“Have you listed your house yet?”
People we knew had been peppering us with that question for months, starting as soon as we would mention possibly selling and moving.
“No…” I would start to say, and then patiently explain that selling it would be a breeze. Zilker neighborhood properties sold so quickly that once we were on the market, we knew we would find a buyer quickly, so we wanted to wait until we were ready to deal with that. We’d been receiving unsolicited inquiries in the mail almost weekly for 2-3 years. Some even made concrete cash offers.
One sunny morning last December, I strolled over to the nearby office of Kaleido Realty to talk to the fellow who sold us our house, Peach Reynolds. As I walked in, I greeted him, saying, “You sold us our house 26 years and now we want you to help us sell it.”
He squinted a bit before responding, “That’s funny–you don’t look familiar…”
But once I told him the address, he did remember the house, and selling it to us back in 1990. He agreed to come over to the house the next day to talk with us about selling it.
We discussed the particulars we had in mind: an “as-is” sale with no repairs and no clean-up commitment. Peach indicated that should be no problem in selling to a builder, which is the route we expected. He boosted our price expectations a little, but also corrected our misconception about selling before the property taxes came due. Whereas we thought we could to sell before they were due at the end of January, those were retroactive for the prior year, so we would still have to pay the nearly $10K owed out of our proceeds from the sale. We asked about possibly taking some time, say a month or two, to move completely out. Peach described “lease-back” arrangements sometimes made as part of the sale, especially in sales to builders, “They won’t be able to start building on day 1 anyway. He indicated he knew some builders who might be interested and would call them directly before listing the property openly.
The next day, I got a call back from Peach: he already had a buyer lined up! Though there was a slightly lower counter-offer, we would get 3 months free lease-back as part of the sale. We also saved on the commission: by using Peach as the sole agent, that dropped from 6% to 4.5%. The bottom line difference to us was barely $5, 000 — easily made up by the free lease-back.
Even more fun was the identity of our buyer: a neighbor from a half-block down the street. David had built 2 side-by-side houses on our block just a year or so before to sell. While building them, though, he fell in love with the neighborhood, so he & his wife moved into and were now living in one of those houses. Buying our property would give them a larger lot and let them design a house more specifically suited to their wants and needs.
We accepted David’s offer and by Friday afternoon, he strolled up the street for handshakes — and hugs. It’s that kind of a neighborhood.
The whole sale took 28 hours. Well, closing would take awhile longer, but the deal was set.
To be continued…