My wife and I weren't planning to move this year, but we like to check out real-estate listings now and then as we did want to eventually move closer to our friends and jobs in Seattle proper. In January, we found our perfect house in West Seattle. It was new construction in an established neighborhood; of perfect location, size, and amenities. We were shocked-- with a recent $40,000 price reduction, we could afford it.
We viewed the house on a Saturday, and that evening made a full-price, 2-month contingent offer on it. The offer was accepted, and we listed our house that Monday. Our biggest challenges selling were the current market situation (which is the same reason we were able to afford the new house), and the fact that our current house was in a cluster development with twice as many identical models going up in the second phase. Our biggest advantages were that we didn't have to move, had put in some custom lighting not available on the new clones, and didn't have to clear a vast sum out of it-- this was a lifestyle move, not financial. We had some wiggle room.
Ours had been the model when we bought it 3 years ago, and had $10k in upgrades. We initially offered it at $10k below the base-price of the new ones going up in the backyard. We staged it ourselves, clearing away the clutter and family photos, banishing the rabbit and dogs to the garage, and (knowing we were competing with new) CLEANED and CLEANED and KEPT CLEANING. I must have vacuumed that stupid house 20 times. We saw a decent amount of traffic and viewers. We'd average 3 or 4 showings a weekend, and one or two during the week (usually a Thursday or Friday). Everyone who saw it said the house was showing beautifully. We had one ridiculously low offer. When we countered at something a bit more sane, that agent didn't even return our listing agent's calls, so it must have been a desperation check. We had a few repeat viewings, but no other offers. Our listing agent did his thing well, but we took it on ourselves to market too-- Craig's List, videoads on Youtube, another sale sign in the back window facing the phase II street. Anything we could think of.
After about a month, our contingent was still in place but the clock was ticking, so we dropped the price $10k. We had a full-price offer the first Monday after the reduction. We wound up paying $4k of the buyers closing costs and giving them our washer and dryer in the deal. All the inspections were fine, and we removed our contingency, went under contract on our new house, and locked in our rate. A quick aside-- we put 5% down, and found that taking a higher interest rate in lieu of mortgage insurance actually reduced both our monthly payment and closing costs.
A week ago, we moved into our perfect house. It was 10 weeks after we didn't plan to move. Are we lucky? Probably. But we did everything we could to help.