Saturday, March 26, 2011
Good News and Bad News
View of our neighbor's farm.
There’s good news and bad news. The good news is, I’ve been getting a bunch of inquiries about the farm. The bad news is, nothing is happening with any of them. I have a couple of people from northern Virginia who have told me they are going to come down to look at the place but they haven’t yet. I have a couple from other states who have said they’re coming, but they haven’t yet either. A few—I don’t know where they’re from—ask me questions and I get excited because I have the right answers.
For example, “How much of the property is fenced?”
Yay! “All of it is fenced and cross-fenced, and a lot of it is board fencing—hard to find around here.”
And, “What are the neighbors like?”
Oh, good one! “The neighbors are gifts from god! They are one reason I don’t want to leave this place. Pearl and Eldon will bring you a pie when you move in, plus they’ll watch your animals whenever you go away. They’re friendly but they won’t bother you. You can’t ask for better neighbors.”
But it doesn’t matter how good the answers are. I never hear from them again.
Then I have one who is local. They did a drive-by and then they e-mailed me. They love the place. Love it! But they have to sell their place first. I have one from up in Maine who begged, “Don’t sell it to anyone else! I want it! But I have to settle some business first.” Whatever that means. Then I have a lady who wasn’t planning to move until she retires in four years but she stumbled upon my place and wants to know if it would be possible to lease it out? As a matter of fact I’ve gotten, four, count them, four people who’ve asked me if they could lease it. Plus Pearl and Eldon will keep an eye on it. Please see the above about our wonderful neighbors.
One of the people who inquired about the farm is now a friend of mine. She is not in the position to buy it, but we got to yakking on e-mail and then we got to yakking on the phone and I now have a new friend in Georgia.
I’ve even gotten another offer on it. The only people who came to see it since my deal fell through offered us the full asking price like the first people. They even admitted they were looking at it before I lowered the price and were prepared to pay that. Shoot. However, and this is a big however, they have to sell their place too. I understand I might have to take a house-selling contingency. I wanted the seller of the winery house to take a house-selling contingency from me. So I understand that. But I know that my house is going to sell. I’m in control—I know I priced it right (in fact, it’s now underpriced, reduced even below the appraisal), and I know how to market it. I have it advertised all over the place: Realtor.com, Land-and-Farm, FSBO, Owners.com, Virginia Equestrian, Virginia Horse Journal, Horse Talk, Horse News, Homes Now, HorseTopia, HorseClicks, Equine.com, Lands-of-America, Craig’s List, Facebook, you name it. I also put flyers everywhere. We even created its own website, www.SmithMountainLakeHorseProperty.com, with tons of pictures and information. This is not the first rodeo I’ve been in. This is the fifth place I’m selling by-owner. If there is anyone out there who needs a little horse farm in this price range and who is actually capable of buying it, I’m going to sell it.
But how do I know my buyer is going to do a good job selling his house if I take a contingency? I have no control over what they do to get their place sold. What if they don’t put their all into it like we do? What if they have a real estate agent who just collects listings, sits back and does nothing, hoping it’ll sell itself and if it doesn’t, well, no skin off his nose? So we called the agent to see if we could get a feeling for how things were going to go.
“Well,” he yawned. “It’s in the MLS and we run ads in the newspaper and we’re going to have an open house.”
Next we took a ride and looked at their place ourselves. It’s a nice new ranch house but it’s on a main road plus the property is wooded and hilly. Which is exactly the reason they liked ours. You have to walk way down to get to their barn and they’d love to have a real riding arena. On top of that, they were next door to a trailer with a blue tarp, torn and shredded, dangling from the roof and flapping every time the wind blew. There were dogs on chains around the trees in the front yard and stainless steel bowls, dented and upside down, were scattered about. My heart sank. I was hoping this was going to be it and we could take their offer. We looked at the comps just to be sure but I don’t have any confidence they’re going to sell that place for a long time. They’re going to have to drop their price about fifty grand, maybe more. I had to tell them to come back when they’re under a solid contract.
So I’ve got all these bites but nothing’s happening. I’ll tell you what’s going to happen. Eventually I’m going to sell it and then all of a sudden they’re all going to come out of the woodwork, suddenly they’ll all be ready and they will be heartbroken that they missed it. This always happens when I’m selling my places. Only this time, due to the market we’re in, it’s just taking a little longer. I want to tell them hurry up, hurry up, you’re not going to find anything better than this in this price range… But of course I can’t. They’ll think I’m desperate. They won’t believe me.
In the meantime, I am officially out of contract on the winery house. The seller finally signed the release forms and they are sending my earnest money back. This is good news and bad news too. It’s bad because the house is freed up now and even though giving me a house-selling contingency wouldn’t have stopped her from selling it to someone else (if someone made an offer, she would have asked us if we were ready to perform and if we still couldn’t close, she could have taken the new offer), it might have prevented other people from looking at it when they found out it was under contract.
But it’s also good because we could renegotiate when we do find a buyer for this place and who knows, maybe get the winery house cheaper. I’ve learned some things about it—taxes are even higher than I was told, homeowner’s insurance is going to be practically impossible to get… Also, it’s possible we might find something that’s even better. Trying to look on the bright side. Because I am heartbroken I might miss it just like all the people who inquired about my place are going to be if they miss mine.