our photos, our price…but really? It’s the market. It’s like molasses right now.

jen
jen
11 years ago

I really think you did the right thing with getting absolutely everything done before. Our house was on the market for two years, with a three month break in the middle and during that middle break, I did A TON of things I didn’t do the first time around that I wished I had done. So at least you are going into it knowing you’ve done as much as you can. The cleaning does get old and since we had a dog, cat, and toddler, for my sanity, we hired someone to come clean once every two weeks. It was the best thing ever. It helped make the everyday quick cleaning before showings so much easier.

For what it’s worth, we averaged a showing per week during our time on the market. All for naught. So yes, obviously it helps to have showings but we had SO MANY with NOT A SINGLE OFFER. And I’m definitely not trying to one up your misery because it truly does suck any which way you cut it (unless you happen to be one of those lucky bastards that puts your house on and sells the same day) but, you know, I really sympathize and understand. I wish you better luck than we had. Really.

Jamie
Jamie
11 years ago

My family grew up moving quite a bit – so I remember “the sweep” my mom, my sister and I would do each morning on the way out the door to school. HUGE pain in the ass, that sweep is. I also remember being shuffled out the door unceremoniously to eat dinner out b/c we had a sudden showing – WHOOSH we blow out the vanilla candle and all cross our fingers while we kill time eating and doing our homework at the local Bob Evans. But never fear – we always sold eventually and I learned early that the concept of “home” doesn’t really involve a house at all. Hope everything gets resolved soon!

Angela
Angela
11 years ago

I feel your pain. My first house would not sell for a while and I ended up going to the car dealership in my backyard and offered to sell it to them. I knew they were buying out homes on my block so they could relocate the homes. My realtor still took the commission even though I ‘brokered’ the deal.

My 2nd home would not sell for 6 months and we had to move to Florida… ended up renting for one year and we ended up moving back, stayed for half a year and put it back on the market because my ex husband wanted to move closer to town. (we lived in a small town – a bedroom community) and it eventually sold… after we stuck Joseph down in the ground. I remember it didn’t take that long! Funny enough, when we made a hole to put joseph in, we realized we didn’t know which way he was facing so we decided to dig him up and position him right but ends up we couldn’t find him! We didn’t want to make a huge hole so we just made a little tunnel and dropped him in and we couldn’t retrieve him, even though we made the hole a little bigger. I have a picture of my ex husband using a shop vac trying to suck him out. The lengths we go to try to sell the house… *shaking head*.

Ends up the buyers put it back on the market about less than a year after they moved in. Maybe it’s Joseph’s work. I think the house is doomed.

My current house will be put on the market soon – hopefully. My ex is living there and fixing up what left and supposed to put on the market October but I hear rumors that he plans to not to sell the house. How? My name is on the mortgage. I see court in the future. :( I’ll sneak over and stick another Joseph in the yard. ;)

Hang in there and chose only what is important to clean.

feliciab
feliciab
11 years ago

This should make you feel a little better. Recently had some friends do the exact same thing as you. After a month they had an offer for asking price. Things moved swiftly after that until the buyers backed out 2 days before closing. By this point they were already moved in to their new abode (they were renting for the time being). They decided to rent it out. The renters also backed out 48 hours before their move in date. My friends now have to get out of their lease and move back into their old house.

Hope things get resolved soon, but remember things could always be worse :)

Steph Auteri
11 years ago

It’s so disheartening to hear that the sale of your home is going about as well as the sale of my condo. When you posted those pictures of your house, I thought it looked gorgeous!

We’ve had no interest either. And earlier this summer, I also felt that we had to rush to get the plumbing fixed, buy new air conditioning units, put the clutter in storage, give the whole unit a major cleaning, and move my cats to my parents’ garage. Since then: nada.

We’ve already found a house we love, but can’t make a move until the condo sells. And dammit, I miss my cats.

We plan on pricing more aggressively. I mean, what else is there to do? It’s just so frustrating to feel so… powerless.

Kate
Kate
11 years ago

De-lurking to tell you that I really understand what you’re going through. I bought a 1 bedroom house in 2007 right after I graduated from college. It was so cute and perfect for me! Then I got married the next summer, and pregnant (due Sept. 28!) the summer after that- oops. We’ve had our house on the market since April – and what is even more disheartening – we had about 15 people come look during the last 2 weeks of April, but once the new home buyer incentive ran out we’ve had 4 or 5 lookers. It’s so frustrating!

Renee from GA
Renee from GA
11 years ago

Your pictures are AWESOME, and I have looked at a ton of MLS listings in the past year! Put my townhouse on the mkt last October, had an offer within one week. Was under contract and began packing, having made an offer on another house, when the buyer pulled out. Very few walk throughs made me depressed until my agent started sending me the view stats from the online listing – that is how people find their houses these days. People were looking! It took 6 months, but an agressive price got the job done. It was hard to take relatively little for a house I loved and invested in for 11 years, but I like to think I was compensated by being able to buy up to a house in a lovely neighborhood I could not have afforded in any other market. I really feel for you on the clean counters and bed making thing, and wish you every bit of luck possible. Go Joseph, go!

dregina
dregina
11 years ago

I wish you the best of luck! This is pretty much the worst possible time to be trying to sell a house – the market was cleared of so many buyers by the tax credit, banks are more cautious than they’ve ever been in lending, and just about everyone who owns right now and doesn’t have to move is sitting tight on their property, waiting for the market to improve/their house value to recover. What you are experiencing is the new normal for the real estate market. There are people out there, though, and I hope one of them finds their way to you.

Eric's Mommy
Eric's Mommy
11 years ago

And that is why I doubt we will ever sell our house. It’s not even close to being as nice as yours. Hang in there.

Chris
11 years ago

Within 10 days of planting that little guy, we got two offers on the same day. Good luck!

cara
11 years ago

I have no actual personal involvement with selling houses, and have never actually bought a house, so my ideas are understandably low on the totem pole, but… Maybe another realtor? Not sure what you think about Dave Ramsey, but he has an entire network of Endorsed Local Providers listed on his website and they’re reputed to be of great motivation. Maybe worth a try, I dunno.

Jeff
Jeff
11 years ago

been there. Even had another mortgage on our books before it took forever to sell our first mortgage. Talk about poor planning and STRESS.

St. Joseph did work for us. I’m always skeptical to admit this – the sane part of my brain just describes it as a very good coincidence in timing. Coincidence or divine intervention – it got us down a sold house, and will for you too.

Hang in there.

Bobbie
Bobbie
11 years ago

Blew coffee out my nose over your quick flip on Mr. Sissy Mama boy! (You have to feel for the unfortunate woman who lands him!)
Looks like you are taking things into your own hands with the statue…Wishing you luck….. Painting the front door red will be next……….

Jenny
Jenny
11 years ago

This exact thing happened to us. It was our price. We couldn’t afford to drop the price until we saved some more money and got a little more equity, so the house sat on the market for the best part of a year while we whittled our budget down to nothing and saved for a down payment on a new house. Then we aggressively dropped the price below the local comparables and it sold in less than two weeks. We had to pay some money to get out, but we HAD the money by that point, so it was okay. But I’d say, no showings means your price is probably wonkus. At least that was our problem. Seattle might be different.

kath
11 years ago

Me too. 2 x 3 mo listings last year NO activity. Now a six month listing with an international agent hoping to draw people who might want a second or third vacation home. It is so hard. Our price on this listing is well below what we were hoping to get so fingers crossed, statues buried and all that. And we don’t have a house to go to… hopefully we can rent housing through my husband’s job. Okay, you hit a chord, long comment, but I hear you.

Deb
Deb
11 years ago

Right now is not a good time – it is summer and there are not many buyers. Our house has been on the market since the spring and we had lots of traffic up until the last couple of weeks. There has been nothing. I have given up trying to keep everything up (I also have 2 little boys) – the toys have crept back into the living room and we are once again living like we need too, not living in a staged house. I know from feedback that our house is overpriced right now and that we need to remove more furniture to make the rooms look bigger, but frankly, there is nothing on the market that I want to buy and we don’t want to be homeless, so we are not being aggressive. When I see the market heat up again (I’m hoping after Labor Day), we will go full force – lower the price, bury the statue, put all the toys away.

Good luck! Just know you are not alone and I truly think that things will pick up in a couple of weeks.

Donna
Donna
11 years ago

Guess I wasn’t the only one who thought of St. Joseph huh?

Thinking good thoughts!!!!!

Don’t worry!

Joanne
11 years ago

Ha, I seriously doubt that God only rewards those who bury statues upside down in their yards, but I suppose whatever works for you!

Our house is on the market too, just for a few weeks, and we had our first showing on Friday. So I cleaned and cleaned and I was so excited because I thought there would be some feedback that maybe would be constructive and then they wrote on Friday night and said they would ‘probably’ make an offer on Monday. We have no real plans on where to buy or anything, so were freaking out, but then we found out that the couple that came to see our house were in negotiations for a neighbor’s house and they were just sort of using our house to scare the neighbors into doing what they wanted. So now we are all sad again. And I still haven’t gotten any feedback! It’s a very frustrating time, is what I’m saying, and I feel for you. I literally follow my kids around all day, every day, picking up whatever shit they drop to the floor. I hope you have some good news soon.

robyn
11 years ago

Wait … your agent hasn’t arranged any open houses yet? I’m married to a realtor, and the first thing he does when getting a new listing is arrange a broker open house with food (they’ll show up for a free lunch, I guarantee), and market it aggressively. Public open houses rarely do much to sell a house, but getting brokers in there is really important – they have direct access to serious buyers and having them actually come to the home will help it stick in their minds for their clients. It’s also really helpful to have your agent solicit feedback from other brokers – asking whether, in their opinions, the price is reasonable, whether they see any potential impediments to a sale, etc.

Your realtor should be hungry enough for business to have created comprehensive marketing plan for your listing by now. An unfortunate number of brokers, even in this economy, are lazy-ass slackers who throw up a listing together in the MLS and then pretty much sit back and hope someone comes to them. Less reputable brokers avoid investing in adequate advertising (color newspaper ads, direct email/snail mail blasts, real estate book profiles, flyer distribution to other offices, etc) because they have to front those costs. But that’s what you’re paying a commission for, so insist. (In your case, I would also take a look at the marketing copy they’re using. That’s your profession, right? Real estate marketing copy is notoriously humdrum and you see the same old tired terms recycled endlessly. I bet you could improve on what they’re doing).

They should also be keeping a close eye on comps in your area and giving you regular reports – are other houses selling right now? If so, what was the price per square foot and how long was it on the market? If not, just how aggressively would you have to lower the price right now to expect some action? You should expect weekly communication with your broker and some assurance that he/she is keeping close tabs on the market.

If YOU have to work your ass off on a regular basis to get your house sold, your agent should too. You don’t have much control over the market, but you do have some control over making sure people know about your listing.

robyn
11 years ago

(god, that was long – sorry. I just hear this shit day in and day out from my husband, so … well, I hope it’s helpful!)