This is the story of a house. It’s not a particularly unique house, given that it’s in the middle of a subdivision in the Phoenix real estate market, but it’s a house that has seen the highs and the lows of the Phoenix market.
I first saw this house back in December 2006 when I put it on the market for an out-of-town investor. What still stands out to this day is the great timing I had in scheduling the virtual tour to be photographed on what turned out to be the same day the interior was being repainted. Photographs were rescheduled and we moved on.
The house was listed in the $270s and we received an offer a little below that. Such was the state of the market that the seller passed on the offer, believing that while the market was starting to slow down, there still was time for a full-price offer to come along.
Unfortunately it didn’t … and then the market fell off a cliff.
The owners and I stayed in touch after the listing expired and each time the news about the market value was worse than the last. Free fall would be an excellent way to describe these things. And then, in September 2009, I got the call that it was time to sell the house as a short sale.
Our list price? $119,000.
It took less than a month to get an offer in place. And then it took five full months to get an approval from Bank of America. In the meantime, the would-be buyer had started to rent the house which caused some unforeseen complications. Add in some shady dealings by the buyer’s agent, who just happened to find the buyer one of her own listings even as we were set to close on this house, and the deal fell through.
In those five months the market had continued to fall, though Bank of America didn’t see it. The bank was bound and determined to get $110,000 for the house and tossed away offer after offer in the $94,000 to $100,000 range – fair market value, but below what B of A was determined to get.
Last December we surrendered and decided to let B of A have the house. Except B of A wouldn’t foreclose. Trustee’s sales were set and trustee’s sales were rescheduled.
In March, I called the owner and told them maybe it was worth one last shot. Again, we quickly got an offer in hand. This time, the buyer walked even when we got the approval in hand in about a month’s time.
Interest remained high, though, and we received another offer at our list price (and B of A’s new approved price of $85,000.) And yesterday, after more than four and a half years of trying to sell this house, escrow closed and the sellers are out from under.
The final sales price of $85,000 is a far cry from the more than $250,000 that could have been had in December 2006. And it’s quite a bit less than B of A could have had if the powers that be had been smart enough not to scoff at the $100,000 cash offers that had been received a year ago at this time.
As with most short sales, there are no winners on the sellers’ side of the equation.
But it’s done. The sellers can sleep a little easier at night. And that’s what counts.