The foreclosed house has been on the market for about a month now. The first week after the sign went up, I was seeing three or four viewers looking at the place every afternoon. There were probably at least as many each morning, while I was still asleep. Since then, I haven't seen more than two or three viewers a week. Apparently the seventy or eighty buyers currently in the local market and seeking a house of that size and price have all seen it, and found it wanting, though I suppose there might be an offer I don't know about.
I looked the house up on a real estate web site, and the asking price is a bit over half what the house actually sold for just five years ago. It doesn't bode well for what I might have to settle for if I have to sell this house any time soon. This house is a bit bigger and of somewhat higher quality (hardwood floors under these aged carpets!) but it's also suffering from too much deferred maintenance, which would tend to bring the price down. The septic system is on its last legs, and the roof needs to be replaced, and I can't afford either of those major projects.
The real estate market of inland northern California is probably going to be in the toilet for a long time to come, so I'll most likely be damned if I do and damned if I don't. I've never had a strong attachment to this house, and would just as soon be elsewhere (except for the fact that I wouldn't be able to take my feral cats with me), but as I'd only get a third of whatever this place sold for I'd probably end up somewhere worse than this— probably buying a used single-wide and renting a space for it in a trailer park. Ah, downward mobility.
Anyway, I'm lodged here for now, and there's fresh rain to be watched and feral cats to be fed, so no point dwelling on uncertainties. The whole town could finally burn down this summer, and all that speculation about what to do would turn out to have been wasted. You don't need to re-roof a pile of charred rubble.