I feel like hardly any time has passed since I last posted (in July) mostly because we have been very busy the last several weeks. Boyfriend's mom became very ill, and also ran out of unemployment at the same time, so we spent a number of weekends going up to her house to fix it up so we could put it on the market. It wasn't in bad condition or anything, just needed a lot of cosmetic stuff, cleaning, and removing a bunch of stuff from the house.
Interviewing listing agents was interesting - I felt pretty well prepared for it, having read Searchlight Crusade for years, but was surprised at how much we ended up going with the person that had the best rapport with us. We interviewed four agents altogether. They varied widely in the price they thought they could get for the house - one agent thought it would have to be a short sale, at nearly the price that a smaller, older house down the street sold for in 2 months flat, one agent thought the best price was the break-even point, and two thought that we could net more than $25,000 on it. Boyfriend and I did not think that making that much was likely, nor that it was an appropriate price given that his mom is never going to make another payment on this house and we are trying to sell it before it gets foreclosed. We ended up going with the break-even agent and listing it for a little more than break-even. I liked this agent the most because he emphasized getting it done quickly, and had a great marketing plan and lots of neat strategies (like sending postcards to people who rent in the nicer areas nearby.) When we asked one of the agents what his marketing plan was, he kind of hemmed and hawed and ended up saying that he let all the other agents in town know about the property, and listed it on the MLS. Not too impressive. The other agents that lost weren't terrible, but one of them appeared very disorganized, and actually called me about ten minutes before she was supposed to show up and was all flustered because apparently her printer hasn't worked for a few days, and should she just cancel altogether since she couldn't print out the comparables? I did not find this very professional, and mentally took off several points, but she showed up anyway, and later emailed me multiple times to show the comparables. And another one walked all around the house with us taking notes on the features, and seemed very dismissive of the house overall. I got the impression that she was used to selling bigger, nicer houses (although this house is 2,000 square feet and quite nice) and she gave the impression that she thought it needed a lot of work (which it doesn't.)
Work has been going well, if slowing down - unfortunately Boyfriend still doesn't have a job, although I guess he'd be having to take a bunch of time off to deal with his mother's problems if he did. The job market is not terrible, but there are a lot of people applying for the same jobs that he is who already have a lot of experience, so it's not exactly fair. Here's hoping the FBI calls him very, very soon.
With all this going on with Boyfriend's mom, I don't have much in savings now, which makes me nervous. I still have lots in my IRA, but don't want to pull much out - I already pulled out about $800 because my car needed repairs and there were other one-time expenses. Between Boyfriend and me, our household is really a closed economy, so when I have to spend more money, it means I have less to spend on joint expenses. We also accidentally ran up a $200+ cell phone bill (stupid T-mobile raised the price of extra minutes from about 20 cents to 45 cents, and Boyfriend had several phone interviews, and we don't have a land line) which is also not exciting. My car insurance is due next month - hopefully no more surprises. I also stopped contributing to my 401k when Boyfriend lost his job and am thinking of at least doing 1% - just to keep doing something, even if I'm missing the full match.
In pet news, the remaining guinea pig also passed away, pretty much just from loneliness. I think once a few weeks had passed, she started getting increasingly lonely, and started turning down one treat after another, till she wasn't eating anything at all. I don't think she was in any pain, just very tired at the end, and she passed quietly while she was lying on my lap, being petted, in the vet's waiting room. With Boyfriend's mom came her snortly little 9 year old pug, who hadn't been to a vet in a LONG time. Our vet noted several problems, one of which requires surgery (fixing a dropping soft palate, which causes some breathing problems), but there is neither the time, money, or inclination to fix it currently as it isn't lifethreatening. We didn't get him his shots when we went, since that's an extra $100, but I did find a mystery shopping company that does vet offices, so I'm hoping to pick up one of those and hopefully get the cost of his shots reimbursed.