It started on Monday. Bob and I talked several times and landed on Saturday as the preferred day for the Showing.
Saturday morning at 9:30 at my office. Good enough.
You make a list of homes you are interested in seeing the inside of and I will do the same. Get them to me by Thursday, or Friday at the latest so I can call through the list and make sure we can get in.
Friday I got "The Big Box", washed and waxed and vacuumed. (That is my pet name for my trusty Lincoln Navigator)
I received the list from Bob by email early Friday. All in Kirkland or Redmond. One in Woodinville. Laura (my wonderful assistant) called through the list to let each seller know that we would be coming between 9:30 and 1:30 pm.
Several wanted to know a more exact time. I said I would call just before we came, while we were on the way, so they could vacate the house.
One said that Saturday morning was not convenient. Could we come Saturday afternoon? I thought to myself, Are you actually selling your house, or are you just pretending?
Saturday morning early it was time to hop on to www.philipleng.com to go through each and every house in the area my client was looking in. Review the house, go through each property’s pictures. Check out the neighborhood on the Google maps and Google street view which is part of the www.philipleng.com search site.
Check out each back yard, looking for busy streets, power lines, or 3 story condo buildings.
This is my fourth time looking for houses with Bob. The second time out I had asked a lot of specific questions about the yard.
How big does it need to be?
How do you want to use the yard?
Is privacy important? What does that mean to you, exactly?
Does it need to be level, or can it slope up or down?
Do you want a large flat lawn? A "throw a football" type yard? Or is it more for entertaining friends and having BBQs in the summer?
Do you like to garden? Is sunshine access important? Flowers, herbs, vegetables? Or are trees and a small area for the patio furniture enough?
So, I got my list together from www.philipleng.com . One that just came on the market this morning. One that just got a price drop into our price range. Several others that I thought were worthy of consideration.
I got to the office at 9:15 and set out all our house prospects. Then I went upstairs to hop onto www.philipleng.com one last time before he came.
The cell phone went off.
I'm here, at the front door.
I came down and we began to go over each property. We are actually trying to eliminate, I told him. Get rid of any that might not work, and find the one that is just right.
Most of my new suggestions were eliminated quickly.
One of his was a short sale that he had emailed me about a couple of weeks ago. It had been launched at an unusually low price. I had run out right away to try to get in and see the inside. The folks would not let me in. They said there was already an offer on it. That I should call the listing agent. I called, but never heard back from him. Not then. Not ever. (OK, so not all agents out there are great! Or even competent!)
But this property was back on his preferred list. So we talked about it.
The price is low. You have to know that they are asking the buyer to pay a 3% short sale negotiation fee on top of the price. That makes it go from $490,000 to $505,000. Still a good price.
Next, they will not let us in. You would have to make the offer sight unseen, and once it is mutually accepted, I’m sure we could get in. The offer that is in place will most likely NOT go to closing. Only 18% of short sales in our area last year went to closing. The bank, who will ultimately decide, doesn’t care about the list price. Or the listing agent. When they get the offer, their only consideration is, Will we be better off accepting this offer, or will we be better off taking the property back at the foreclosure sale?
I would be happy to make an offer for you. We would have a clause in there that allows us to keep looking. If we find another house we like better, we would be able to back out of our back up position.
He decides to pass on the short sale house.
We get our list together and we are off!
We see 8 houses this day. Most of them get a name. “Gold colored handles” house. “The creek” house”. “Winchester.” Several don’t get a name. They pass into oblivion as houses with no interest. Three we drive up to and decide not to even go in.
Mostly they suffer from the “large house on tiny lot with no back yard” syndrome.
I had already seen that, on www.philipleng.com, but sometimes you have to experience it before you know for sure.
On the way back to the office we were reviewing the houses by name. Why is it so hard to find a newer house, in the area I am looking for, in updated condition, with a decent sized yard?, Bob asks.
It’s our price range. What we want is abundantly available in our price range further out. It is also abundantly available in our area, but at a higher price range. So it is a compromise.
But there is a house that I held open last summer. I noticed this morning on www.philipleng.com that it just dropped under $600,000. Of course, that makes it a short sale, but it is worth looking at.
We swung by and took a look at it. It was empty now, and a little forlorn.
But it was not the perfect house either.
I will have to mull over the ones we looked at today, Bob said.
I will be doing the open house on your condo tomorrow, I replied. Afterwards, we can talk and review what we saw today…
So ended The Showing.
Tomorrow? The Open House…