In February we decided to sell our house. We live in a hundred year old 3 bedroom 1 bathroom craftsman. Our home definitely falls in the starter home category. Last year we started thinking about selling but decided to wait until spring of 2015. Our original plan was to list the house in late March. However, back in February when we were talking to our realtor, we asked him when was the best time to sell. His answer: now. There was zero inventory. So we spent most of February getting the house ready for sale. We cleaned, painted, moved stuff to storage, and spruced up the yard. My wife did some research on staging homes and we were hopeful it would make a difference. We also moved out of the house the week we were going to list. By doing so, we would not have to keep up with the mess tornado 1 and tornado 2 generate on a daily basis. Being out of the house also meant buyers would be free to come see the house at anytime.
The big day came on March 5th. Our house went active on RMLS in the morning. Around 9:00 AM our realtor started getting a trickle of calls/texts asking to view the home. The trickle started to increase by the hour and by 11:00 AM our realtor started to have a hard time keeping up with the phone calls and texts. Eventually our realtor got flooded with requests to see the house. He was getting so many calls he told buyers they could see the house just know other people will be there.
We were pretty excited by the traffic but as the day wore on we didn’t have a single offer. By 5:00 PM we were pretty disappointed by the lack of offers. We knew the housing inventory was tight in Portland and also knew that starter homes were selling fast. We had assumed we would get a couple of offers that first day. By dinner there were still no offers, and we were bummed.
We started to wonder if a particular feature of our house was turning buyers off. Our house is a 3 bedroom, but given the fact that it is one hundred years old it has some quirks. Like a stairway to the attic being in a bedroom. That attic happens to also be our 3rd bedroom. It is admittedly a bit weird but we did not think it would turn everyone off. By 7:00 PM we were beginning to wonder.
At 7:00 I texted our realtor and asked him what was up. He had good news, he just received one offer and expected two more that night. That was great news and a good start. We had decided earlier in the day not to review offers until the end of the second day. I felt like 3 offers on day one was a great start and we were pleased.
By the evening of day two, still no more offers. Disappointment started to set in again. Three offers was nice but, honestly, I was hoping for more. We had a meeting scheduled at 8:00 PM to meet with our realtor and review offers. It was looking like we would only be reviewing three offers, maybe I had just set my expectations too high. Shortly before 8:00 PM, we got a call from our realtor. He was going to be late. He was printing out offers for us to review, and still had offers coming in as he was printing. He ended up bringing over 11 offers!
When he came over he told us just how crazy things had been. His phone was non stop text messages and phone calls all day for two days. He hadn’t seen anything like it since the bubble days (are they back?). It took us two hours to go over all the offers. Every single one was over asking price and many were significantly over.
It was not until the weekend when we ran into a realtor who showed a buyer our house and talked to our neighbors did we realize how bonkers it was. By the evening of day one according to both my neighbor and the realtor there was literally a line down the sidewalk of people waiting to view our home. The realtor told me she had never seen anything like it. When I finally came home there were 41 business cards from realtors scattered throughout the house, and that is just from the people who left cards. My wife did amazing job staging our home (I think she has future career as a stager) The realtor told us the house was immaculate and looked great.
All I can say after this experience is that I am glad I am not looking for a first time home in Portland, especially in any neighborhood that is in close-in Portland. In fact, I think one of the main reasons our house was so crazy is because my neighborhood is the last close-in neighborhood that still has some relatively affordable housing.
Now we have to look for a new home. In the meantime some friends of ours have graciously offered us their finished two bedroom one bathroom basement while we house hunt. I imagine blog posts will continue to be sporadic for the next few weeks until we get situated.
If you are looking for a fantastic realtor, who we have known and worked with for years, and advice on staging a home. Hit me up.