Yes, the delayed escrow of 16 days was nerve-rattling, especially since we’d already moved. But the circumstances of our home sale were, especially considering the current real estate situation, quite extraordinary.
We had been thinking about selling when, out of the blue, a real estate agent approached us, saying he had a client who loved our house and would we consider selling.? We said yes, and the house sold for more than we paid for it 16 months ago, as the part of Connecticut we were in still has prices rising slightly. Contrast that with the house we sold in Los Angeles 16 months ago. It has dropped 30% in value since then.
Will prices keep rising in Connecticut? I doubt it. True, it’s a prosperous state, even if now the middle and upper middle class are getting squeezed too. But the real estate malaise that is affecting much of the country can not help but hit Connecticut, especially when you factor in the nose bleed property tax rates (at least double that of California) and the exorbitant price of electricity and skyrocketing heating oil prices. We just paid $3.69 a gallon for heating oil on May 5. Last year the price was $1.95 a gallon. Ouch. Many people flat couldn’t afford it and kept their thermostats at 55 degrees all winter.
California is of course getting whacked by the real estate slump, which is affecting revenues adversely at the local, country, and state level. We are renting now, and have a good chunk of money in the bank to tide us through any bad times.
Many are not so lucky. I have friends who have lost homes. You probably do too. Others, who never could afford a home at all, may be getting crushed by credit card debt.
During those 16 days when we didn’t know if the house would actually be sold, and if it didn’t, we would have a serious scramble to make ends meet until it did, I got a taste of what millions go through every day – wondering how the bills will ever get paid.
We really need a saner economic system. One that doesn’t crush people.