Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Four Wheeler Woes

Today's post will be a digression from my usual complaints (audible sigh). Please don't think that my daily problems have been solved as they are certainly still in full swing from the stall in the sale of my house, issues finding a part-time job (rejection letter, anyone?) and my general crankiness about the turn our life has taken. I did not want you to get the impression that things were on the upswing here as I know how much you all count on me for adding a little 'happiness' into your life with my blogs.  Remember what my friend told me about how when she is feeling down, she always finds solace in the fact that she is not me. Special, huh?

Okay, enough lead in. The crux of my trouble today is my son's four-wheeler. No, not the fact that my mom bought him this 'toy' that needs to be deemed the most obnoxiously loud and intrusive toy on the planet.  Despite that ( and perhaps because I am going a little deaf from hearing it all the time), he loves to ride this four-wheeler so much and it gives him so much pleasure, I could never complain about it. Which leads me to the problem at hand. At less than a year old, it has already needed its tires replaced twice, had an issue with stalling, needing new parts and an engineering degree to replace them and now the silly thing will not go in reverse!  I have called the manufacturer so many times that they greet me by name. My file is so long it never ceases to surprise the poor customer service rep who gets stuck with me on the phone. Today's call was no different except that now the expectation is that we bring this gigantic...and dirty...four-wheeler to a repair center as the rep cannot trouble shoot the issue over the phone. First, I am exasperated as it is less than a year old and has caused more trouble than my little guy himself plus, second, I have a 'thing' about my car and keeping it clean whereby it gets washed multiple times a week (perhaps once or twice it was even washed twice in one day) and now this toy needs to go in MY car?  This is a big problem.

Basically, I am wildly annoyed that this very expensive toy has had such a problematic few months and that my usually busy little guy is wondering around like he lost his best friend...which also happened a week ago when his best friend moved off our block. What an annoying afternoon.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Deck Chairs

It has been a solid four weeks without one showing for our house and to say that I am ticked and frustrated is truly a gross understatement of the facts. Honestly, I spent a lot of time researching which realtor with whom to sign, plus I have spent countless hours de-personalizing our house and making it buyer friendly, whatever the heck that means these days (to me it means trying to be all things to all people all at the same time, a seemingly impossible task). I have consulted with said realtor, touted as the best in the business and the top seller in our area, who seems to offer nothing more than the standard 'everyone is facing this now, the market has changed' answer. Perhaps realistic enough, however, I find it terribly hard to believe that there is absolutely no one, nary a soul, looking in our price range right now who could be cajoled into coming to see our house.  I mean four weeks is pretty long dry spell, no?  No one in a month looking for a nice house, a fenced yard and a cul de sac location?  While I don't have the answers, I am certainly trying to find a way to drive traffic into our home so I am looking for more than a pat answer.

Today I received a call from my realtor's assistant informing me that the new price sheets and new photo sheets were ready.  She wanted to drop them off so that I could replace the old ones in our very pricey marketing folders we had made up for prospective buyers to take with them once they view our house. Interestingly, I had just replaced these pages a couple of weeks ago when we took the first (first being the operative word here and denoting a subsequent change as well) price reduction.  She dropped them off to me and as I was replacing the pages in the same four folders that I had from a month ago, I could not help but remember a comment a friend made to me years ago regarding doing something that was simply 'busy work.'  She said that is was like 'rearranging the chairs on the deck of the Titanic.'  I loved the line and have used it often since hearing it as it is so true. All the price changing, pretty marketing packets and de-personalization are all for naught if no one is coming to see the house in the first place.  Color me cranky tonight. 

Saturday, July 13, 2013

For Sale Sign

It seems we must have a lot of unrealized power in our city because the moment our For Sale sign went in the ground, we single-handedly shut down real estate sales in our neighborhood. Sales just dried up, nary a house was sold. I certainly hope whichever city is now experiencing a rise in home sales as a result will be grateful to us.  You are welcome.  Seriously, I find the entire selling process infuriating and frustrating. Not only do we have to open our homes to people we don't know (which is a bitter enough pill for me to swallow) but adding insult to injury, we need to deal with criticism, buyers not showing up after appointments were confirmed and price reductions.   I wish we could go back to the time when the owner and the potential buyer sat down together to negotiate a sale thus relegating the realtor, if one was even being used, to a secondary position in the process. My mom sold my childhood home for a good price and a mozzarella (the buyers owned an Italian deli), no realtor present to hamper or chime in on that interesting negotiation.

Today, even the process of scheduling a showing has become a nuisance because appointments are made via computer. Should be easier, right?  Not so much because if you cannot make an appointment, you need to check the box for 'denied.' It even sounds negative and foreboding.  Hey, wait a minute.  I am not denying any potential buyer entrance to my home but I might need to schedule the showing for a different time, no?  Then you need to call your realtor, who in turn needs to contact the potential buyer's realtor, who then submits yet another computerized request and the process starts all over again. Can't we just discuss a mutually acceptable time on the phone and eliminate all this back and forth?  It drives me crazy.

Now that I have already alienated myself from realtors in general, allow me to further dig my grave by adding that some realtors have permitted the buyers to totally dominate the entire process of selling a home. I am certainly not saying that a buyers's preferences in a new home be discounted, however, it would be nice to have your house sold to a buyer and not merely shown. Not every potential buyer has a rigid list of likes and dislikes, some can be persuaded to see homes that do not have everything they want in it or perhaps, with the right salesperson, a buyer might see potential in a home that he might have otherwise discounted.  Before the advent of the MLS system, realtors were the keeper of the keys, so to speak.  They had the photos, the prices and specs on the homes you needed to see.  Now, since we are all so computer-oriented and live in a 'more is more' society, we look over the photos online (sometimes as many as 32 photos) and then tell the realtor which homes we want to see.  In my opinion, this is the reason why some realtors have moved from a need to sell to a desire to show mode.  Oftentimes, a buyer has a preconceived idea about a house from all the photos and information he has seen online about it, but it takes a good salesperson to encourage him to see it and perhaps make the sale despite the initial reservations.

So it seems that I am again mired in something, not by unemployment any longer,  but by the state of the real estate market.  My friend, who is as opinionated as I am, often jokes that if we ruled the world, things would definitely run more smoothly. I would agree that her sentiment is quite ego maniacal and outrageous, but some days I certainly would like to give it a try.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

With Age Comes Wisdom?

My mood today is as conflicted as our weather du jour, stormy with a minute or two of sun but then back to the dark, black clouds. The past five years (yup, we have been living here that long now) have been such a roller coaster ride but it seems that for the past three, we have been rolling down the track at breakneck speed, no new climb in the tracks ahead let alone any plateau at all.  We seem to be living in a time of our lives devoid of calm, consistency or stability. It frustrates me 24/7 and despite constantly trying to change our situation in countless ways, we seem to be stuck in the downward spiral with a Munch's 'The Scream' look plastered on my face. Pretty visual, no?

In the ever lengthening list of things that tend to annoy me of late, I have discovered that change is one of them which surprises me as I have always embraced it, often seeking change over staying put or sticking with the safer option.  I suppose I craved change because it often happened selectively so that I could manage it, even savor the feeling of the difference or newness of the change. Right now, there are too many things changing at once and none by choice, just necessity.  Aren't I all sugar and spice today?  Some days I feel as though I really could use a drink (nope, migraine trigger), a month long vacation (too expensive) or simply some calm (too elusive, but I think just what the doctor might order).

If only a doctor could write a prescription for calm, but I bet the pharmacy would probably be sold out already with the luck we have been having of late.   Hopefully soon, the winds of change will turn and blow some positive energy our way because all this negative energy is really draining. I saw this quote on FB and thought it really summed up my life right now.  I am, however, eagerly awaiting the day when it will not be so applicable.

"God never gives you more than you can handle.  Apparently, these days God thinks I am a bad-ass!"