I just sold my home of 20 years, after deciding I would offer it to locals only and keep it off the open market. Here is my story.
Originally from New York State, I made Truckee my home in 2001. My children were born at the local hospital and were fortunate to grow up here: a small town where they knew their neighbors and graduated with the same kids from preschool. Living here for that long, you feel a special connection to other children and families because you watched them grow too, in a place we all treasure, a town we are proud to call home.
About 10 years ago, I felt things around my community changing. It was like the world suddenly got the memo about one of the best places to live. (Or, perhaps, the memo was about Squaw Valley celebrating their Olympic Anniversary and forever discounted season passes.)
The roads became increasingly more crowded, the housing market was steadily more impenetrable, and the long term rental market remained as competitive as ever. I felt lucky to live in a small mountain town and own a home, and as I watched families leave town for more affordable housing, I knew things around me were changing. While I love Truckee, I knew I wouldn’t be here forever, and I vowed to eventually pass along my home to somebody who might be pushed into that situation. So, I decided when it was time for me to go, I would either rent or sell to a local, that simple. Having lived here for 20 years, I knew many people looking for long-term housing. To me, it was part of an idea of preserving the Truckee I knew and loved.
Now, in 2020, it feels like it is time. What started as a simple home renovation for our family to enjoy ended up being an opportunity to capitalize on the current real estate environment. Has anybody else noticed? Interest rates are historically low and despite a global pandemic, people are buying things, especially mountain homes. Bidding wars, buying sight unseen, skipping appraisals, paying all cash for homes — this has become the trend in our area. Where is this coming from? I get it, people want to move here. But I happen to have a soft spot for the underdog.
So when it was time for my idea to come to fruition, I sent messages to a few friends I knew were looking and I put up a message on a local social media site. Why not try doing it without an agent? Seems as if houses are selling themselves these days; why not save 6% of the sales price and sell the house for what I would have netted after commissions? I could hire an attorney with expertise in real estate transactions to walk me through the paperwork. I could just set a price and if there’s a local who wants the house for that price, we have a deal. So that is what I did.
The title of my posting: “Any locals looking for a house?”It was up for less than 24 hours. The comments and private messages became overwhelming. People were interested, whether for themselves or for their friend, their teacher, their whatever. Then came the guilt and self-doubt. Who am I to decide what does or doesn’t define a “local”? I wanted to sell to every person that came to see the house and loved it. I envisioned their futures there as longingly as they did. It was heart breaking to me when it didn’t work out for a friend to buy. Don’t forget the doubt: Am I making the right decision for my family? In the end, I decided it was worth it to me to ignore the internal nagging and sell the house myself.
It is possible I would have pocketed more on the open market, but I don’t think by much — not after paying commissions. I can wholeheartedly say I am happier having sold it to a local teacher and her partner.
~ Jessie Eastman is a UNR graduate working in private wealth management in Incline Village. She and her better half, Scott, have a blended family with three sons. They enjoy travel, entertaining, the outdoors, archery, and bowhunting