Several years ago, a dear family friend was in a financial pickle, and desperate to sell her house. She called one of those “We Buy Ugly Houses” type companies, and they made her an offer. I took one look at the contract and almost got sick. The offer price was paltry, and there were numerous loopholes that gave the company additional ways to separate her from her hard-earned equity.
I asked her for the opportunity to list the house on the open market. We listed it. It went under contract in a day, for far more than the company had offered, and she walked away with a boatload more equity, which she used to pay off bills and buy another home for her family.
Now the same “We Buy Ugly Houses” philosophy is back, but this time it’s dressed up in a prettier package, with billions in Wall Street money behind it. Now they call themselves “iBuyers”, and they are filling the airways and interwebs with ads about how you can use them to sell your house far more quickly and conveniently than traditional real estate listings.
3 years ago I had JC Penney Custom Decorating make the draperies for my new house. I was skeptical, not having shopped at JC Penney since I was a kid. But they did a great job. So when it was time to replace my window treatments, I called them again.
It didn’t go so well this time. To put it mildly.
The early problems were garden variety, but enough that I should have heard the foreboding music. The web site scheduled me for a consultation date that the decorator couldn’t actually make. During the appointment that was finally scheduled, the decorator — who has been awesome through all of this — got an absurd run-around on the phone trying to set me up on the JPC credit card.
It was clear to me that this system had problems. But I had no idea at that point how incredibly bad those problems would become.
Well, there is good news and bad news in this crazy Denver real estate market.
The good news is that, in July, inventory increased by just over 4%. The bad news is that, even with that increase, July inventory still set a record low, with only 7352 total properties on the market.
That is not a lot of houses.
What does this mean? It means there are a lot more buyers than there are homes to sell them. And so, especially in the lower price points, good listings get multiple offers, one winner, and several disappointed “losers.”
Merry Christmas, Happy New Year, and wonderful 2017! I hope you all had wonderful holidays, and that the return to “ordinary time” hasn’t been too traumatic.
My holidays were wonderful. Nice time with family, a fun New Year’s Eve party in San Francisco, and then of course the obligatory week laid out with the nasty post-holiday bug that seems to have felled so many this season.
But the little “holiday” story I want to tell today happened during the holidays, but it wasn’t particularly festive. In fact, it could have ruined a lot of people’s entire season.
I bought my house on Friday. Again. I have owned it for eleven years this month. And I have refinanced, by my count, five times.
Why? Because I want to pay it off. I want to be that cash buyer who goes to the head of the multiple bids. I want to bypass that mortgage payment every month, and write a nice check to some deserving charity instead.
If you are one of my Facebook friends, you saw a stream of prayer request posts from me last month. I had clients who were in a very complicated situation. I didn’t go into detail on Facebook, and I won’t here, but basically title issues were threatening to cause them to lose their house to foreclosure before we could close it with our buyers. The situation consumed me for well over a month. I literally spent every day looking for new solutions — and pushing forward with the multiple potential solutions we were working on. Which we eventually did — at the 11th hour— thanks to a whole lot of work, a lot of thinking outside the box, and more than a few prayers.
So imagine my displeasure when, a few weeks later, I heard a radio commercial for a “discount” real estate company that said “Most houses sell within a couple of days. Why pay an agent 6% for just a few days work?”