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By Brian Everstine

RISMEDIA, Sept. 30, 2008-(MCT)-When Noel and Lorie Martin show their house, they usually display the blueprints on the kitchen table. But their house has been on the market for so long, and there hasn’t been much traffic-so the Martins moved the blueprints and started putting together jigsaw puzzles. One is finished, and they are starting another one.

Their custom-built South Hill home has been on the market for almost two years. In that time, they have come close to an offer but nothing stuck. They went through conventional agents and the house was listed on the Multiple Listing Service. The Martins have even dropped $120,000 off the original price.

Finally, the couple has decided to take the three-bedroom off the market and wait for a bit.

“We’re going to let it sit for six months and just wait for the market to catch up,” Noel said last week. “We’ve tried literally everything we can think of.”

The couple seems to be living through the worst of the market. They put their house up for sale and bought another in Wenatchee as Noel waits to retire.

The couple met with The News Tribune to talk about their situation and what sellers face.

When did you put the house on the market?

Noel: We listed it October ’06, so we’re just coming up on two years. I’m sure there are probably other people out there with long listings. But it’s kind of frustrating. … Now it’s almost the norm to have these year-plus listings.

What is the price?

Noel: It’s at $475,000. We started at $595,000. I got a couple of market appraisals from a couple of real estate agents back in September of ’06 and that was the ballpark number. If it would have been priced where we are at today, I guarantee we would have sold it two years ago. But here we sit.

Lorie: I think we’re setting the prices for these other houses around us for sale. People start looking and comparing, and they’ve dropped their prices. Our neighbors are probably not very happy with us.

Where are you moving?

Noel: We actually purchased a house in Wenatchee. It’s just a tiny little house. Our goal is as soon as we sell the house, I’m going to retire from my job. We’re just going to sell the house and downsize a whole bunch.

What do people like about the house?

Noel: They really like the house, they love the layout, they love the openness and the space and the view and the location. There are things that have caused trouble, it is a custom house. It is a large house, and it has three bedrooms.

What do people look for in today’s market?

Noel: I don’t know what people are looking for. I don’t think people are buying houses.

We listed in October of ’06, anticipating selling it by spring of ’07. We had a whole vacation planned to Europe and we had to cancel the whole thing. They even had a retirement party planned for me. There are a lot of people I work with who have houses they are trying to sell. There are a lot of people stuck in the same boat. There are just a lot of people waiting to sell houses so they can retire.

What advice do you have for someone looking to sell?

Noel: Probably wait. I think you’re seeing inventory drop because people are deciding to wait. Because this is going to change, right? I mean, with the new administration that’s coming in the office in November. I mean the economy can’t get much worse. Maybe it can.

Lorie: Yeah, maybe it can. That’s the scary part.

Copyright © 2008, The News Tribune, Tacoma, Wash.
Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services.