Do I Need More Patience?
I was really hoping we would be one of those stories, like I’ve read so often these days, where our house was sold super quickly and we would be able to move on with our plans right away. It almost was! But no such luck. Here we are, four weeks later and I feel like we are starting over again. Probably because we ARE starting over again.
I’ve truly tried to remain patient these last four weeks. I have even just had a conversation with my 16 year old about how it’s just better to be patient when you really want something. To occupy your attention with something else and the time will just pass. So for me, patience hasn’t really been the problem with selling our house. I’ve had moments of being overwhelmed and ready to just get done with all of this, but I’ve managed to stay fairly patient. So why do I feel like we are starting over? We have just removed the listing from the market, redone the pictures and it’s being re-listed today, after being off the market for a few days. Only, we are re-listing with a new agent.
I never realized how stressful a process it would be to sell our home. From all the updating we did to it, all the money we put into it for updates and repairs, staging and getting it ready for market, listing it and then keeping it in model home condition so that we are can run out of the house at a moment’s notice if an appointment was booked to see the house. All of this is very stressful and I can see that stress taking it’s toll on my family. One thing is for sure, we are going to need a vacation when it finally does sell!
Well add to that, the feeling that Shawn and I were having that we just weren’t on the same page as our realtor. From the beginning it felt that way. Though it was about what the house should be listed for, so I thought that should be expected. I felt like it is probably common that people feel like their home should be worth more, and the realtor is there to show them why their expectations are a little high. I have never felt like my expectations where too high or that the price I felt we should be asking was too high. Our home is in a curious situation in that it’s in a housing market that is just exploding right now. The population is expanding every day. When we bought our house here 15 years ago, we moved to the outskirts of a town of about 10,000. In the last 5 years that number has grown to 60,000 and if you count the outskirts, about 80,000. The neighborhood we live in is now closer in due to things growing out this way. What used to be a 8 minute drive to the store is now a 4 minute drive to the new store. We used to be a small neighborhood of about 50 homes and that has more than doubled due to a custom home builder buying land behind our homes and expanding the neighborhood. All of this has, what we consider, skyrocketed the price of homes, property taxes and cost of living here. So if you’re looking to sell your house and move, then it should be great for you financially. Unfortunately for me, we had two homes in my neighborhood sell at the very same time for under market and extremely fast, despite no other houses doing this. This is causing a huge problem for me in that our realtor felt like we should be doing the same thing. Sell low and get it sold fast. To be fair, as she kept pointing out to us, we aren’t a custom home with high end upgrades, which is what is being built all around us now. But to be fair to me, a house on the same street as those houses, which wasn’t a custom home with all the high end upgrades sold for $80,000 more than those only a few months prior, yet I wasn’t being put into the category with that house…only the two lowest selling ones.
Now I would agree that we were over priced if we had gotten no traffic to the house, but that just wasn’t the case. In the first week we received a contract for the full asking price. For unfortunate reasons, that didn’t work. On the second week we had someone come out to view the house twice then ask our realtor if we were “motivated” because they would want to do some upgrades. Her response was we had only been on the market for 13 days. The third week we received two calls of interest. One of them came back twice and were measuring the rooms. In total we had 15 viewings of the house, not including a few from an open house and a parade of realtors. The common opinion of the majority was it was priced well, clean, staged well and nice. For some it was too far out of town, priced too high for one realtor and one didn’t like our cat roaming free in the house during showings. Overall, it was positive feedback. The traffic was there and the interest was there, but nothing was happening. The last one interested was trying to buy at the top of their price range and had not put in an offer, yet we felt like our realtor was doing everything she could to try and talk us into dropping our price, and not just a little. It just felt to us like this was the wrong selling tactic and didn’t sit right with us. It was obvious to us we just weren’t having a meeting of the minds with her and probably wouldn’t. She was determined to sell our house low and fast and we aren’t. So, it was time to find someone who thought more like we did. Nothing personal, but we are talking about the biggest investment we own.
I was already talking to someone else before we even listed the house. Someone who had been selling homes for a lot longer and this wasn’t their first listing ever. Someone who had actually sold a home in my neighborhood before. That had been doing it for so long that it isn’t just about a paycheck anymore. When I didn’t understand our realtors responses to situations that were coming up, I called him to ask him about it and his thoughts were exactly the same as mine, without me even revealing to him what I thought. He gave me his unsolicited opinion without ever asking for anything in return. Simply because we had a mutual friend who had given me his name for a second opinion. So after calling him a couple of times, it just seemed more logical to us to be working with someone who had the same train of thought as we did, rather than fighting with someone through an already stressful process. So we decided to switch realtors in the middle of the game. This meant nearly a week off the market.
So here we go again. Everything is being put back on the market today. We had a nice break of a couple of days without worry of keeping the house in show home condition (though it’s become a habit so it stayed that way anyway) and not needing to worry we may have to run out of the house in a minutes notice. It was so nice!! It will be even nicer once the house sells though, so I’m ready to start it again and will keep all my fingers and toes crossed that we will still get the traffic and the interest, but have someone working for us that believes in what we have and will work to get us the best return possible on our investment.
I’m keeping up the patience!
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No doubt those are the first thoughts of many people when I told them I would be, not only walking an almost 500 mile pilgrimage across northern Spain, but also taking my 17 month old daughter with me!
If you have not heard of the Camino, let me give you a little background on it. The Camino de Santiago, also known as the Way of St. James, is a large network of ancient pilgrim routes stretching across Europe and coming together at the shrine of the apostle St. James the Great in the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela in Galicia in northwestern Spain, where tradition has it that the remains of the saint are buried. The most popular route is the Camino Frances, which stretches 780 km (nearly 500 miles), from St. Jean-Pied-du-Port, France to Santiago. This is the route we will be walking. It is the route I am most familiar with since I walked part of it by myself back in 2012 and have spent a lot of my time researching before I walked and since then. It is the most well known route and has steadily become the most populated route with pilgrims each year.
Over the years I have gotten a lot of different responses from people when I’ve told them about my excursion. Some people cannot even begin to understand why anyone would want to throw on a backpack and walk, day after day, for a month or more. Other’s see it the way I do, as a great adventure and enlightening life experience that is unlike anything we could ever have in our everyday lives. In fact, I think more people must think this way since the Confraternity of Saint James shows the number of pilgrims receiving the Compostela (certificate you get in Santiago for walking a minimum of 100 km) has increased from 2,491 in 1986 to 277,915 in 2016! I am sure there are more than that actually walking, since not everyone who walks receives a Compostela. When I walked in 2012, I did not walk all the way to Santiago, so I did not get a Compostela, yet it is listed that 192,499 people did! That’s a huge increase of pilgrims in just the five years since I walked.
Ok, so a lot of people are into throwing on a backpack and walking a really long distance, but why throw a baby into the mix of blisters, shin splints, snoring pilgrims and long walks?……Why not?! What an amazing life experience for anyone of any age! But ok, if you have to have a reason…
My oldest daughter is 18 and graduating high school this year. She knows the life path she wants to start out on, has made her school plans, living plans, grown up life plans. She went through her school years as a smart girl, working hard to get good grades, find that thing in life she thinks she wants to do with the rest of her life, that she’s interested in and would be good at. I’m a proud momma for sure! With all of that comes a lot of stress and anxiety unlike anything I ever saw or felt when I was growing up. To my surprise, since it is completely unlike her, she decided she wanted to take a gap year. My first thought was, why not utilize some of that time for self reflection and relaxation while also exploring and learning about different cultures?! The fact that I had a toddler only discouraged me a little and only for a brief moment. I knew there were people who had walked with children, even babies before. I had seen it first hand even! When I walked the first time, there was a mother who pushed her two small children in a jogging stroller by herself, and even had their dog in tow! When I had seen this the first time, I thought it was unusual, but that the mother was brave for taking on such an experience by herself. It never crossed my mind that I might, someday, be doing the same thing. I have read blogs and social media posts of many others who had also walked with their children. Some with babies as young as only a few months old! It certainly isn’t impossible to do, so why shouldn’t I be able to do it?!
So here we are, a few months worth of preparation and training and only four days before we begin our adventure! In the next few days, I hope to post some of the experience of preparing for such a trip and then our experiences along the way.