If you are reading this page, you have probably already read The Realtor Said What? and We Are In Limbo Pages. If not, it’s great background leading up to this entry. I don’t know if you’ve ever been through a hurricane, but what happens is you hear about it well in advance. This is your opportunity to place your bet. Should we prepare, purchase water, batteries, board up the windows and get ready to ride out the storm? Or should we make plans to get out of Dodge? Should we evacuate to somewhere not even remotely in the projected path of the storm? You can’t hedge your bet and wait until it’s too late to decide, either way.
So it’s go, go, go to get ready. Then when the storm hits, it’s all hell fire and fury and you hang on for life, making a deal with God “If we can get thru this one, I promise . . . (your bargain goes here) Suddenly, it’s all quiet. There are no fierce winds, no pounding rain on the roof, it may even be sunny. And just as suddenly, the back half of the storm hits with a vengeance and you are back renegotiating your deal with God.
Selling your home is not comparable in terms of danger but the weather pattern is similar. We’ve been crazy for months shedding all that stuff we decided we no longer need in our lives, working on the house to get it ready for market, evacuating for the open houses and showings, and making plans and preparations for after the house is sold. When the offer comes in and the negotiations begin, the activity is more stressful than the physical preparations that came before this, but you are still making your bargain with God. I am sure we spoke with our realtor during this process more than she spoke with her husband!
And then it’s all quiet. We are waiting for the home inspection. There are more papers to sign. And then the waiting for the closing. There is nothing we can do today. The sun is shining and it’s a beautiful calm day. Well, there is plenty we have to do and have been doing in terms of preparation, like searching for the motor home, looking for the toad, aka the vehicle being towed, (get it?) planning where we will be moving to and when, but we can’t do ANY of it. Not until after the close and we know the deal is real and the money is in the bank to fund the plan. After that happens the back half of the storm will hit! It will be back to the fury of following the check list and turning the plans into reality, step by step. But for now, can’t cross off step three until after steps one and two are finished.
Much of what you end up appreciating about the hard-to-attain moments, is the work required to get there.
UPDATE ONE: The buyers scheduled a home inspection for Thursday, March 7th, 11:00 am. No problem until the inspector knocked on the door at 8:30 am. I asked, “Can I help you?” He said, “I’m here to do the home inspection.” To which I replied, “Yes at 11:00 o’clock.” He told me it’s “Now or it can’t be done.” I waived as he drove off in a hurry before I could even dial our realtor to see if I made a mistake or something had changed.
Seems like HE had made the mistake, which I knew because the buyer, buyer’s agent and our agent all wanted to be here, and they DIDN’T want us to be here. A short time later, our agent called back an said it is on for 11:00 which we all knew was a lie, but he was just trying to keep the job. Well after 11:30 he came and did his inspection. I guess he was still angry about messing up his schedule for the day because the Home Inspection Report he produced was seventy pages long of why the buyers should never buy this house! Even given the fact that the last sixteen pages were a repeat of the earlier fifty-four pages, the report included items like “window inoperable” which I later opened and took a photo, “window will not close all the way” which I later closed and took a photo, “buttons on light switch worn” and other items that were not a safety concern or mechanical failure issue. Fortunately, the buyers recognized he was just trying to justify his fee and settled on seven things that should be addressed so we can move on to the close.
UPDATE TWO: Of the seven things to be addressed, four included outside contractors: 1. Ripped screens on the lanai – FIXED. 2. Air Conditioners leaking coolant – the AC Company said they could find no leak, replaced a cap, reset the thermostat, and forced a half pound of coolant into the system but would have to charge me for one pound as that’s the least unit of measure in the computer – FIXED. 3. Repair or replace cracked or loose tiles on the roof – FIXED. 4. Sink drain in the Master Bath requires further evaluation – the plumber said there is no safety issue but if you want me to take it apart and put it back together again for your photo, I will – FIXED.
UPDATE THREE: With three weeks to go before the close, the wind is starting to pick up. The contractors have come and gone and now it’s all us. I’ve moved before, several times, but it was quite easy. Sort out what is going and throw out, donate, or sell the rest. The mover takes it all away and when you get there you ask yourself, “why did we bring this?” This time is much different. Moving into such limited space really makes every item a decision. It’s all about the size and the weight of each thing you touch. I know, I know, it only stuff. But won’t we feel stupid if we sold something only to go have to buy a new one? Yes, but then I guess that is all part of the process.
We have a storage unit which is acting as a staging area until we move into our coach. If the item you pick up is going with us, it goes in the left front side. If we are taking it to family up North, it goes in the front right side. And if we want to keep it (probably to only discard it a year from now) it goes across the back. Oh, and then there are the temporary things we need to live on until the close. Those stay in the house. For now.
UPDATE FOUR: Monday April 1st. The Estate Sale guys just left. Everything that is for sale is strewn all over our otherwise pristine house. They come back Thursday to price it all. They claim they can do that in two hours! That I want to see!! The sale is Saturday and Sunday and then Kathryn and I will be living in our home the way we started – a blow up mattress, a card table with folding chairs, and a small TV. Ironic isn’t it.?
UPDATE FIVE: Monday April 15th. The Estate Sale is over. If you ever do this, hire a professional company to sell your things. For example, the buyer of our home was here for eight hours across the two days grinding him for every dollar she could get off on the things she wants but was not willing to pay a fair price for. We did the garage sale thing and it didn’t produce a lot of cash. If you put a dollar on something people will offer you a quarter. He knows the price of everything, what is a fair asking price, and if the deal was this close, he came to us and said, “Are you willing to let it go for this amount?” He earned his percentage just with her! So now, things that are going to storage are moved. We have moved into our temporary quarters in our neighbors house since they will be gone until after Christmas. (ain’t it great to have such friends?) All that is left to do is clean every inch of the house so no one can have anything to say?!
UPDATE SIX: Wednesday April 17th. a half hour before the close we got a call from our realtor. “We have a slight problem. The you took down the curtains in the dining room and breakfast room. The contract says you should have left them.” “Yes, but we asked you about that and you said take them down and just leave the rods. They were cheap panels from Walmart, maybe worth twenty five dollars in total, they were faded and sun bleached, and there ARE blinds on those windows. “I know but she wants to withhold four hundred dollars for curtains.” To make a long story short (I know too late for that) both realtors chipped in two hundred dollars each to make this greedy lady go away. I guess she sleeps well, so proud of herself, but who am I to judge?