March 31, 2011

Putting a Foot Through the Floorboards

Have I mentioned I love my real estate lady recently?  I do.  She's amazing.  If you think I'm a pitbull when it comes to getting stuff done, this woman makes me look like a poodle.  If there's a way to sell this house of mine, I'm confident that she will find a way to make it happen. 

My latest concern has been the disruption in the harmony and schedule of the household recently.  Don't get me wrong.  I love that we're getting all sorts of interest in the house, but after three weeks of daily requests to have the place vacant and available at as short a notice as 45 minutes, this is starting to take a toll on everyone in the house.  (Seriously, who thinks asking if someone can be out of their house in less than an hour is acceptable behavior?  Or, for that matter, who goes ahead and, after being told no by the showing agency, calls the listing agent and asks them to get them into the occupied house in the next 30 minutes?  Talk about throwing common courtesy out the window!)

The roommate and I had started to get a little more frustrated at the upheaval, and as such, had started getting a little short with each other.  Nothing personal, but the tension was getting to the point where we both knew we were on edge, and didn't want to take the situation out on each other.  It was time to put my foot down and make some adjustments before someone became a tower shooter.

So, last night I sent an email to my wonderful agent telling her about our concerns, and asking her if she had any ideas on how to make this a little more bearable.  We came up with some wonderful middle ground. 

First, we're going to restrict the days that the house is available for showings to twice a week; Thursdays and Sundays.  This is going to allow us to have a sense of normalcy for the moment as well as know when we can do our chores like laundry, vacuuming, and dishes.  Second, we're going to add the roommate's email address to the list of people notified when a request for a showing comes out.  That way, we both know the days and times involved, so there are no more micommunications.  Lastly, I need to write a letter authorizing my lawyer to talk to the agent about what it takes to make this sale happen.  Right now, they won't talk to her, which I understand.  But, we need everyone on board to make this go.  So, more writing for me. 

Once we get these things back into a sense of stability and have more of an idea what it will take to sell the house, we can ramp up the days the house is available if need be.  But, for now, a little peace, both of mind and of time, is going to go a LONG way.  And for that, I think all of us are thankful.

March 21, 2011

Social Media and the Kiss of Death

Regardless if you've met, or simply exchanged messages with someone, you have at some level, a relationship.  Certainly, it isn't one that can be claimed on a legal form of any kind, but something tenuous none the less.  IMs, emails, phone call, all these are wonderful tools in getting to know someone.  I used to believe that social media was one as well.  I don't so much anymore.

I use my facebook page and my blog as a place where I can let my hair down.  It's sort of an Ephemily Crib Sheet.  If you want to know what I'm like in life, that's a good place to start.  However, my opinions of being facebook friends with someone I've just met and haven't established with them that they are, in fact, an object of my potential affections has changed recently.  Here's why.  And, stay with me on this.  The ego might get a bit thick, but there's a point to it all.

I'm popular.  I could be considered a Unicorn, a mythical creature, in some circles.  I'm smart, geeky, adorable in a plus-sized pinup kind of way, and have a very deformed sense of shame.  I'm told my updates are a hoot, and get a random "hey, just saw you in traffic" texts at LEAST once a week.  At the time of this writing, I have 382 friends, all of but maybe 10% I have met in person and have known for some time.  Of that 10%, several of them are goth bands who have actually sought ME out because they thought I was funny.  Comment on one of my updates and you'd better go plug in your phone.  The responses will drain that battery faster than a woo girl downs an umbrella drink on spring break.

That's a good thing, right?  I mean, knowing the girl you're talking to is well liked should be a positive.

Apparently not.

I have a security list set up that I add all the people I've met through various dating websites to when we finally cross the threshold of social media. Of that group, I have met a total of four of them.  All of the others have withered on the vine before we could set something up.  Of those four, two of them are just casual users of the site.

I smell a statistically relevant pattern...

So, here’s my new rule.  No more friend requests till after I’m the girlfriend.  It isn’t that I don’t want you as a facebook friend.  That isn’t it at all.  What I DO want is you in my life first, then you in my friends list.  I need you to know that you’re more than just a fan.  That I’m interested in you as a person, and a presence offline first, and then maybe online.  Call it taking it slow in the digital age.

Where do I live again?

Ak.  Six showings in nine days.  I'm pooped, and barely remember where I live these days.  I'm having to pack up the dogs and vamoos from my house just about every night of the week.  However, this is not entirely bad.  It's a pain, yes.  It's hard on having any sense of normalcy, but it means that whatever this real estate agent is doing, it's working!

Flash back to the first time I put the house on the market.  I'm doing so because the bank tells me that I can't do a deed in lieu until the house has been listed 90+ days.  Ok, here we go.  Clean up the place, spit and polish what I can, donate or trash the items  I don't need or want, and hang a shingle out.  This is when I heard crickets.  Not a single bite on the place until the very last week it was listed.  Color me discouraged.  It was at that point, I was resigned to letting the house just go back to the bank.

Fast forward to earlier this month.  My new boss, who has been wonderful thus far, suggests a new tack.  (We've had some growing pains, but nothing that makes me think I can't work for the guy.)  I'm talking about all the crap going on in my life outside of work and he tells me he went to high school with an agent who could sell igloos to aborigines.    What do I have to lose?  So, a quick facebook message later, I have a new agent by the name of Jennifer Morgan, who is an absolute firecracker!

The first thing I came to learn is that the last person who listed my house had no concept of how to sell a short sale, or how to deal with someone in chapter 13.  Jennifer threw around all kinds of terms that I had never heard before.  But, that's ok.  I'm just glad she knew what she was talking about.  I can be taught.  Three days later, I had all the paperwork, forms, and phone calls made.  We're on the level with the bank and the attorney for the bankruptcy.  I have yet to write my hardship letter, but something tells me that I'll be able to knock that out once the muse that inspires my dramatic side decides her vacation is over.

A hardship letter is pretty much an emotional plea to the bank for why you can't afford to keep the place.  I never wanted to live in the neighborhood, I'm a recent divorcee, I'm in chapter 13, I have a bad back and hips that makes a tri-level difficult to maintain, and my house has seen the demise of not one, but TWO marriages.  Yeah, I've got this. 

So, the house went on the market a week ago last Thursday.  It's Monday, and I'm sitting in a Panera Bread with  my laptop and a smoothie, waiting till I can go home after the latest showing.  Don't get me wrong, I love the fact that I'm getting such a response.  Six showings in nine days is a big deal.  It's five more than the last woman got me.  But, this having to not plan anything until you know if you're going to have to abandon ship, make sure someone had the dogs for the night, and not leaving a trace that you're living in the house is wearing thin.  I don't know how long I'll be able to keep this up without cracking.

I'll admit, when I got a showing request yesterday at 2:50 for a 3:30 showing, I was a little angry.  Sure, I know that you have to live your live around others' schedules when you're trying to show a house, but really?  How is this ok?  I had to decline though since I'd settled in with a nice cold adult beverage and was watching mindless action movies at the time.  Might have been different without the suds, but as it was, nope.  Not getting in a car. 

I'm just hoping I can get working on an offer here soon.  I love that my house is getting attention, but I'd also like to get back to having a bit of a life.  Anybody want a house, cheap?