My wife and I bought our house in 1998. Although it was much more house than we needed, we saw it as a way to secure our retirement. The plan was to build equity in the house and then downsize when we retired.
When my wife retired in 2009 I asked if she was ready to downsize. She said no, she kind of liked our house. When I retired in 2012 I again asked her if she was ready to downsize. Again she declined, saying there were too many memories to leave behind and start over. After she passed away in 2015 I started to mull over making the move. Finally, in August 2017 I decided it was time.
On the recommendation of a family member I signed a contract with a realtor to sell my house. The houses in my neighborhood were sellingor less. Because of this quick turnaround I was confident that I could withdraw money from my retirement savings to purchase my next house, sell my old house and put the money back into my retirement account . This would allow me to avoid paying taxes on the withdrawal since it would be considered temporary.
The realtor I signed with failed to bring me any offers. She once told me that she couldn’t do an open house for me because she was doing one for a house she was trying to flip. I received feedback from people who told me they called about the house and no one ever called them back. Her failure has created a substantial tax liability for me, enough to negate any benefit I would have received from the down sizing.
I asked the realtor to let me out of the contract. She said the contract required me to send written notice 30 days in advance. I sent the letter. When I contacted her again to get out of the contract I was told they never received the letter and asked me to send an email. I sent an email to the email address she had been using to communicate with me, the email address of her broker she had been cc-ing, and the email address in the contract. The email address in the contract bounced back as an invalid email address. When I called her about getting out of the contract she denied receiving the email. Finally, after months of listening to her proclaim how devoted she was to her Christian faith I asked her to honor her promise to let me out of the contract. The next day the house was removed from the online listing service. From mid-August until early January she had failed to produce a single offer on the house.
The day after the house was delisted I received phone calls from five different realtors inquiring about whether or not I was still interested in selling the house. The following day I received three more calls. I set up appointments to interview all eight of them because by calling me they demonstrated the kind of determination I needed in a realtor. When I went to meet the first realtor at the house, there was a ninth realtor in the house showing it to a potential buyer. I set up an appointment to interview her later.
After interviewing nine realtors I selected Janeene DiMatteo of the Laura Strunk Team, a Keller-Williams affiliate. We had some paperwork to do and the house went back on the market very quickly. I kept getting emails that people were looking at the house, several per day.Janeene called to tell me she had an offer on the house. Unfortunately a few days later she called to tell me the financing fell through on that deal. The next day she called to tell me she had two more offers on the house. She sent notice to everyone that had looked at the house that we had multiple offers on the house and if they were interested to send their best and final offer, giving them a deadline that we agreed on. We chose the best offer and contracted for the sale. There were some small issues that came up over minor repairs, but Anne, the office manager and trouble-shooter, was in constant communication not only with the issues, but with recommendations for solutions and resources to achieve them.
I ended up selling the house for more than I was asking. At settlement Janeene was by my side asking questions and protecting my interests the whole way through.
I could not have asked for a more professional and dedicated team than these people. I strongly recommend the Laura Strunk Team to anyone buying or selling a home.