A real estate dilemma…

There has been more neighbor drama.  I’m not even going to bore you with the details because it’s too ridiculous.  Let me just offer you some words of advice…never buy a house with a shared driveway…you never know who you will end up sharing it with.  Anyway, after we had words with the neighbor and then words with each other on Sunday night, J and I decided that we have to step up our house hunting efforts.

I’ve told you that we are looking for a house in Connecticut…a search which has, thus far, been spectacularly unsuccessful.  Of course, we have been super picky.  You know about my symmetrical house thing, so there’s that.  But we also have a long wish list that includes things like a large, flat backyard with no wetlands or conservation easements, a basement with full-sized windows and a walk out, an open floor plan on the main level and, of course, no shared driveway.  We’ve seen every single house that fits our criteria that is currently on the market (about 10) and we didn’t like any of them.  The two houses we did like sold before we could even put in an offer.  It’s been very frustrating.

So on Sunday night, we decided to change our criteria.  Up to now, we’ve been looking for newer houses that only needed cosmetic work at most.  We didn’t want to deal with the kinds of structural issues we have with our current house and we didn’t want to do a major renovation like adding a second story or putting on an addition.  However, desperate times call for desperate measures and we are willing to consider anything. 

We still want a nice piece of property in a good neighborhood, so we did a search just for that and took out all our other search parameters and we found a house that we think might be perfect for us.  It’s small and old and the front of the house is an ugly mish-mash of architectural styles…but it is in our favorite neighborhood and the yard and property are perfect.   The house isn’t even that bad on the inside…it’s about the same as our current house…except with a bigger kitchen.  The best part…the price is almost half that of some of the other houses we’ve looked at.  Yay!

I emailed the realtor right away.  I explained that we were desperate to move due to our neighbor issues, so we decided to take our search in a different direction.  I told her how we were now thinking that renovating was a good idea and told her about this house that we liked. 

When she finally decided to respond…two days later…her response was less than enthusiastic.  In fact it was a list of what was wrong with the house…no master bathroom, no formal dining room, tiny kitchen, no curb appeal.  She thought instead we should look at another house that had just come on the market that was larger and already renovated…and was significantly more expensive.

Now, I had seen the listing she was talking about.  The house is nice and has been renovated, but it is a short sale, which means the bank has to approve the sale once you have an agreement and it can take months.  It just took one of my co-workers a year to complete a short sale.  We do not want to wait that long to move.

As for the things she pointed out in the house we like…well, neither the shower nor the toilet in our current master bathroom are usable because they leak, so it’s like we don’t have a master bathroom anyway.  We eat dinner in the living room while watching TV and we use our dining room table as a dumping ground for mail and random articles of clothing and our keys, so I’m sure we wouldn’t miss it.  And the kitchen?  The one that’s tiny?  Is twice the size of my current kitchen.  She does have me on the curb appeal, because my house is adorable and I would miss that. 

But what the realtor seems to be missing is that we would do a major renovation to this house within a few years.  All of these things she’s talking about would be fixed.  I emailed her back and told her all of this and she still tried to push us into the more expensive house.  We went back and forth three times and each time she went back to the other house.  I get it…I do.  If we buy a cheaper house, she gets less commission.  But she was really close to getting no commission.  If she hadn’t finally agreed to take me to see the cheaper house I was going to call another realtor. 

As it is, I think that if this isn’t the house for us I am going to start working with a different realtor.  I feel bad switching because she has really done a lot of work for us, but this a is a house we are talking about.  Whichever one we choose, it’s still a lot of money and I don’t like being bullied. 

We’re going to see the house on Saturday and I’ll let you know how it goes.  Please keep your fingers crossed for us.  I don’t know how much longer I can live with my horrible neighbors.


  1. I feel for you Shan, I know the desperation!
    We live in a wee, little house and (except for only having one bathroom), I mostly like it. It obviously has its challenges but with less room, we have less furniture to buy to fill it, less cleaning to do, less space for hoarding, and its always a handy excuse to go out rather than having people over.
    As for your realtor…get rid of her! I realize she has done a lot of work for you – but the fact that you are STILL looking says that she hasn’t been doing that good of a job, and now with the bullying you into a higher price range…she sounds kind of douchey.
    My fingers are crossed for you, my friend!

    • Less space for hoarding is exactly what I need! I have crap everywhere. In fact, I almost dread moving because I don’t want to pack.

      Thanks for the crossed fingers. I have a good feeling about this house…

  2. I would absolutely be looking at a different realtor. it’s YOUR house, YOUR shopping experience. If she’s not going to work for YOU and help you find what YOU want, then she’s not the realtor for you. Doesn’t she realize that word of mouth leads to more commissions for her, and that your satisfaction helps keep her in business? She sounds selfish. Good luck checking out this place – I hope something good hapens for you soon!

    • You know what’s funny…since day one she’s been asking me to introduce her to the family I work for. There is no chance of that happening now.

  3. I am keeping my fingers crossed for you that all goes well. And I’m glad you ventured outside of your original plan. As you said, desperate times = desperate measures and this way at least you’ll FEEL like you’re making some headway in your search, ya know? This could be the diamond in the rough you’re looking for!

    I am disappointed in your realtor. It’s a bad economy, and I know she has to be suffering. So she should take the commission wherever it comes. Sure, she should suggest the other, more expensive option, but if you say “thanks, but no thanks,” that’s cue for her to take you to the one you are clearly more interested in. Let us know how it goes!

  4. I hope you like it!

    Just don’t give up part of your wish list in order to move out quickly. You’ll regret it a year or two down the road when you’re stuck living in a house that’s less than ideal.

  5. I have SO MUCH to say about this, but the fact that I still have to pack the car and clean the house is going to keep me from being very longwinded. Anyway, I will first say that ANY realtor who pushes you to do a short sale is C-R-A-Z-Y. We looked at 2 lofts when I was trying to pick a condo and our Realtor (who let’s just revisit: sold our house in THREE WEEKS and helped me find a condo I LOVE in TWO DAYS), said that 1 of the lofts was a short sale. She said, “I will show it to you because you want to see it. But I am going to tell you right now that short sales are a headache and a nightmare. They could go on for months and months. Banks just let the paperwork sit on their desk and we can’t do anything until the bank moves forward. I will do them, but I think it makes us all nuts and there has to be something better out there.” Also, a Realtor who doesn’t get back to you for 2 days is worthless. Realty is all about NOW and if you don’t do it now, you may not be able to do it all. Our Realtor would text me back within 5 minutes. Always. Even on her birthday. Even when she and her daughter had the stomach flu. Even when she was on vacation. She was on call all the time. And she makes a lot of money because she does a lot of transactions. She doesn’t have to try to make a bigger commission out of one sale because she does so many. I think your idea to switch Realtors is excellent and I think you should try to find someone who is working FOR YOU. This woman is not working for you. She is working for herself. Shame on her.

    One other thing, master bathroom renovations are a humongous pain in the ass. My mom just did one. If at all possible, when you’re looking at houses, you’re going to want that to be pretty finished. Although, whatever you get, you’re probably going to want to change it anyway, so maybe just buy the cheaper house and put in exactly what you want. I hope this house is imperfectly perfect!!

  6. *FINGERS CROSSED* I can’t believe she was doing that to you – less commission is better than no commission. Good for you for sticking to your guns. Who cares if she doesn’t get the money she wants you guys have to LIVE in the house that you purchase, she doesn’t!!!

    I am always on the fence about fixer uppers – I want one in the worst way but then I think when will I have time to FIX it… if I have the money it’s one thing but I don’t.

    I’ve fallen for house after house here but we really haven’t decided where we want to have roots and as you know being flat broke isn’t really what the bank is looking for in a person when writing up loans.


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