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Selling a House in a 'So-Called' Seller’s Market

By Keri Kelly

My husband and I had heard all the exciting stories. Houses were selling hours after they’d hit the market for tens of thousands of dollars over the asking price. Buyers were refusing home inspections because they were too scared to lose the house they’d grossly overpaid for. Rundown dumps missing roofs locked up in bidding wars.

As we watched the housing market burst and boom all around us like cash fireworks, we never in a million years thought we’d get lucky enough to profit off it. That is, until our tenants called one night.  

“We’re moving to Florida,” they said. 

My husband couldn’t believe our good fortune. Four years prior, we couldn’t give away this house. Now, not only would we finally be able to sell it, but we would make some money off it.  

As soon as we hung up with our tenants, we sped dialed our realtor—the cold hard cash from this burgeoning housing market already burning holes through our pockets. We would book our dream trip to Hawaii, pay off those college loans from twenty years ago and buy that Peloton I had my eye on. 

Our rental house officially hit the market a few days later, and we waited three whole hours for our full-price offer and subsequent bidding war to roll in. 

After three weeks, our house sat empty. Not even one showing. 

“What do you think is going on?” we asked our realtor. 

“Maybe it’s the landscaping?” she offered. 

She had a valid point. A jungle rivaling The Lost City of Cambodia had grown in front of the suburban house, obscuring the first-story windows and even half of the door. 

Two thousand dollars later, the house looked a teensy bit better. Certainly nothing close to an HGTV masterpiece, but at least potential buyers could see out the windows.  

“Why don’t you bring the price down a little bit?” the realtor asked us after the fourth week of no showings. 

“What, like a thousand dollars?” I asked.  

We ended the conversation by agreeing to cut twenty thousand dollars off the asking price. Bye-bye, trip to Hawaii. 

A week later, we had a few more showings but no offers. 

With no other choice, since the house’s mortgage bills were coming in faster than my daughter’s crooked teeth, we cut another five thousand dollars off the asking price. Price cut after price cut, we were creeping dangerously close to what we initially overpaid for it.  

A few weeks later, we finally got the call. 

“You’ve got an offer,” our realtor said. 

“Full price?” I asked.  

“Not exactly,” the realtor said. 

We settled a month later. In case you’re wondering, we don’t own a Peloton, and I just wrote out two checks—one to those pesky college loans and another to an orthodontist. 

— Keri Kelly

Keri Kelly is a professor, award-winning author and comedy writer, and mom. When she’s not writing, Keri can be found surfing small Jersey Shore waves with her family and fist-pumping. Learn more and say hello at

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