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Two and a half years on market and counting...

15 years ago

We put our 220+ year old house and farm on the market 2 1/2 years ago. It's a beautiful old home and we love it but it's too far from everything in our lives and requires more time than we have to spend. I drive 500-600 miles a week - too much time and money involved in that. We are actually not remote - we are only 4 or 5 miles from a nice-sized town with shopping, restaurants, a hospital, etc. Unfortunately my husbands business, my work, both of our families, and my kids school and all activities are in another town about 30 minutes away. We want to move in closer and have less to take care of. We knew it was a unique property that would need a unique buyer so didn't expect things to happen fast. We got a low-ball offer pretty quickly (78% of our then-asking price) which we countered and then heard no more about. Several developers approached our realtor with even lower offers which he didn't even present to us so much as mention in passing, since he knew we were hoping not to have the property developed.

After about 8 months on the market we thought our buyers had finally found us - we agreed on a price that was 90% of our then-asking price (down 6% from the original price due to general real estate slump and lack of interest.) We accepted an offer contingent on selling their house with a kick-out clause. The day we signed the papers I found out they were going to try to sell without an agent "for a couple of weeks" which turned into months. Long story short, after much patience on our part, a price drop to encourage them to close before a certain date, and finally an offer to trade homes with them adding $$ to make up the difference in value, they backed out. We refused to take the money they put up (only $2k) and regrouped. Our realtor got in touch with a woman who had looked at our house right about the time we took that offer, but she would also have had to make a contingent offfer which she didn't do. She came and looked again, told our agent she "had to have this house" led us to expect an offer any minute and then dropped off the face of the earth. I heard later that a house she had wanted for years had come on the market due to the owner's death.

I think we then dropped the price some more and basically had no real interest until early this year when we decided to split the property up - selling off 50 acres and keeping 24 with the house. We sold the acreage within a few months. Then we decided to list the house with 20 acres to get the price below $400,000 and reserve the 4 acres in the corner with the fabulous view. That caused a big jump in interest and we are currently under contract (contingent again - but at least their house is already on the market) for the whole 24 acres at $408 (we had listed the price for the whole 24 acres and the house for $449.) They have until the end of this month to sell their house and then the kick-out clause goes into effect. Last week someone from out-of-state who heard about the property through friends of friends came out to look at it without an agent. I showed them around but turns out they were really interested in acreage and WOULD HAVE WRITTEN ME A CHECK ON THE SPOT IF WE STILL HAD THE 50 ACRES WE'D SOLD!!!) I cried the rest of the night. (Not in front of them.)

We've had two more showings recently and one woman is coming back Friday or Saturday with her husband for a second look. I have been cleaning like a mad woman, even up chimneys and behind furniture. We did all the repainting/decluttering/super-cleaning when we listed originally, and I've kept it pretty nice (no small feat with 2 teenagers and a husband) but I'm trying to go the extra mile. I've been haunting this forum looking for ideas and advice. I really want to get this place sold! To make matters worse, after watching the local MLS for the past 2 1/2 years, the perfect house for us has popped up. We don't have a mortgage on this place, and we have some money in the bank after selling the land, but hubby is not keen on buying before selling.

I don't know if I want advice or sympathy! I am so tired of this whole situation. We have agreed that at the end of the month we are going to drop the price - not quite as low as the one in the contract, but if we're willing to sell for less, we should see if there are any more buyers out there, right? I would love for this deal we have to work out - the potential buyers have been looking for an 18th century home for 2 years, so I think they would appreciate it. The home they're selling is lovely and in a highly desirable area, but I seem to have the worst luck imaginable when it comes to things working out so I'm not optimistic. I think we made a mistake with the first contingent contract in not actively seeking other offers.

Next year my daughter will be a senior in high school and it would be so much more fun for her and so much easier on us if we didn't still live here in Outer Mongolia. (It's about 25 minutes from here to her friends' houses - no one will make the drive but us. Occasionally a parent is willing to meet us halfway.) I want to keep dropping the price until it's sold. I think hubby would prefer to hold out for more $, but it's taking such a toll on me emotionally that I've warned him he will end up losing the extra money paying for my stay in the loony bin.

This is probably too much information, but it felt good to get it all out there. I guess I just need to talk about it with someone other than long-suffering husband. If you're still with me, thanks for 'listening!'

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