Out Where the Buses Don't Run

Rants from an urban guerilla exiled in Suburbia
MAY 25, 2009 7:54PM

Shopping For A New Home, Or: It's A Dumb Seller's Market

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Author's Note: Wow, I haven't blogged in two weeks...what the fuck!

With the economy slowly creeping back towards stability, my wife and I have decided to shop for a new home. Financially, we're in good shape; we don't need to sell our home and look for something smaller. In fact, our credit's good enough to where we can buy more and still keep the same monthly mortgage payment. Also, it's not like we don't love our home. On the contrary, we love our home. It's big enough both inside and outside for my wife, myself, our 2-year-old daughter, a dog and a cat. What does suck are our neighbors. The subdivision we live in has become something of a mixed bag. Right now, as I'm writing this, my neighbor across the street is mowing his lawn...with an electric lawn mover...and he's parked a rusted white van on his driveway. This van looks like it's seen its' share of dirty deeds; some black market smuggling, and maybe an attempted sexual assault or two...

Really, our neighbors are douchebags. They're the kinds of people that don't look after their lawns, park junkers in their driveways, and don't pick up after their dogs. If you're in a position like we are, people that will be putting their home on the market very soon, what your neighbors do with their own homes speaks volumes. If I'm a home buyer, which I currently am, I don't care if your house has hardwoods everywhere, if your neighbors don't look after their own homes, what makes you think I want to live in that neighborhood?

We're hoping to correct this situation. The quarterly Home Owners Association Meeting is scheduled to take place in a couple of weeks. Jaime and I are going to be raising holy hell about the fuck-ups we live amongst.

So what's my point to all this?

If you read all the prognostications, right now, it's a smart buyer's market.

From what I've seen so far, it's a dumb seller's market.

Incident With Dumb Seller Number One
- our buying agent, the same buying agent present during the purchase of our current home, showed us a beautiful home in a very nice subdivision. This is one of those subdivisions that's been firmly established, with pristing gardens, an inviting causeway, and lots of green. The house on the outside was perfect; I love a wide porch. The inside of the house, however, was another story. No, it wasn't a mess; on the contrary, it was immaculately decorated with throw pillows and lovely personal portraits. Except the throw pillows contained Biblical quotes, and every family portrait was taken with the American flag as its' backdrop. Their bookcases were filled with religious text and best-sellers from free thinkers (stinkers?) like Rush Limbaugh and Bill O'Reilly. In the office, a portrait of Jesus hung next to a picture of Ronald Reagan. In the kids' play room, an ominous poster - "Homeland Security: It's Your Responsibility, Too!".


Don't get me wrong, the house itself, from an architectural standpoint, was first-rate, but the artifacts inside the Bible-Thumping Patriot Museum was a bit too much to bear. What makes these people dumb sellers is, regardless of where your political persuasions may lay, or if you believe some kindly old man created the Earth in six days, filling up your house with these kinds of things is a massive turnoff, from a shopper's perspective. You don't want to look inside a house that's too impersonal, but you don't also want to shop at a home that's way too personal.

Yes, I know this makes me sound snooty, but the Yankee Doodle Dandy home's been on the market for 4 months now, and, despite its' reasonable price, something tells me the in-your-face-edness of having Jesus AND Ronald Reagan greet you at the foyer is going to turn off many more prospective buyers.

Incident With Dumb Seller Number Two - Jaime and I decide to look at some property sites where one can build a home from the ground up. We looked at one such subdivision, and were floored by the indifference and arrogance of the builder. The property agent on site was some college-aged bimbo who looked like she couldn't be bothered, and if we could please hurry the fuck up and get out because she's got to meet her sorority sisters at a club downtown like right now! She looked at us as if there was no way the builder would ever concede to our price limits, even though we were willing to work with the builder; every few minutes, another "we can't do that" came out of her stupid little mouth. It didn't take Jaime and I long to grow tired of her unwillingness to work with us. We then found out what the real deal with the builder is: of a subdivision allocated for more than 400 homes, the entire property was only at a 35% capacity. In other words, 65% of the entire subdivision remains unbuilt. Hell, even their model home was empty!

This builder showed a true lack of motivation when it comes to generating new home ownership. But that didn't matter, the houses were fuck-ugly on the inside. By the way, the property agent didn't even bother to take us to their inventory homes; she gave us the keys and a property map and sent us on our way!

Jaime and I still remain insulted by this particular builder and their bullshit. Yeah, bullshit. It's the only way to describe their dumb seller ways.

All is not lost, however. Yesterday, we met with another home builder, and they proved to be the opposite of the Dumb Seller. The agent on site spent more than 2 hours with us, answering our questions and providing us with multiple home purchase options. And she could not have been any friendlier or understanding if she tried harder. If things work out, we may sign a contract with this builder and break ground on our new home.

Still, I'm mentally preparing myself for looking at more houses and properties being offered by dumb sellers.                                                             

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Re: the second episode--wow. It seems customer service and social skills weren't part of the job requirement for that one, eh? Re: first episode--can't you and family redecorate? I mean, if the house itself is gorgeous (and assuming the neighbors aren't equally nutty douchebags--which is what I'd be more worried about), the Reagan/Jesus/Homeland Security kitsch will be packed up and gone with the current sellers, ya know? I dunno, that would have creeped me out a lot, but I don't think biblical throw pillows etc. would have been a deal breaker for me personally.

Good luck house hunting! Now's a better time than ever, huh?
It is amazing that in this buyer's market, some people behave like that. We find similar density when we house shop too.
Glad to hear things are going well and that upgrading is in order!

Do you think the dumb Bush magnets on the fridge could be what's preventing my CT house from selling?