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Fading Frenzy

Summer's sizzle has been replaced by fall's fizzle. Two buyers and two sellers cope with the changing housing market.

SELLER: In last July's market, 'this would be gone'

November 29, 1998|SUE McALLISTER

When the first offer on their Woodland Hills townhouse came in just one week after the home was listed, "my wife and I were ready to pack," said Sidney Weiss, who has owned the three-bedroom condo since 1979 with his wife, Donna. "We thought we had this all tied up."

That was wishful thinking, as it turned out. The bidder didn't answer their counteroffer, which accepted the offered price but requested a change of escrow company.

Two more weeks passed without offers, and the couple began contemplating reducing their list price of $219,000.

Sidney Weiss, 61, expressed disappointment that they hadn't entered the market earlier. He said everyone he knew who had listed their property over the summer reported it sold in a matter of days.

"I started counting the money in the bank already," said Weiss, a certified public accountant. "But the marketplace changed so fast that it left me, and I was a little surprised, though I shouldn't be."

The Weisses' real estate agent, Grace Frey of Dilbeck-James R. Gary & Co., said she had sold another townhome in the same Warner Center neighborhood last summer within 12 hours of its listing.

"If the market was the same as it was in July, this would be gone already," said Frey, describing the Weisses' airy, spotless home on a tree-lined street as "far superior" to the one she'd sold so fast just four months ago.


One of the Weisses' three sons still lived at home when the family moved into the home in 1979. Over the years, the neighborhood has changed, with more walking-distance amenities such as restaurants and shops being added. Their home has changed some, too; it was extensively refurbished and upgraded after the 1994 Northridge earthquake, and the bedroom once occupied by their youngest son is now used by visiting grandchildren.

The Weisses will close escrow on a new desert home near Indio in February and plan to move there after Donna, 59, retires in May from her job with the state Employment Training Panel.

"I want this issue resolved," she said, indicating her willingness to drop the price if it would help the property sell faster.

In addition to the possibility of reducing the price, the Weisses said they would be willing to pay the buyer's closing costs if it made a difference. The desert awaits, and they are ready to pack.

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