The Things It Takes to Sell a House Today

Chris was offered the job in Orlando in December and, as exciting as it was, the first thought that came into our heads was, “The house.”

In case you aren’t aware, the housing market right now?  Well, it ain’t exactly jumpin’.  In fact, its barley breathin’.  Especially in areas like Connecticut where home inflation was really soaring before the recession.  Which, coincidentally, is exactly at the peak of when Chris and I bought our home.  We over paid.  But all the cool kids were doing it at the time and so, like any fad, it seemed like the right thing to do.

Lesson.  Learned.

So, here we sat with the burning desire to get down to Florida, with a family and a job waiting for us there, and the only thing standing in our way was our beautiful, beloved three bedroom, two bath.  What had at one time been our pride and joy was now a giant ball and chain.

We met with our realtor (the same woman who sold us the house, actually) and the conversation was as depressing as the day after Christmas.  She confirmed our worst, sneaking suspicions.  We would take a huge hit on our house.  And that was the best case scenario.  Worst case?  We wouldn’t even have the opportunity to take a huge hit because we wouldn’t be able to sell it.

So, Chris and I sat down together that night and talked it over.  We decided that we had a minimum price we needed to get for our house or else we just simply couldn’t afford to move.  And we also decided not to breathe a word of the move to anyone until the house sold.  This was mostly because both of our companies were going through difficult financial times, we didn’t want our names to be anywhere near a layoff pool.  We were afraid that if word got out that we were looking to leave, they might pull the plug on one or (God forbid) both of our jobs.  And the thing about this beautiful, beloved house of ours is that we can’t afford it without our TWO salaries here in Connecticut.

These are the things in life that make me want to curl up into a fetal position and suck my thumb.

In preparation for putting our house on the market, Chris asked the position in Orlando to push his starting date back until May 1 so that we had time to sell our house.  They agreed and we called our realtor to tell her that right after the first of the year, we wanted to list our house at a ridiculously high price – higher than what we paid for it two years ago.  She tried to talk us down on the price a little bit, insisting that even if we were able to sell it anywhere near that price (and she seriously doubted we could), it would take YEARS.  But Chris and I knew we had to get a certain amount and so, we said that was our price.  She sighed and said okay.  The house was listed at least $50,000 higher than then next comparable house in our neighborhood.  It would be optimistic to say this was a long-shot.

That night after the phone call with our realtor, Chris and I laid in bed, not talking, both thinking about the roof over our head that may be the deal breaker for the next stage of our lives.  And that’s when Chris turned to me and said it.

“If we’re ever going to sell this house, we’re going to have to do something about Lucy.”

Por que?

Lucy?  My Lucy?  My beloved Lucy who I have had since I was a sophomore in college?  My beloved Lucy who had traveled the country with me?  My beloved Lucy whose internal clock is set to two important alarms: breakfast and dinner?  My beloved Lucy who violently attacked Chris the first six months we were married every time he tried to get in bed?  Lucy?  MY LUCY?

“She’s a barker,” Chris said.  “We can’t show the house with her barking viciously at people.”

FIRST of all, vicious is a little bit of an exaggeration.  I mean, she’s ten inches tall.

When I asked Chris what exactly he had in mind, he said maybe she should go stay with my parents in Florida for a couple months.  And I said maybe he should go stay with my parents in Florida for a couple months.  And then he said I was being emotional and stubborn.  And then I said he could sleep on the couch.

And we didn’t talk about it again for a while.

But in the back of my mind, I knew Chris might actually be right.  At times, Lucy has been known to be…loudly assertive, shall we say.

She’s ten inches of attitude, what can I say?  I like her.

But it was becoming increasingly harder to believe that a stranger walking through our house could envision it as their home with Lucy staring daggers and barking like a beast in the background.  Sometimes even I have a hard time envisioning this as my home with Lucy barking at me.

And I live here.

So, after three weeks of brooding at the mere suggestion of sending my first born, four-legged child away, I agreed that it was in the best interest of our family as a whole if we sent Little Lucy off to Florida, where she could instead terrorize the retirees in my parents retirement community.  In early January, Chris flew down to Orlando to meet the staff at his new job and he packed up the vicious, ten inch love of my life and hand delivered her to my parent’s house.

As much as I have missed her, Big Molly seems to be missing Lucy more than anyone.

She now just mopes around our house.  And she’s become a champion moper.  She makes Eeyor look like he’s had one too many cups of coffee.  And she follows Bean around our house like his shadow, even more than she used to.  Everywhere he goes, there she is.

This week, we’ve had to put Bean in his pack ‘n play so he doesn’t crawl off while we are packing and so Molly now feels separated from her only other friend in the world.

After a few minutes of watching Bean in his cage, Molly inevitably turns to me and gives me this look at says, “Why are you taking away all my friends?”

But as hard as Lucy being gone has been on our entire family (the fury, four-legged kind included), its really been the right decision for the following reasons:

1.  Lucy loves hot weather and sunshine.

2.  Lucy hates the cold and snow.

3.  My Grandmother feeds her bacon fat on a regular basis.

4.  Lucy loves bacon fat.

5.  Turns out, old people are as ornery as Lucy.

6.  Our house sold in seven days.

Yeah.  SEVEN days.  Our house was on the market for SEVEN DAYS.  And it sold for $7,000 more than our bottom line.  Freak accidents of real estate and divine intervention often look strikingly similar.

If you think Chris and I were happy that it sold, you should have seen Big Molly.  When she found out we would be moving to Florida MONTHS earlier than we expected, I swear I think I saw her dance a jig in our kitchen.

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49 Thoughts to “The Things It Takes to Sell a House Today”

  1. Congrats to you guys on getting it sold so quickly! We just bought our home a few months ago and we looked at 57 houses before finding this one. I can’t imagine trying to sell right now!

  2. Congratulations on selling your house that fast!! That is awesome! And I have to say, I was laughing hysterically at the part where Chris said that something had to be done about Lucy. Love it. I’m so glad everything worked out for you guys!

  3. Wow, you guys–congratulations! When Aaron and I talk about possibly moving from Tallahassee, selling the house is our biggest obstacle. Your situation gives me hope!

  4. I was wondering about the house selling thing! Congrats to you guys. And interesting move getting rid of Lucy- I’m sure it was killing you not to tell us about that all this time!

    Also, you’re moving to florida MOTHS earlier? 😉 sorry… I have this issue where I like to point out people’s faults

  5. Congratulations on such a successful sale! We’re in the same boat with our place, having bought at the height of the housing bubble. It may be a while before we can sell at our acceptable minimum!

  6. Well if you were having any doubts about leaving CT and moving to FL….this should be your sign, God wants yous in Florida honey!

  7. Looking€ oHeaven

    I love it when God is working so obviously in your life. When we made our big move our house sold in nine days. o/ When He has a plan it just all falls into place.

  8. You are soooo lucky. We’ve had our apartment on the market since after Thanksgiving! We’re hoping things will pick up when the weather gets warmer!

  9. 7 days!? That’s amazing! Sounds like God really wants you guys down in Florida ASAP! When do you get to move?

  10. That is so great! We had a similar experience in KY a couple of years ago…lots of houses for sale right on our street, but ours sold in about a week after the realtor got a hold of it (us). Congratulations! I hope your packing continues to go smoothly. You must be headed out pretty soon!

  11. As a homeowner who had a house on the market from March ’08-October ’08, has had renters from October ’08 until now, and we are FINALLY going to close this month, Lord willing and the creek don’t rise, I must say that I am incredibly jealous. But since you are such a close imaginary friend of mine, I can put my jealousy aside and juet be thrilled for your good fortune!

    AND I can also so feel your pain on being without a furry child. I know that you will all be happily reunited in the Sunshine State before you know it!

    Oh, and thank the Lord for awesome family members who will take in our wayward furry babies in the midst of moves.

  12. Congratulations on selling your house so quickly. Wow. Seven days is really fast. We had our house on the market for a year and never got one offer. Even with everything being updated and fresh. And even with our house being the nicest for sale in our neighborhood, but for a similar price as the others. *sigh*

  13. Sonya

    Really enjoyed this post. Made me laugh.

  14. Ella

    Congrats on selling the house so quickly! From your photos the house looks gorgeous so no wonder it sold so quickly.

  15. Wow!!!!! What a blessing. Good job doing the right thing. 🙂

  16. That is amazing you were able to sell your house so quickly.

    On a side note, does Chris LOVE your dog, tolerate her, or as in my husbands case hate her?

    We just had a huge fight over our dog, and we never fight.

    My husband has decided (for some time now) that he HATES our dog and I just can’t accept that. It is our fault she has issues and we are the only family she gets.

    Any suggestions on how to make your spouse LOVE a sometimes unlovable animal???

    1. Can you find a good obedience or agility class to attend? Maybe if your husband does something fun or constructive with your dog he could form a better relationship with him or her. Also, a good trainer might be able to help you work through any specific issues you are having with your dog.

      My husband and I discovered my dog runs agility better with him than he does for me. Now they have something that they can do together and it is fun for me to see their bond grow!

      1. Katie

        Oh, Chris LOVES Lucy. She just has a very distinct personality. As for obedience classes, Lucy has been kicked out of two. One for small dogs and one for large breed dogs. She’s hopeless. 🙂

        1. We did try an obedience class awhile ago. Mostly we just don’t exercise her enough and she jumps all over people when they come over. She also stalks our daughter for food and steals any food within her reach. Oh and she chews the crotch out of anything I wear. Oh wait one more thing, she barks at anyone who walks by or any animal on TV, including cartoon animals.

          So in a nutshell she is annoying. I think he is putting a little more effort out, I pulled out the big guns, tears. Next I will break out the puppy photos of her from four years ago. Wish me luck 🙂

  17. aww thats great news, cant wait to read about all the new adventures in Florida

  18. It’s amazing when you can see God working! He’s really taking care of you guys!!!

  19. Jennifer

    That’s amazing that your house sold so quickly! The homeoweners who we bought our house from had their house on the market for 6 months. But i’m also a little confused…if your house sold in January how come your moving in March? I thought things moved quicker than that. We had 30 days between when we reached an agreement on our house and when we passed papers. Maybe CT is different or you agreed to such a huge gap? Just curious.

    1. Katie

      Part of the hold up was that the buyers have an FHA mortgage which is regulated by the government, so we had to go through a few extra steps in order to get the buying price approved by the bank. Also, we pushed the date out as much as we could so that we didn’t have a huge gap between when the house sold and we quit our jobs here and when Chris started in Orlando.

      1. Jennifer

        Oh, ok. Makes sense. Thanks for answering!

  20. Congratulations! I must have been meant to be 🙂

  21. Congrats on all the planets aligning and the house selling so quickly! I completely understand the reaction to the Lucy conversation. My husband has casually mentioned getting rid of the dog (which was originally his before we got married) and I have casually mentioned divorce. End of conversation! 🙂

  22. 7 days! I hope our home sells that fast when we put it up!!!

  23. annette

    that is amazing. we had 2 realtors tell us to rent out our house for ‘a couple years’ till the market gets better. day 7 on the market. maybe today is the day??

  24. Jen

    I just found your lovely blog a few days ago and have been seriously neglecting my 3 kids and 2 doggies so I could get caught up! Thank you so much for making me laugh, making me cry and for sharing stories about your life with Chris and Bean.

    Good luck on your move back home! My hubby and I moved back into our hometown when my oldest was a baby and it was hard to leave the life we had made for ourselves but it was the best decision we have ever made…for our kids and for ourselves!

  25. Lucy

    Hi Mom – I am so excited that we are going to be
    together again in Florida. I miss you all but
    Grandma walks with me every day and gives me a
    treat when I am a good girl. I love the sun here
    but do miss Big Molly and especially my brother, The Bean!
    Hurry, hurry, hurry!
    Your loving furry daughter,
    Lucy

  26. Meghan

    Katie, this post is so well timed. We found out we are moving (unexpectedly) in 4 months. It’s what we’ve wanted for 2 years, and it’s such a positive thing for my husband’s career and our family. But when I called the realtor that helped us buy our home just over a year ago, he was all doom and gloom and was saying some of the same things you were told (“IF you can sell”, “prices are 60-80K lower”, etc.). I was almost sick to my stomach after talking to him, but after doing some research I think he’s a little off and we have another realtor coming out to give us a second opinion. Your post gives me more confidence that trying to sell a home right now, even one that you bought at the peak of prices (or a year ago, as our case may be), is not unthinkable. So thank you. 🙂

  27. Sounds like a win-win situation! Selling the house and bacon fat. Everybody’s a happy camper!

  28. Christina

    I just wanted to say congratulations on getting your house sold quicker than you thought! It definitely seems like things are moving in the right direction for you all. We have been throwing around the moving to Florida option for the past two months so this is so weird watching you all go through it 🙂 Is this a sign for us? Wish I knew!!!

  29. That is so awesome that you guys sold your house so quickly! God really has plans for you three 🙂 (ok, 5 with the doggies). Good luck with packing and the big move!!!

  30. Congratulations! What a huge burden off your shoulders.

    Good luck with your move!

  31. I can understand how stressful moving can be! I have moved 6 times to 5 different states in my short 28 years. But it is an exciting adventure each time as well. Good luck with the move! Hope everything goes smoothly 🙂

  32. Emily

    Wow, what amazing news! You guys must feel so blessed, truely a way to show you what is meant to be! Good luck with all of your changes emotionally and physically with the move! So exciting!

  33. Sarah C. H.

    “She makes Eeyor look like he’s had one too many cups of coffee.”

    Aww, poor Molly. Haha.

    Congrats on the quick sale! That’s such wonderful luck!

  34. Awesome! You are lucky beyond belief. The house we bought (a fixer-up, so different situation from your beautiful, move-in ready home) was on the market for over a year and we got a GREAT deal on it, because he was SO ready to sell! I call that Providence, or God’s hand is on you, girl! Perfect evidence that moving was, indeed, the right choice. =)

  35. We have a Lucy at our house too…except her name is Dolly. And considering the fact that she will accept nothing less than an entire post dedicated just to her…that is what I did.

    So funny to see your post today after writing mine last night.

    http://reddirtandcrazy.blogspot.com/2010/03/queen-in-all-her-glory.html

  36. Courtney

    Your post brought a tear to my eye today as I read it. My husband and I (and pets) have been through a similar situation. First of all, though, I wish to extend a heartfelt congrats on your successful-sale-of-your-home-plus-everything-coming-together-thanks-be-to-GOD situation! My husband and I recently moved at the beginning of February. Ours, however, was because we simply needed a bigger house to accommodate our growing family. In September as a family with an 18 month old and three cats who were already outgrowing our starter home, we became pregnant with our secong child. We soon realized we would need more room but were completely disappointed and disheartened with the housing market as well. We came to the conclusion that we would just have to stick it out 1 to 2 years until the real estate market picked up. In December, we happened upon a house for sale in our town that was a great house (i.e. it had the size/space we were looking for) at a price we could afford. The only problem, though, was what to do with our current house. We agonized for several weeks about it. Hearing our hearts and prayers, God soon provided us with an answer to our prayers – He provided a buyer without us even having to put our house officially on the market! God is GREAT! Soon after getting both houses under contract, My husband came to me one day and asked, “So, what are we gonna do with the cats?” My heart just stopped. I had no idea what he meant. Our cats were my first babies. I had had them since I was in college – 13 years ago! Two of them, although older, were in great shape for their age. However, one of them – the oldest and my first “baby” – had been sick for some time with digestive problems, and although we gave him medication to help with his ailments, he was still very sick. My husband voiced his concerns over subjecting a new house and (eventually) a new baby to the complicated situation we were in with this cat. I told him that I would have to think about it. After a couple of weeks of a lot of thinking and soul searching, I finally came to the conclusion that the only fair and feasable thing would be to put my first “baby” to sleep. After I told my husband my decision, we talked over our situation with our vet who agreed that our concerns over the stress of a move on top of our pet’s declining health were indeed valid. We all agreed to go ahead and out him to sleep. Now that we are in our new home, we all miss him. My now 22 month old will sometimes look around and then look at me and ask, “Where’s Pee Pie?” or he’ll point down at the cat food bowls and say, “Pee Pie’s food.” I have to tell him that he’s living with God now. One of my other cats misses him as well – they used to always be together. She walks around looking for him and has taken to sleeping with us in bed because she misses him. Although we are missing a family member, we are loving our new, bigger home and are looking forward to our new addition coming at the beginning of June. All in all, God has blessed us beyond belief! I hope your new journey is wonderful! And I know you are looking forward to being reunited with your first “baby”!

  37. Claudia

    Congrats on the house! That is great news! My mom has been trying for months to sell her house here in California and slim pign’s. She finally gave up about a month ago. I’m glad that it worked out perfectly for you!

  38. Tressa

    I’m REALLY happy for you guys!! I hope you did your “happy” dance in front of the realtor that said it can’t/won’t happen for your price 😉
    Good luck with the rest of packing

  39. MistyK

    The house we own now sat on the market (when the market was hot!) Most likely thanks to the old owners dogs. She had the most annoyingly loud ‘Champion’ border collies, who while beautiful, would get emotionally upset if Stranges entered the house. When we went to go see it, the owners realtor/ family friend had to be in the house to distract the one that they left. The other was being kenneled! But we loved the house, and put up with the other realtor listening in to us discuss closets and paint colors. Awkward? oh yeah.

    But thats wonderful that it sold in a week! That in and of its self deserves a cadbury 🙂

  40. alison

    thank goodness! congrats!

  41. Adrienne

    Katie – I couldn’t be happier for you guys. I just know that your family will be so happy in Florida, and it really does seem like it’s all coming together. Makes those sleepless nights deciding (the big kid stuff) all worth it. I always look for “signs” that what I’m doing is right – I’d definitely take this as a fantastic sign!

  42. Amy

    Congrats, Katie! What fantastic news!! 🙂

  43. Okay, just catching up on everything since I haven’t been here in awhile.

    #1. I hate you that your house sold in 7 days. Okay I don’t necessarily hate you. I’m happy for you guys that your plan worked out. Ours, unfortunately, hasn’t. Our house has been sitting on the market for over 5 months now with NO offers. I’m a little bit bitter.

    #2. You crack me up about your dog Lucy. The love you have for Lucy totally reminds me of the love I have for my Roxie. She is a 13-lb pug and she is ALL attitude. My hubby doesn’t have as much love for her as I do. He never will especially since having our son. But seriously, I think I would die without her. She has been staying with my parents a lot while we try to sell our house and I MISS her like crazy. I know, I’m one of “those” people!

    #3. I hope you enjoy living in Florida. My sis lives in WPB and so I hope to be going to Fl a lot more. I would rather live in Florida than have to suffer through another Missouri winter.

  44. adele

    I can so relate to your dog and the house sale. We had our house on the market for 1 year. Then the new house was ready and still no buyer ): But it did finally work out. Your tale was so upbeat and funny. Our dog was not a problem when buyers came in…she sat in the crate and looked soulfully at them. But she is not happy in her new home and has that pathetic look that seems to ask “When can we go home?” Hope you are happy and settling in by now.

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