Last summer, we got this romantic idea in our heads to sell our house FSBO (For Sale By Owner) in order to save ourselves a lot of realtor fees and, as a result, to offer the buyer a much lower price. We really wanted to decrease our chance of having a home here in CO after we moved, so we dropped the price to rock-bottom, with the condition that we were selling as-is. All those little needed repairs, paint touch-ups, landscaping, etc. would be the responsibility of the buyer. We had fixed anything critical or major, but anything else was up to the buyer. As a homeschooling family with 5 youngsters, we just don’t have time to deal with little things that don’t affect life. Then we prayed that God would send the right buyer–someone perhaps who could appreciate all the efforts we went to here to set up a little homestead and do things naturally and organically. It seemed such a sweet idea.
Unfortunately, sweet, romantic ideas are rarely reality. Our first mistake was in not accounting for buyer’s agent fees. We had originally decided not to pay any buyer agent fees, desiring instead to only work directly with potential buyers. However, we were contacted by several agents. We always turned them down until this most recent, who was convinced our house was what his buyers wanted. Unfortunately, his buyers weren’t willing to pay his fee, which meant if we were interested, we had to pay. Finally, we agreed to pay his fees, with some requirements attached. He was right. His buyers wanted our house, and submitted our first formal contract offer almost immediately, which included a fairly quick sale and allowed us to lease back. This was exactly what we had hoped for, as it unloaded a MAJOR burden from our to-do list. We really couldn’t beat the offer. Unfortunately, they decided to take a government loan. Things have quickly become a whole different ball game–more like a nightmare if you will for us as the sellers.
Based on our very experienced and professional “counselor” who has helped walk us through this contract, our second mistake was in not accounting for fees that we will have to pay for inspections and repairs. Depending on who we ask, the government loan appraiser will likely require us to pay ALL closing fees instead of the half we had originally planned, they will want full septic inspections, roof inspections, lots of ridiculously nit-picky repairs, and so forth. Let’s just say we are seeing the $$$$$$ adding up already. We don’t know the extent of the repairs, but based on our counsel’s experience, it is typical that our area’s appraisers require the exterior to essentially require a nearly brand new, relatively perfect paint job. If they find any chipping paint, they require the entire house to be painted. $$$. There’s just one big problem–it’s 20-30 degrees every day right now! We can’t do the repairs or hire them done at these temperatures! Our hands are literally tied. Our roof, while in good condition, is older. Our counsel claims it is typical for the appraisers to require a new roof. Thus, we are working on getting an inspection and guarantee to try to save some money overall. Still, those services cost $$.
We haven’t even signed the contract yet, as we had to counter based on all this new information. We’ve had to push back the close date, which essentially ties up the house in contract for several months, all because of the government loan issues. What a nightmare!! To make matters more confusing, depending on who I talk to and what I research, I am also getting told/reading that many appraisers around won’t even look at the roof or paint, while others will require not only the house painted, but the inside of the gutters as well. Most won’t look inside the house, but some may. Some may want to see our wood-pecker deterrents hanging there to show we don’t have a problem, while others will see the deterrents and frown at the fact that it means we have a problem. AAGH! This is so frustrating!
At this point, we are taking it a day at time, doing what we can as best we can to keep things moving forward. We really do like the couple, and sale seems very promising. It just isn’t the romantic idea we started out with in our inexperienced minds. So much for that idea. In the mean time, we are also going to pray hard that all paperwork gets passed through quickly, that the appraiser is not too critical of little things, that he/she is realistic and in a good mood the day they come, and if not, that perhaps God would allow them not to see whatever silly little things may possibly exist that could otherwise hinder a sale. Only God knows how this will play out, and we can only pray that He will give us peace and wisdom throughout the process.