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It’s Official: Our house is upside down – Lost $60k in 2 years.

by J. Money on Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Our house is upside down.Yep, I have finally confirmed it. After almost two years of purchasing it, our townhouse is now worth around $300k, down from the $360k we originally purchased it for….and we still owe a good $350k.

Unluckily, we also we picked it up at the very tippy top of the peak! Yikes. But at least we *know* what we’re dealing with now. It’s not like it was a huge surprise, ya know? I thought it was worth around $320k, but that was a total guess. And a really bad one too ;)

In theory though, it really doesn’t matter until it comes time to sell….at least that’s what I keep telling myself ;) But it’s true in way. It’s not great for the total “net worth” if you calculate it in like I’ll be doing now, but the losses aren’t realized until someone buys it from you. I guess my dream of moving closer to the city will have to wait a while.

So how did I come to this new figure of $300k (well, actually $305k)? I did two things:

1. I signed up with Zillow.com!
Ever been there? It’s freakin’ sweet man. You type in your address, and it’ll pop out an average of what it thinks your house is worth! Then, if you want to take it a cple steps further, you “claim” your house and tweak the information, and it’ll pop out an even better estimate of the value. The key to all this is “estimated”, but depending on where you live it’s pretty good at guessing (you can see the ratings here).

There’s a whole mess of goodies you can pull on your house too. You can see the value over certain period of times, the amount of homes up for sale or foreclosing around your neighborhood or city or state, whatever you want! You can also pull one of the following graphs:

Graph: House Value

2. I called my Realtor and had him price it.
This is what sealed the deal for me. I told him I’m interested in moving closer to the city (the truth), and wanted to know how much he’d list it for if we were to throw it on the market in the next month or so (sorta white lie). Our realtor is an expert in our particular neighborhood,having bought and sold around 15+ alone there, and we continue to keep in touch & help each other out when possible – like when we did a tv show segment on “new home buyers” ;) it was awesome! but that’s for another day…

Anyways, due to the foreclosures/short sells in our cul-de-sac, he said the most we could expect to get for it at this time is around $300k. But, if we wanted to rent it out, we could get around $1600-$1800/mo depending on how quick we’d want to do it. Then, if you wanted to be totally hands off, you could pay 8% and have a management company take care of all the issues w/ it – collecting the rent, sending over plumbers/electricians/etc. So that would add another $150 or so, but still good to know.

Soooo, between our realtor and Zillow it looks like we have a decent answer here. I’m sure it’ll change over the months as the economy fluctuates like a college freshmen, but we’ll be keeping our eyes on it and updating as necessary. Another “account” to watch and obsessively check all the time ;) haha….nah, my 401k is enough. I can’t take 2 crazy accounts like that!


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