So, a year ago this month I was in the middle trying to sell our condo and buying a new house concurrently. If you’ve ever done this, you know how stressful and crazy moving is much less trying to buy and sell at the same time. Like most people who do this we needed the monies from the sale of the condo for the purchase of the new house.
The experience started out great! We sold the condo in two days so now we had to seriously start looking for a new house to buy. We knew the areas where we wanted to live and so started looking on Realtor.com and with our friend who is a real estate agent. We’d find houses that we liked online, and then he’d get is us the details from the listings and set up appointments for us to see them. OMG!! The pictures that I took of the condo were exactly what it looked like but obviously other people treat it like an online dating site using pictures and descriptions that are outdated and don’t look anything like the actual houses.
We went to look at one that we really felt like it was going to be good for us based on the description and pictures and it was filthy and looked nothing like the pictures. Now, if I haven’t clarified this before, the us I speak of is my mother and I. Well, our real estate agent was ahead of us down the hall of this house and I hear him start laughing out loud and he says: “ladies, you need to come see this.” We found him in the main bathroom where a full urinal was installed on the wall. Obviously, not the house for the two of us.
Every day I’d watch Realtor.com and every day the amount that we had thought we’d be able to spend kept having to be increased based on the crummy houses we were finding in our price range but there was this one house on Realtor.com that kept drawing me back to it but it was priced way outside our budget. Then, one Sunday, I saw they were having an open house there so just for a lark, dressed in sweats, no makeup, sunglasses and my hair in a baseball cap I went over to look at it – even though I knew we couldn’t afford it.
Keep in mind that all the houses on Realtor.com at that time were selling in 30 days or less and this one had been on the market for 62 days by then. When I walked in, I knew why. It was dark, musty and “smelled” old. It was also dirty and the rooms had old outdated wallpaper that was so ugly that when my 11 year old nephew saw it said “it looks like someone threw up on the walls.” I mean ugly!!! I asked the realtor showing it why it had been on the market so long and without hesitation he said “because it’s overpriced.” I agreed with him and he went on to tell me that the original owner had died and her kids who now owned it wanted a lot of money out of it and wouldn’t listen to him.
He went on to say that he had agreed to do this one last open house and was meeting with the three of them next week to tell them that they had to lower the price – and that it need way too much work to ask as much as they wanted. I went home thinking Mom would never like it – too musty and dirty, so I told her it was a no.I did keep thinking about it a lot and a few days later I asked our realtor what he thought and he thought we should at least show it to Mom before they met with the owners.
Boy, was I wrong! Mom could see past the dirt and mustiness and liked it right away. We knew we’d have to do a lot of work to make it livable but we made an offer – way below what they were asking. To our surprise, they countered just a few thousand dollars more and we went for it. It looked like the timing was going to work out perfectly and we were really excited!!
Okay, so, never get too confident when your future depends on someone else. The woman who bought the condo backed out two weeks before the close of escrow unless we’d take a huge amount less. We weren’t willing or able to do that so we said forget it and put it back on the market – panicking the entire time!!
Luckily, one of the “backup buyers” still wanted it and gave us the asking price – we just had to get the sellers of our new house to extend our escrow longer – including time to let us get all the contractors in to take down the wallpaper, paint the whole thing and remove the old carpet and install all new. Thankfully, they went along with us and we were good to go.
Three weeks before escrow was to close on the new house, I get a text from our realtor that says: “Don’t panic but the house next door to your new one is on fire” with a picture of a firefighter protecting our house with a hose.
OMG – I did panic and drove right over there. Now, a couple of weeks before this we had had the results of the inspection and there was a wooden slatted patio cover that was connected from our house to the wall between us. The report said that it was full of termites and it was going to be expensive to replace so the sellers were refusing to fix all the little things in the house that we needed repaired if they had to replace that. Mom and I felt like the cover made the house too dark anyway so we told them to just take it down and then fix all the other things in the house that needed repairs.
They agreed and just two days before the house next door caught fire they tore the patio cover down. If they hadn’t our new house would have gone up in flames too. At this point we’re thinking, is this really the house for us???
Well, yes it was and is now that it’s all fixed up like we want it. The neighbors tell us that it looks completely different house inside now. Of course, like any house, there are always things that come up to fix or replace but it’s home now and we’re really happy there.
So, what does all this have to do with organizing? Well, in the next post I’ll walk you through all the things that I learned and how I got it all handled and give you the tips and tricks I used along with the things I wish I’d done differently and what I learned from it all.