Trying to Move on Up

Hello?  Is anybody there?  Oh hi!  You’re still here!  Thanks for sticking around despite my 2 week unintential hiatus.  Instead of writing about how sorry I am and promising to write more, I’ll just get right to the post.

I’ve been consumed with the idea of moving.

We’ve been in our current rowhome for 7 years.  That is 2 years longer than we predicted we’d be in the house when we first purchased it.  Granted – when we purchased it, the housing market wasn’t the craphole that it is now so we weren’t being crazy.  We thought we’d live in it for 5 years, sell it for a profit and move on to greener pastures.

Then the housing market crashed and we realized that we were screwed.

Since having Annmarie, I have felt that we have outgrown the house.  Between 2 adults, 1 very demanding toddler and 2 attention-seeking dogs… I’m going a bit crazy.  We have a 2 bedroom 1 bathroom home and I HATE IT.  In hindsight, I would have NEVER purchased a 1 bathroom house.  Worst mistake EVER.

1 bathroom wasn’t a big deal for years because I always got up extra early to hit the gym (so I got ready for work at the gym).  Having a baby changed our routine so now we’re both scrunched in the bathroom trying to get ready at the same time.

Plus – I’m dying for a yard.  I’d love for Annmarie to have some space to run around (that isn’t littered with garbage and cigarette butts) and I know the dogs would be in heaven.  Not to mention that I’ve made it no secret that I want to expand this family by at least 1 more.  WE NEED SPACE.

Jeremy and I are truly trying to make this happen but are in quite a pickle.  Our house?  Yeah – it definitely isn’t appraising for what we owe anymore.  Even worse?  There are a TON of homes for sale in my ‘hood.  There’s even a new bank of homes being built in my neighborhood selling for not much more than what we owe.

We’re basically super screwed.

We’re trying to figure out what to do.  I can’t stay in the house much longer or everyone in the house will suffer from my wrath.  Right now it is just slowly working its way up to a boil but I don’t think anyone wants to be near me when it boils.

While I recognize that we’ll have to take a loss on the house – my biggest concern is that it won’t even sell (unless we take a HUGE, I’m talking like nearly 6 figures, loss).

That leaves us with renting.  I really hate the idea of being a “landlord” and even so – we suspect we’d take a monthly loss on the rent (but maybe not much).

However, renting leaves us in a predicament for qualifying for a decent sized home loan.  If you can’t tell, we’ve already been working with someone to crunch some numbers.  While it certainly is a “buyer’s market” for homes, my standards for the next house aren’t cheap.  This next house, for me, is going to be our long-term house.  This means I need to allow for growth (because at some point, my mom will probably live with us) and it needs to be zoned in great school districts for elementary through high school.

I’ve just been in a state of stress over this for the past few weeks.  Ideally I’d like to move before the holidays and Jeremy thinks I’m being unrealistic (and I know that I am).

We’ve also got to do a ton of stuff to our house to get it any shape for selling.  Okay, maybe not a ton but one of the first things we’ll need to do is remove a bunch of stuff (and temporarily store it at my parents’ house) so that our house feels bigger.  We’ve also got to repair a fence that’s been broken for over 2 years.  And lots of touch-up painting.  And closet door fixing.  And… and… and… you get the idea.

So tell me – have you sold a house recently?  Any tips?  How painful was the process in today’s market?

And because I hate when posts without pictures, here’s a photo of Annmarie with a colander on her head.
Colander

It is amazing how much Annmarie understands.  She was playing with the colander and we said, “put it on your head like a hat” and she totally did.  And because we enjoyed it so much, she kept doing it.

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8 Comments

Filed under Charm City Kim Rambles

8 responses to “Trying to Move on Up

  1. Oh, how I hear you on this! (Being sooooooo ready to move, that is – not the whole “how to sell a house” thing, because. Dude. You’ve got us beat there, we’re still renting)

    Here’s hoping we both find ourselves in our dream homes sometime soon! (Well, for me it will be a year, once the husband is done his final leg of training…)

  2. Libby

    I haven’t sold a house recently, but from what I understand from other friends who have recently sold, I learned a few things. Can you go look at the other houses for sale and gauge the competition? At least see what other comps are like – do they have a bigger/better kitchen, larger rooms, etc. New paint, unclutter, etc. seem to be the best advice. New light fixtures and even new appliances (if you can’t do a full kitchen) are a good idea.

  3. Ugh. We’re not selling, but we’ve been looking to buy. And, I sincerely hope the market there is better than the market in Los Angeles, because as much as they say it’s a buyer’s market, we’ve found precisely the opposite to be true! We got qualified and found a realtor no problem, but every. single. place. we’ve offered (or tried to offer) on has been a no-go because there are always numerous offers, and TONS of investors with full cash payments. No joke – we’ve made two offers $5-$10k above asking, and STILL nothing. Anyway – I hope it works out for you guys! Maybe renting wouldn’t be too bad. Even at a slight loss, it might not hurt as much as selling for that much under! And there are always rental companies that can handle the landlord stuff if you want them to.

  4. If you can swing being a landlord, I recommend it. I just spent the last few weeks searching for a place to rent (over in Fed/Riverside/Locust Point) and stuff gets snatched up SO QUICKLY. That area and Canton are hot right now and rental prices are crazy high. Like, a mortgage is the same price as a rental.

    That probably doesn’t help much, but I know that people are looking to rent. In fact, I know a couple who are looking to rent in Canton now. Move this weekend!

  5. Robert Bolton

    By 6 figure loss you mean you might owe the bank 6 figures after you sell your house? Ouch! That’s a large loss.
    Scenario 1-
    Stay put for awhile to see what happens. The market is just turning around. Set up a sink and mirror in the basement and hunker down. You could make quite a beauty salon down there. Buy a really nice make-up table with 3 mirrors, stick that and a sink/medicine cabinet in the basement, along with a TV and music. You’ll be paying interest which will be wasted if the market doesn’t improve, but you might be money ahead if it does. Paying interest on an investment that won’t grow isn’t good, but by staying, you don’t have to go down the rental road, right away.
    Scenario 2 –
    Rent it out. A long time ago, some friends bought several pieces of rental property via bank loans by having tenants sign 1 year leases. The banks liked the leases. Of course the friend worked for a bank. She bankrupted by the way when the economy up here tanked in the 80s and everyone left town. Another friend got a renter who stopped paying rent, wouldn’t leave, and tore the place up. Be picky. I’d recommend not having a rental management agency handle it for you as they were the ones who rented to the bad boy. Refinance to a lower rate so rent covers the bills? Renting is a pain, and is risky, but could save you a lot of money. (how close is rent to payments?)
    Scenario 3 –
    Sell now, pull 6 figures out of savings to pay off the loss, and move on. Losing $20k is just a Toyota Corolla. Losing $100k is a lot, but you may as well do it now if you’re sure nothing will change. Will buying your next home now save you money versus waiting?

    In my small town, all homes rise and fall together. If your present home value goes up, the price of your next home might also. If that is the case there, maybe sell now or rent now is best. Selling assumes you can pay off the deficit, while renting assumes the bank will loan you what you need because your renter is bound by a lease. If renting is out, stay till you have enough cash to do what you need to do.

    That’s my muse. Maybe forget about needing to move by the holidays. You want to maximize selling price. Is spring/summer the best time to sell? Plan on next summer if so.

  6. We rented our loft last August and bought what I hope will be our mostly-forever home (we’d take a six-figure loss too, based on current estimates, although it might be getting better now). Our first renters were great–we’re hoping they stay another year. I put myself through so much hell debating this exact thing you’re writing about–it would probably require emails, Gchat or Skype or something if you want my advice/thoughts/someone to bitch to. I’m so here for you on this one!

  7. Oy, you’re scaring me lady. We’re finally starting to think about moving out of our crappy apartment and buying our first house, and our tentative game plan is do exactly what you guys did: buy an imperfect place, improve it, and sell it to afford the house we dream of but don’t have the money for. My biggest fear about buying a house is that we’ll go through exactly what you guys are going through. I hope it works out in the end!

  8. Okay, I had to post on this one. I have been following (maybe lurking is a better word?) your blog forever. You are an amazing mom- so honest and friggin hilarious. Our daughters are a month apart. We used to live in philly but we just bought a house in Columbia, MD. You should totally move out here. It’s so family friendly! There are parks everywhere and pools everywhere and amazing schools. In fact, come visit and our kiddos can play!

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