I can hear the laughter through the internet from those of you who have lived through buying and selling your home. I knew that when we accepted our offer, technically it wasn’t selling our home. My hubby cautioned me every time I excitedly said that to a friend, so it was in the back of my mind. However, there was still a part of me that thought, “Hey! Now that we have a realtor to navigate closing, and an accepted offer, it’ll be some signing of paperwork, some inspector walking through our home, and the 40 days will be gone before I blink!” We are in the final week before closing, and I’ve been amazed at how that isn’t exactly the way it went (especially when you toss in some baby surprises). So for those of you who haven’t sold your first home yet, here are some things to be prepared for that I didn’t realize was part of the process.
Some history needs to be inserted here. Tom closed on our current house two weeks before proposing, so I wasn’t really involved in the process. Since it was a HUD home, it was not a normal buying transaction. So this past months’ experience was essentially new for both of us. We were thankful we got an offer after a few days, because what they say about it being difficult to get the house ready to show when you have toddlers is correct! You will figure this out as this blog continues (if you don’t already know me), but I’m a cook and a baker. I love anything to do with preparing a loving meal for my family and friends. That being said, my love language does not involve a cleaning rag that daily cleans everything down to the last speck of dust. So those days of needing to live in a perfect home that had few material objects visible in it to give the illusion of the stage look rather than the lived in one was challenging. If you have little kids, I’d suggest leaving as early as you can in the morning, even if you only have one or two people coming to see it that day. The house will look more like it did before the kids woke up that morning, and will be less stressful on you. The first day we didn’t leave until late morning, and trying to keep two toddlers on the couch while trying to tidy and do last minute cleaning didn’t work out as well as I’d envisioned. We were both thrilled at the thought of not having to do that again once we accepted an offer. Yet that wasn’t the case.
Here is my description of the surprises we experienced during the escrow period (in layman’s terms, or common vernacular). There are two big inspections that normally take place when buying or selling a home. First comes the home inspector, who essentially inspects everything in great detail, and tells the buyer what all the issues and problems are in his opinion with the house. Then he takes his money and is gone. The second inspection is actually the appraiser from the buyers’ bank (if they are getting a home loan). Although many people are concerned about the inspector, it is the appraiser that can say the house isn’t worth the money and will refuse to allow the loan. The inspector came within 10 days, and took several hours going over everything. Remember that it was a HUD home? We did a ton of work (knocking-out-walls-to-make-a-great-room kind of work), but basically hadn’t touched the basement. So we knew there were going to be some things the inspector would find. But the buyers knew it wasn’t a finished remodel and were fine with it. What I hadn’t planned was needing to keep the house clean for whenever the inspector would arrive. The buyer also showed up with the inspector, which put some extra pressure on. Thankfully the house was cleaned before we let the inspector into our home(we offered that he could start outside, which thankfully took a while). We then went out for breakfast while they went through the house, as Tom had worked hard finishing up some projects the night before, and we needed to be gone for the inspection. Praise God it passed and they only wanted a few things done. Then three weeks passed. Apparently the appraisers in our city take their sweet time in going to homes. Yet waiting three weeks with no word was ridiculous. If they aren’t responding, have your realtor be a persistent squeaky wheel in their ear (this was advice we received from another realtor). We finally heard that the appraiser had a week to do the appraisal. I again was trying to keep the house looking amazing, but after a few days and hearing nothing from him, I wasn’t as on top of things as I should’ve been. Again, those mommies out there with little kids need to remember that life happens, and things like getting sick or dealing with unplanned things will come up. Since the appraiser was supposed to give us a few days heads up, I should’ve just relaxed and lived life until we heard when he was coming. I got worn out those first few days, then got deflated and exhausted and didn’t care about cleaning or picking up. Saturday was a rough day, and we got a call that night saying the appraiser was coming on Sunday morning. I was so exhausted I told Tom there was no way I could pick up that night, but would get up the next morning early and do it. We both woke up, and God was gracious. We got most of the house looking like it did for the showings (except the vacuuming. Always, always vacuum early on!). So we are now waiting for the appraisers’ conclusion with a week until closing.
- Know that you should plan on more “cleaning the house” episodes during escrow, not just when you put your house on the market. If you remember that, then it won’t be as frustrating.
- Ask your realtor as often as you feel is necessary to make sure everything is flowing smoothly, especially if you have to close on your new place a few days after your current home closes. Also give the contact information if you are using different realtors for your buying and selling.
- Remember that there is only so much you can do, and that ultimately it’s in God’s hands. Whether the house looks perfect or not, He can allow it sell or not depending on His will.
Oh, and the baby surprises that could await you if you are pregnant in the middle of trying to sell and buy homes… We went in to see our midwife three weeks ago after an ultrasound was ordered. Our midwife had seen that our baby was constantly measuring several weeks ahead of schedule and wanted to make sure everything was alright. It turns out that the dating was off by 3 weeks, so our baby is now due a few days after we need to be out of our home. We thought we had planned everything pretty well so that we’d be packed and moved out of our home weeks before baby arrives. Surprise!!!
The next baby surprise came last week when we found out that we no longer have a home birth as an option, as our baby is transverse. He also might need to be induced, which would put him in our arms a lot earlier than we’d thought. 🙂 So we are off to visit the OBGYN who birthed our first two to tell him the crazy tale of how we ended up with him yet again. 😉 With several other concerns, this is the best option. And this way Tom and I will be forced to take a break from house stuff pretty much right in the middle of things needing to be done. So it’ll be like a mini-vacation! 🙂
Did you feel like your home inspector or the appraiser was more of the deciding factor in your home buying/selling experience? Any words of wisdom to help encourage those in the midst of the process?