Patience Paid Off for Prince George's Family
Saturday, September 30, 2006
Joyce and Larry Harley were optimistic last spring when they put their 16-year-old, four-bedroom house in west Bowie up for sale and went shopping for a larger place.
They thought the market had heated up sufficiently over the previous six years to ramp up their buying power, but that it had slowed enough by spring to give them a wide selection to choose from, as well as ample time and opportunity to bid. It was moving from a seller's market to a buyer's market everywhere, but not as quickly in Prince George's County as in pricier places.
The Harleys' expectations, it turns out, were perhaps too rosy. It took longer to find a house than they had anticipated when they started their search in March, and even longer to sell their old house than they had planned. They put a contract on a Laurel house in May and settled in June. But they didn't sell their first house until late August, after changing agents and adjusting their selling price.
"It took longer to sell than I had hoped," said Joyce Harley, a technology worker. But everything has worked out for the best, she added.
The couple ended up with "a more suitable house at a better bargain" than the seven upscale properties they toured in March with a reporter, she said. The houses the couple visited in March started at $625,000.
The house in Laurel suits the family, Joyce said. Built only two years ago, it not only has a first-floor bedroom with a full bath but also has a finished basement with a large open space for entertaining. A basement that "wasn't cut up" was at the top of Larry's list of must-haves.
Their two teenagers also win, with a double-sink, double-vanity bathroom between their bedrooms.
What happened with the seven houses that the Harleys toured in March illustrates what has been going on:
· House No. 1: Four bedrooms, 3 1/2 baths, built in 1990 and listed at $699,500 on Jan. 5. Price reduced to $659,000; went under contract May 4 for $655,000.
· House No. 2: Five bedrooms, 4 1/2 baths, built in 2002 and listed at $749,900 on Feb. 11. Did not sell; listing has expired.
· House No. 3: Four bedrooms, two full baths, two half baths, built in 2001 and listed at $669,900 on Feb. 17. Price reduced to $657,900 but did not sell; listing has expired.
· House No. 4: Four bedrooms, 2 1/2 baths, built in 2001 and listed at $625,000 on Feb. 17. Went under contract on April 13 at $609,000 with a seller subsidy to the buyer of $20,000.