Here's the timeline:
September: Got a Snazzy New Job, 1 hour and 40 minutes from my old house. Start looking at houses in the vicinity of Snazzy New Job. Go to see banker and find out that we can supposedly afford so much more than we were currently paying that it was a matter of our comfort and not what the bank would approve. We thought house would be snapped up quickly, but somehow we are wrong.
October: House not selling. I continually tweak things, repaint a room, Design To Sell as much as I can without spending a boatload of money. We drop the price.
November: Still no sale. Spirits sinking. Really getting tired of staging the house every time we leave for ten minutes. Also getting over Snazzy New Job and depressed at what we can afford in Snazzy New JobLand's area. Hate my commute, hate my life. On a whim, get husband to consider looking in a town near where I grew up, 40 minutes closer to New Job. We look at listings and the first house we see we love. Look for more listings, nothing is even close to as great. Oddly, the house we love is open that day. We go, fall in love, try to talk ourselves out of it for a few days but than think, "What the hell?"
December: House still not sold. Spend a fortune on candles, tear out old carpeting near basement, paint the basement stairs with porch paint. We get one screwball low offer, still nothing serious or possible.
Fast forward to March: Finally get an offer we can live with after some negotiation. We hate that this buyer is going to turn our home into a rental property, but we can't afford to wait for something else. Set closing date for April. A few weeks later, home inspection turns up some repairs. Buyer backs out of the deal, at the same time that the bottom really drops on the real estate market. Seriously depressed. Relist with a different agent and drop the price of the house again. Get an estimate for the repairs needed, and it's a paltry $800.
April: Get a check from our bank, refunding us for escrow payments in almost the exact amount of the estimate for the repairs. Take it as a sign and get them done. In the meantime, apply for and get an interview with an Exciting New Job Prospect within minutes of my house.
May: Lots of activity on our house but no offers. Then one couple seems to love it. They tell our realtor they're going to write us an offer, but then they find a For Sale By Owner and buy that instead. Rats.
June: Decide, against all real common sense, to take Exciting New Job that pays half of what my current one does. But the house still hasn't sold! We drop the price again, tell ourselves that it will and keep hoping.
Fast forward to July: We get one really, really lowball offer, even worse than the first one. In despair, I buy epoxy paint and seal the basement floor, toy with the idea of doing the walls too but finally decide against it. I have given notice at Snazzy New Job and am jumping every time I think about the real estate market. The day after my paint job, three offers come in. Ask my realtor for advice and she says, "Let's make this a bidding war." One offer comes in that's so great that I want to take it without waiting for the others -- it's the person who offered us the low offer just the day before. None of the other buyers step up, so that offer takes the day. We find out that this buyer is actually a first-time buyer who loves the house, and since we do too, we couldn't be happier. But I don't want to jinx it so I don't tell very many people until...
Today: We closed! Hooray!
See, there are some happy endings, even in a crummy real estate market. Hope that if your house is on the market, you get just as happy an ending, but hopefully in a lot less time.