Do You Feel Like A Prisoner In Your Own Home?

By
Real Estate Agent with Reece & Nichols

That would be ME! I don't believe I am alone these days when I say I feel like a prisoner in my own house.  The truth is, I am not happy living in my current home anymore.  My house is large and presents too much of a responsibility for two career minded people who are off working most of the time.

On the surface, life appears to be good.  But, we are imagining ourselves in some other place right now.  Like a condo or townhouse.

Our plan was to only live here for 5-7 years.  We needed the space when there were two teenagers living with us.  I can assure you that raising two teenagers is only sometimes fun.  But, fun or no fun - the time did fly by.  And, now it's time for us to think about ... well, US.    

And, just when our time became OURS...                     

...just as we started feeling like the time had come to think about selling...

...the real estate market shifted.

And, 9 1/2 years later, we're still here but our heart is somewhere else.

NO, I am not upside down on my mortgage.  I can even afford to sell at a realistic price and still have hefty proceeds from the sale.  We would not even be taking a loss.  But, I've done the math.  My house needs some work.  So, the first place we thought of turning to was our savings.  At first, we were even willing to pay the penalty on our retirement accounts.  But, when we found out how much our nest egg had shrunk.  No way!  We don't want it to shrink any more than it already has, by taking more money out of our accounts to improve our home so it will sell.  When it comes to our assets, we are trying to protect what is still there.  And, because I am a real estate agent - there is not enough cash flow these days for the necessary home improvements that are needed to get our house in a marketable condition. 

So, as I write this post from my 3000+ square foot jail cell, I guess I am resigning to the fact that I feel like a prisoner in my own house.

Drats!  I guess we'll be staying here until I sell a few more houses and the economy improves.  At least I can say that I love my husband very much - and despite it all, he actaully make a nice cellmate!     

        

  

Posted by

_____________________________________________________________________________

Carol Culkin ABR, SRES, Associate Broker (913) 333-8310

Licensed in Kansas, Missouri and New York

Carol Culkin - Associate Broker for Reece & Nichols, is your source for real estate in Overland Park and the bordering cities of Leawood, Olathe, Mission, Miriam, Lenexa and Shawnee, Stillwell and Spring Hill. Carol has been ranked as an award winning agent and offers her clients over 10 years of real estate experience.

PROFESSIONAL AFFILIATIONS, DESIGNATIONS AND COMMUNITY INVOLVEMENT:

Member of National Associations of Realtors®, Member of Kansas Associations of Realtors®, Member of Kansas City Regional Associations of Realtors®, Member of Heartland Multiple Listing Services, Member of the Women's Council of Realtors®, Member of Real Estate Buyer Agent Council (REBAC), Accredited Buyer's Representative (ABR), Seniors Real Estate Specialist (SRES), Red Cross Volunteer - Greater Kansas City Chapter, Supportor of Cross-Lines Community Outreach.

 
 

15133 Rosewood - Leawood, KS 66224

Office: (913) 905-7600
Cell: (913) 333-8310
Fax: (913) 945-3600
   
 
 
 http://www.overlandparkhomelocator.com/  
 

 “as an individual agent, these are my personal opinions and not those of Reece and Nichols.”

                                 

 

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Ambassador
1,448,080
Jennifer Fivelsdal
JFIVE Home Realty LLC | 845-758-6842|162 Deer Run Rd Red Hook NY 12571 - Rhinebeck, NY
Mid Hudson Valley real estate connection

Carol - Many are feeling this way.  I am having a fantasy of a little hut on a remote beach minus all the tools that keep us so connected...:)

Mar 23, 2009 11:40 PM #26
Anonymous
Anonymous
Anonymous

Or, you could make the repairs part of the sale price and not do them until you have a contract if they are not too major.  That way, no money up front.  One other thing to think about, even though  you may sell your house at a lower price, you can also buy another house cheaper so the prices may ofset just a bit.  Good luck. 

Mar 24, 2009 01:23 PM #27
Rainer
23,231
Dawn Bush
Exit Landmark Realty - Waldorf, MD
Southern Maryland Real Estate

Hey Carol,

I understand what you were going for here, I think.  It's not about wanting the answers to your issues with your home, you have a great grasp on those.  It's just about venting, right?  I have the opposite problem, I bought a "starter" townhouse and am still stuck in it due to life happening.  But, alas I believe all things happen for a reason and I too believe like you that I will get to where I want to be eventually.  Thanks for commiserating with us though.  I like looking at the lighter side of things as well, great point about your cell mate!

Dawn

Mar 24, 2009 06:16 PM #28
Rainmaker
312,527
Carol Culkin
Reece & Nichols - Leawood, KS
Overland Park

Dawn - Yup. I understand my options but find it funny to have other agents here tell me all the things I have been telling myself - and my own clients. Bottom line, is that because I am a Realtor, I am not just going to put my house on the market in as-is condition or offer a credit for new flooring, painting, and other updates that I know I can do for a nominal cost and might give me the staging advantage I need to be able to compete with the listings in my price range. It's also a matter of pride to have all your colleagues walk through and see your house in a not so pristine condition. Additionally, there are some agents here who suggest I take out a loan. Why would I want to go in debt to sell when I know I can ride this out and pay cash for improvements. I am not that desperate. Hey, maybe we can trade my bigger place for your starter townhouse!   

Mar 24, 2009 06:25 PM #29
Rainmaker
312,527
Carol Culkin
Reece & Nichols - Leawood, KS
Overland Park

Dawn - Yup. I understand my options but find it funny to have other agents here tell me all the things I have been telling myself - and my own clients. Bottom line, is that because I am a Realtor, I am not just going to put my house on the market in as-is condition or offer a credit for new flooring, painting, and other updates that I know I can do for a nominal cost and might give me the staging advantage I need to be able to compete with the listings in my price range. It's also a matter of pride to have all your colleagues walk through and see your house in a not so pristine condition. Additionally, there are some agents here who suggest I take out a loan. Why would I want to go in debt to sell when I know I can ride this out and pay cash for improvements. I am not that desperate. Hey, maybe we can trade my bigger place for your starter townhouse!   

Mar 24, 2009 06:25 PM #30
Rainer
70,066
Pangaea Interior Design Home Stager - Redesign - Model Homes
Portland Oregon - Portland, OR

Oh that market shift really did trap a number of us. My husband and I are living in our "forever home" as we see it. But both of us have had our businesses and our savings take huge hits and are trying not to lose the home. The difficult part here is that if we have to sell, we don't have the funds we need to make the necessary repairs, and wouldn't be able to qualify for anything else. So where would we go anyway? So, each day, 1 day at a time, I focus on making the most of my business so we will have options. Best wishes to you on eventually moving into the type of home you want.

Mar 25, 2009 07:06 PM #31
Rainmaker
280,468
Chanda Barrick
Keller Williams Indy Metro Northeast - Indianapolis, IN
in referral

Carol, Have you considered a Home Equity Loan or Line of Credit?  I have been feeling like my house was a prison for different reasons than you, but can totally understand where you're coming from.  My house has been a construction zone and the center of a crooked contractor dispute for years, and now that the judgement has been rendered and satisfied(although not in my favor (UGH!)), I feel it's time to get this place finished. 

So instead of taking a couple of dollars here and there when I have it on hand, I feel I need a lump sum of money that will let me get things done.  As a result, I'm in the process of applying for a HELOC.  I can't stand it anymore!  I have to get the place done so it will feel like home and I can put all of the bad memories behind me.  Hang in there if you don't want to go the Home Equity route; hopefully the market is on it's way to a rebound.

Mar 31, 2009 09:03 AM #32
Rainmaker
312,527
Carol Culkin
Reece & Nichols - Leawood, KS
Overland Park

Chandra - That's a great suggestion and yes, something I gave thought to. However, I prefer t have everythin PAID before selling. I'd rather have a big FAT equity check at closing rather than having to pay off a 2nd mortgage.

Mar 31, 2009 03:07 PM #33
Rainer
122,502
Julie Martin
Port City Realty - Gulf Shores, AL
Realtor, Broker - Gulf Coast Real Estate

You are so lucky that you have options. On top of the "down market" thing, I am in a house that was flooded by Katrina. Yes, it is remodeled, like all the other houses in the neighbhorhood that are not selling. If it weren't for Katrina we would probably be in a downtown condo now, but we really don't have options for the next few years. Luckily memories are short and waterfont  will come back, but for now we are stuck. You are not. You have choices that are actually not bad.

Mar 31, 2009 09:30 PM #34
Rainmaker
312,527
Carol Culkin
Reece & Nichols - Leawood, KS
Overland Park

Julie - You are so right.  It could be much worse.  Hang in there, I know it can't be easy - I was in New Orleans last month and toured the area that was heavily hit by Katrina.  I saw first hand and understand what you must be up against.  I wish you the best. And, thanks for putting things in perspective.   

Mar 31, 2009 10:27 PM #35
Rainer
3,179
Donna Ruffino
Weichert Realtors Ruffino Real Estate - Milford, PA

Nicely written

Apr 01, 2009 12:32 PM #36
Ambassador
1,124,472
Jim Crawford
RE/MAX Paramount Properties - Atlanta, GA
Jim Crawford Atlanta Realtor - Atlanta Real Estate

Well done.  Count you blessings.  I receive loads of calls from persons in smaller quarters wanting to move up but cannot due to credit issues etc.  The grass is always greener!  We sold our big home and are renting and now we are going stir crazy in smaller quarters..

Apr 01, 2009 12:58 PM #37
Rainer
54,609
Bettina Settles
Settles Team - Greenwood, IN
Your Indiana Connection

Carol, I hear you. Just the other day I thought of renting out my current home and moving into a condo.......

Bettina

Apr 01, 2009 03:03 PM #38
Rainmaker
88,147
Kathy Carson
John Stewart Walker, Inc - Lynchburg, VA
Realtor, Lynchburg, VA, VA Homes - Lynchunberg,Bedford, Campbell

Carol - I love my little fishing cottage that is about 1500 sq feet.  My clients assume I live in some kind of mansion.  I live on a little lake called - Timberlake (check my blog for pictures) -  outside of Lynchburg, VA and at last count I think there were 10 to 12 REALTORS that occupy our 200 home community.  The kids are gone and we have plenty of room for the Grandkids - heck we're outside most of the time anyway!  Good luck and I can tell you living in a small house has lots of advantages.

Good Luck - Kathy

Apr 01, 2009 04:00 PM #39
Anonymous
Anonymous
Anonymous

Hi Carol, just when I was beginning to feel sorry about not living in a house I own, I thought about the benefits of being a renter. I have a home in California that is currently leased. They call me about fix-it stuff, and refer to their business group who handle the problem at a steep discount over others in town. I live in a rental here. When i have a problem, I call the landlord and he takes care of it--from California--immediately. Could it be that you might be able to find a home that you could lease to own, and do the same with the one that you're living in?

Apr 01, 2009 07:51 PM #40
Rainer
1,665
Linda Craft, Owner/Principal Broker
Kentucky Real Estate Services - Richmond, KY

Hi Carol,

I know several REALTORS in our area that both spouses were in the real estate business and bought big houses.  Now these REALTORS are really in trouble.  Our market has not suffered as bad as the bigger areas but still has had a major setback.  My husband and I were looking to purchase a larger home a couple of years back but we decided that we would not purchase a property that could not be paid for and upkept on his salary alone.  So we had to wait.  Now with the market we have decided to try to do something but that is a hard decision on selling and maybe breaking even but then getting a great deal on another property.  I wish you the best.

Linda M. Craft

Apr 02, 2009 01:52 PM #41
Rainmaker
312,527
Carol Culkin
Reece & Nichols - Leawood, KS
Overland Park

Sherry - Thought of that but 2 neighbors beat me to it a year and two ago when the shift began. I don't want to continue this trend as I value my resale value and can only imagine that if too many rentals start becoming a trend in my neighborhood it could become less desirable over time. So far, it's been a "sought after" neighborhood and I want to keep it that way. Thanks for trying, but it's not that I haven't already considered this. Plus, it's not one of the easiest homes I have ever owned when it comes to maintaining it - even when I am living in it. I'd be a afraid a tenant just wouldn't care enought to keep me updated until issues are major.

Apr 02, 2009 06:32 PM #42
Rainmaker
118,660
Patsy Overton
Patsy Overton Interiors, Atlanta, Georgia - Duluth, GA

Carol - I feel your pain.  My only son is now in college and it's just my husband and myself in a rather large, 2 story with finished basement home.  I want to move to a ranch, but my "cellmate" is perfectly happy where we are.  I'ts definitely time to buy, but not time to sell.  In the meantime, step my step, I am staging and remodeling my own home.  Stay tuned for my story and good luck with yours!

Apr 04, 2009 01:39 PM #43
Rainer
11,660
Kent Davis
Kent Davis - RE/MAX Alliance of NM - Albuquerque, NM

Wow Carol we are in just about the identical place. For now, it's only talk about our "next" house - We do enjoy our neighborhood - if only we didn't have the highest property tax bill in the area!

Kent Davis

Apr 04, 2009 04:42 PM #44
Rainmaker
312,527
Carol Culkin
Reece & Nichols - Leawood, KS
Overland Park

Kent - I can relate to high property taxes - I'm a New Yorker and it doesn't get any worse than this.

Patsy - Based on your comments and those of Kent, maybe we need to form a new AR group "Wanabee Sellers."

Apr 05, 2009 09:13 AM #45
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Rainmaker
312,527

Carol Culkin

Overland Park
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