As a homeowner with my property up for sale, I follow the housing market closely. An MSNBC real estate article “Existing-home sales dive, prices near nine-year low” caught my attention. For those of us trying to sell our homes, a 5.2 percent decline in sale prices is disturbing news. I fear that if this trend continues, I may not be able to sell my home.
I own a home in Raleigh, N.C. My husband and I purchased the home in December 1997 as a primary residence. This was our first home. We fell in love with the cute, three-bedroom, two-bath home on just over an acre of land. It was the ideal place to raise our family. I am a freelance writer and homeschool mom. My husband is employed full-time at NCR.
We moved from Raleigh, N.C. to Centerton, Ark. in 2009. because my husband found a good paying job at NCR after being unemployed for almost two years. This left us in a situation where we needed to either sell the house or rent it out. I did not want it sitting empty and unattended. At that time, my daughter and her husband were looking for a place to rent. They were expecting their first child and we thought it would benefit everyone if they rented the house from us.
Turns out this was not such a great idea. My daughter, Kim, moved out and the couple divorced. Because Trevor, my ex-son-in-law, had custody of my granddaughter, I did not ask him to leave. A few months later, Trevor moved out without notice and left the house with holes in the walls and broken windows. He removed carpeting and the baseboards from the family room. It took a while to get this repaired. This prompted us to put the house on the market. That is when we consulted the realtor.
My first attempt at selling the home two years ago was highly unsuccessful and rather depressing. I called Joanne Austin, a realtor associated with Fonville Morrissey. We were hoping to put the house on the market for $190,000. I was surprised to find out that in order to sell the house at all, we would be required to update all of the systems in the house and landscape the front yard. When I explained to her that my current financial situation prevented that, she declined the opportunity to be our listing agent. My reason for going to Joann first was that she was our buyer’s agent when we originally purchased the home. Renting the home became my only option.
Fast forward to 2011 – Kim and her boyfriend, Justin, are the tenants. Renting to them was a huge mistake. The rent is constantly late or not paid at all. They refuse to send pictures of the house when asked. There are times that I have to send in repair people and everytime this happens I am told by the contractors that my tenants are impossible to work with. They either do not return phone calls or they will not allow them access in a reasonable time frame. Right now, rent is 1 month in arrears. It infuriates me that my daughter can purchase a 2004 car for $11,000 but then tells me they can’t pay the rent because of car and truck payments. Whether rent gets paid or not, I still have to pay the mortgage. My daughter is taking advantage of this situation and it is an endless source of frustration.
I am working with a realtor in Raleigh, Linda Craft, to sell the home. Our price range is $165,000 to $180,000. We are in the process finalizing the listing. I am confident we will be able to sell the home this time. Unfortunately, I need to sell the home quickly as I cannot afford to have it sit without income. I may have to find tenants that actually pay the rent. Craft’s office offers property management services. We are discussing that option as well.
The house is a total of 2,200 square feet. Approximately 1,500 square feet is heated living space. It is a ranch home with a full basement. Upstairs there are three bedrooms and two full baths. Downstairs includes a large family room with French doors and a bonus room. There is a large, fenced yard. I am fortunate that there is equity in the home and that I am current on my mortgage payments.
This experience has taught me several things. First, never rent to family members. Nothing positive can come from this. Second, it is very difficult to manage a property from 1,100 miles away. Third, find a great realtor to help you sell your home. We are currently looking to purchase a home in Northwest Arkansas.
Sources: MSNBC “Existing-home sales dice; prices near none-year low”