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6 month ESR report
Old 11-08-2010, 09:30 PM   #1
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6 month ESR report

I ESR'ed 6 months ago, DH retired completely at the end of June.

Keep meaning to report and never get around to it.

It has mostly been going well.

I am working part time about 1 day a week. That is, I go into the office one day and usually do some more work at home. This has been surprising pleasant. I am paid well to basically do the fun things about my job (still working for my former employer). When I started on the part time work I wasn't sure how long I would do it and whether I would enjoy it. What I have learned is that doing my actual work is fine. Much of what I found stressful in the past were the things surrounding the actual work and trying to juggle all the scheduling. None of that is an issue now and the work itself is fine.

DH managed to retire at the best possible moment. A month earlier and he would have had a year less service, significantly lessening his pension lump sum. A month later and for some strange reason it would have been several thousand less.

We have been very busy and I find that I still have more that I want to do than time to do it. I am finally regularly going to the gym now that I have time to prioritize those kinds of things.

We still have kids at home so that keeps us busy also.

The only negative is that we planned to downsize. We paid cash to buy our smaller retirement home which we planned to remodel extensively (had a great location). We needed to sell our current house.

Well, six months later, current house is still not sold. Worse, we found out that remodeling the other house is not feasible so we'll be tearing it down to build a new house. To do that now, we would have to take out retirement money paying a huge amount in taxes. We could do it but don't want to. So we want to take a loan out to build the new house but can't do that until we sell the existing house.

We're OK financially now. My income from the part time work covers the extra cost of living in our current home. We knew it might take awhile to sell -- even in good times houses in our area which are on acreage often take a year or more to sell. Still, we want to move on and get rid of this one particularly since it is expensive to maintain and we want to get on with building the other house.
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Old 11-08-2010, 11:52 PM   #2
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Same here. Kids at home and stuck with a big house. 6 years from now we'll chuck it all and live in an RV, or at least that's the plan this month. When you got kids at home, it's ESR whether you work or not.

How's it been emotionally? Settling in? Feeling anxious?
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Old 11-09-2010, 12:44 AM   #3
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Emotionally I haven't had any real difficulty letting go of work or any of that. I've got lots of things to do so no boredom, etc. The real stress is the fact that haven't sold our existing (large, expensive) house and we are going to incur more cost by needing to build instead of remodeling. It makes it financially tougher (still viable, just tougher) and I tend to be a worrier so I don't like that kind of uncertainty. It keeps me from being able to totally relax.

But, truthfully, I'm so busy now I wonder how I ever had time to work full time....
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Old 11-09-2010, 06:32 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by Katsmeow View Post
The real stress is the fact that haven't sold our existing (large, expensive) house and we are going to incur more cost by needing to build instead of remodeling. It makes it financially tougher (still viable, just tougher) and I tend to be a worrier so I don't like that kind of uncertainty. It keeps me from being able to totally relax.
I understand this. DH and I are remodeling our former rental. We plan to move into it then fix up and sell our current home. It will be a big relief to be down to one house.

Have you considered changing RE agents? While properties may be moving slow in your area, a good agent can sometimes work wonders.
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Old 11-09-2010, 08:19 AM   #5
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Congratulations on completing 6 months and enjoying it. There will always be problems, but that's life & the fun part is overcoming them. Okay, not the 'fun' part, but what's the alternative?

Thanks for sharing your experiences.
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Old 11-09-2010, 09:58 AM   #6
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Kats, thanks for the honest update. I can see that the one-day-a-week schedule is working wonders for you. For those not yet ESRed, I do want to add that work-related BS can be kept to a minimum though no completely removed if one works from home. I'm finding that I get just as much done if not more working more days at home. All the stupid crap people throw out about their work space, their co-workers, their dissatisfaction with life, etc. are completely eliminated. Yes, I do miss out on some gossip and pulse of the group, but for my own sanity's sake, I'll gladly make that trade off for the next few years until I ER.
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Old 11-09-2010, 10:59 AM   #7
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Looking back, and because it might help others here in planning, what were the reasons you decided to buy the second house at that time?
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Old 11-09-2010, 12:03 PM   #8
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I am going to put my "big, expensive" house on the market next month so I can relate the the stress/uncertainty of this undertaking.

Congratulations on your ESR though and please keep us posted on the sale of your home. Have a great day.
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Old 11-09-2010, 12:29 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Katsmeow View Post
The real stress is the fact that haven't sold our existing (large, expensive) house and we are going to incur more cost by needing to build instead of remodeling. It makes it financially tougher (still viable, just tougher) and I tend to be a worrier so I don't like that kind of uncertainty. It keeps me from being able to totally relax.
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I understand this. DH and I are remodeling our former rental. We plan to move into it then fix up and sell our current home. It will be a big relief to be down to one house.
This is making me reconsider the idea of buying a rental and fixing it up. Who needs all that stress?
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Old 11-09-2010, 04:03 PM   #10
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Congratulations on six months retired ! Selling houses is stressful . I hope the market turns around soon .
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Old 11-09-2010, 06:59 PM   #11
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Congratulations Katsmeow
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Originally Posted by Katsmeow View Post

It has mostly been going well.
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Old 11-09-2010, 07:11 PM   #12
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Have you considered changing RE agents? While properties may be moving slow in your area, a good agent can sometimes work wonders.
We are extremely likely to change after our listing expires in a few weeks. Probably keep it off for Christmas and then put back on. The agent has worked with us before on several transactions. I like her and she is responsive. On the other hand...

I told her repeatedly before listing the house that we wanted to list it to sell quickly and didn't want to maximize price. She suggested a price that in retrospect was at least 10% too high. I can understand getting that wrong but the comps she gave us were misleading. The days on market were too low (didn't include cumulative days for prior listings even though I asked about it). The true average days to sell was several months longer than what she had told us. Also after the broker open house we had some negative feedback on a couple of things. She told me she had noticed these but hadn't told us (even though she knew we spent over $20k getting the house ready to sell). The upshot was that we wasted our first couple of months on the market dealing with these issues.

Also, every price decrease we've done has been initiated by us. I just don't feel I'm getting much proactive feedback from her. She supplied info on comps, for example, when I've asked for it but hasn't made any suggestions.

Quote:
Looking back, and because it might help others here in planning, what were the reasons you decided to buy the second house at that time?
In retrospect, of course, it wasn't a great decision. At the time:

1. We wanted to buy in a particular area and wanted a house with no restrictions (due to our pets). The house we bought is in an ideal location and there are very few houses or vacant land in the area that meet our criteria.

2. We could buy it without going into debt and thought we would remodel it and then move into it while selling the other house. Since we have those pets which makes showing difficult we liked the idea of being able to remodel and move into new house. In actuality, it turned out that remodeling wasn't feasible and we will be building new. Living in the old house with the pets there was difficult particularly since some people will look negatively on a house with 5 dogs (they didn't come in the house but still it is an issue for many buyers). So, DH is currently living with the pets in the new house that we plan to tear down while the kids and I are in the other house. We aren't too happy about it either...

3. We underestimated how long it would take the old house to sell. Our market here is not awful like in some areas. Prices are down a little but not a huge amount. However, the sale information the agent gave me on sales misled me since it didn't include time from prior listings (I don't think this was intentional on her part but that doesn't really help). What looked like sales were taking a couple of months was really most sales taking over 6 month with many taking over a year.

4. We initially had this idea of living in the old house while remodeling the new one then moving in there. If all went well we could move seamlessly from one house to the other. However, with now needing to build a new house we prefer not to do that until we sell this house so that is another issue.
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Old 11-09-2010, 08:13 PM   #13
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I told her repeatedly before listing the house that we wanted to list it to sell quickly and didn't want to maximize price. She suggested a price that in retrospect was at least 10% too high. I can understand getting that wrong but the comps she gave us were misleading. The days on market were too low (didn't include cumulative days for prior listings even though I asked about it). The true average days to sell was several months longer than what she had told us. Also after the broker open house we had some negative feedback on a couple of things. She told me she had noticed these but hadn't told us (even though she knew we spent over $20k getting the house ready to sell). The upshot was that we wasted our first couple of months on the market dealing with these issues.

Also, every price decrease we've done has been initiated by us.
What was her response when you said you thought the price was too high? How could she justify it? I am wondering if she thinks a lower price isn't going to speed things up as much as might be hoped, and what her reasoning is.

So sorry to hear of these difficulties. Hang in there. Once it sells, this will all be behind you.
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Old 11-09-2010, 08:58 PM   #14
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In fairness, finding comps is somewhat difficult since we don't live in a subdivision with a lot of similar houses. We live in an area that is mostly custom homes on acreage and they tend to vary a lot. One house might be on 5 acres with a barn and horse ring while another house might have 2 acres but have a huge workshop. In our case, we have a guest house which isn't typical, but then we don't have a horse barn. Prices per square foot are all over the place. I think in retrospect she was optimistic and she did have comps to support the per square foot price (but there were comps the other way too). I think she wasn't sure what price to suggest and I can understand that.

On the other hand, she didn't clearly tell me how long it was taking to sell houses. I saw on the comps a relatively low days on market average but noted some listings had an asterisk and asked her if that meant it had been listed and relisted. She told me it didn't...it only meant there had been a change in the listing such as a sale price reduction. Months later I found out that this wasn't right and some of the houses that looked like they had sold in, say, a few months time had actually been listed for over a years (one was for almost 3 years!).

Then when we got feedback at the open house that pricing was too high, she didn't suggest lowering it or anything. Finally I suggested something and she agreed.

She is a very nice person and I think that she means well and truly thought the house was priced right. But I don't feel I'm getting much feedback from someone who is supposed to know more than me... Sigh.
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Old 11-09-2010, 09:06 PM   #15
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Thanks for the answer - - sorry to hear that things are going so rough with this realtor. It does sound like comps for your house that are really comparable, are not easy to find. Pricing is pretty difficult in 2010 to begin with, and that has to just make it even more difficult. I do wish you the best of luck.

As for the weird "time on the market" figures, my guess is that she just reported the statistics she had access to through the MLS (I guess?) and I am thinking that may just be the way it is provided. If so, then another realtor might have provided the same misleading "time on the market" figures. But maybe with a little digging they can come up with something more realistic. You did, after all, so they could do it too if they worked at it.
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Old 11-09-2010, 09:37 PM   #16
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As for the weird "time on the market" figures, my guess is that she just reported the statistics she had access to through the MLS (I guess?) and I am thinking that may just be the way it is provided. If so, then another realtor might have provided the same misleading "time on the market" figures..
Oh, you are right. What irritates me frankly is that I specifically asked her about it. I told her I wanted to know if the asterisk meant the house had been listed for longer. She gave me the wrong answer (I'm sure she thought it was right but it wasn't). I just think she should have asked and gotten the correct answer but I think she just answered off the top of her head. Sigh.

Anyway, this is all annoying but not cataclysmic. We knew when we listed the house that so long as we could sell it within 2 years things would be OK. I still think that. In fact, I've recently looked at numbers and really we could live here for 4 years without any long term financial harm. But I would just like to get it sold so we can move on.
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Old 11-09-2010, 09:56 PM   #17
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Oh, you are right. What irritates me frankly is that I specifically asked her about it. I told her I wanted to know if the asterisk meant the house had been listed for longer. She gave me the wrong answer (I'm sure she thought it was right but it wasn't). I just think she should have asked and gotten the correct answer but I think she just answered off the top of her head. Sigh.

Anyway, this is all annoying but not cataclysmic. We knew when we listed the house that so long as we could sell it within 2 years things would be OK. I still think that. In fact, I've recently looked at numbers and really we could live here for 4 years without any long term financial harm. But I would just like to get it sold so we can move on.
It sounds you will be able to sell it within 2 years, if not sooner (though knowing you can take up to 4 years is a big safety margin). You are motivated and willing to lower the price quite a bit, and you mentioned that your housing market is holding its own.

It's hard to psychologically "let go" of a house and then have to wait for so long for it to sell, though.
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Old 11-09-2010, 10:29 PM   #18
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Sorry you are having this problem, Kat (though I'm happy that on the whole things are going well!). I remember very well your enthusiasm about taking on the second property when you joined the forum about 6 months ago, and I also remember thinking: "Gee, I hope this all works out for them". I remember some of the misgivings that other forum members had but you were really focused on this plan and maybe (just maybe) you were seeing things with rose tinted glasses. Please don't shoot the messenger, but that's what I thought at the time.

When I ER I expect I will also be planning a move. I live in Canada where no capital gains tax is payable on the sale of a principal residence, so I want to live in my current home until it sells. My goal is to fix any deficiencies in my present home for as quick a sale as possible, without getting greedy. It's a small house in a good neighborhood with good resale values, and I bought it at a dip in the market decades ago, so I don't expect to take a bath on it. As for taking on another property, I already own one in my preferred ER location. It's rented and paying for its own mortgage. No demolition necessary; I just have to ask my tenants to leave when the time comes. And if I change my mind, it can remain an income property. Ever since becoming a homeowner, I have been determined not to be "house poor". But I know that's not for everyone.

Best of luck with the sale. Hopefully the US housing market and the broader economy will get legs soon!
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Old 11-09-2010, 10:42 PM   #19
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I remember some of the misgivings that other forum members had but you were really focused on this plan and maybe (just maybe) you were seeing things with rose tinted glasses. Please don't shoot the messenger, but that's what I thought at the time.
No, it is certainly a legitimate point. Frankly, I originally thought we would sell first then buy. DH (who tends to be more optimistic than me) thought it was fine to go ahead and buy first and there were good reasons to do it. Had we been able to remodel as planned, we would now be living in the new much smaller house.

I was ultimately willing to go along with DH on the timing particularly after I decided to work part time rather than retiring fully. With the part time work, the extra costs of the old house are covered.

The risk at times seemed like it would work out. Early on, we had buyers who had our house first on their list but had to sell their house. They did and all looked well..but it turned out the wife had not actually seen our house and she didn't like it.

And then there is the buyer who has seen it twice, reportedly has shown no interest in any other house...but still has to sell her house which hasn't yet shown.

So, it could easily have gone the other way. But regardless any time you take a risk sometimes it doesn't work out and you have to be prepared for that possibility. I could beat myself up about it but it wouldn't do much to help me now.
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Old 11-10-2010, 12:51 AM   #20
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FWIW, two homes have been for sale on our street for the past 9 months at outrageous prices. They both sold in the last 2 weeks at outrageous prices.
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