No place like it

The first time i saw the place, my jaw dropped.  It was HUGE!  Five bedrooms?  An extra kitchen downstairs.  Full dining room, with hardwood floors through the entire upstairs.  There was NO WAY that this was going to be my home – it was amazing!  More house than i could have ever wanted…  “We’ll NEVER be able to fill it up*- we don’t have enough stuff!”
That feeling washed back over me as i watched the face of the young woman, carrying a baby, as she entered the home for the first time since she and her husband offered to purchase it from me.  Her jaw was very nearly on that hardwood floor.
When i moved to “The Barbie Dream Condo” almost two years ago, i kept the old family home as a rental property – waiting for the housing market to recover at least a little.  The house represents my savings, and i wanted to optimize the cash out of it.  The tenants moved out last weekend, and i put the place on the market again last Sunday.  On Wednesday morning**, i was stunned when my realtor brought me three offers…
Reviewing the offers over coffee that afternoon, i grilled him about the people who wanted to buy the house.  He described the young couple with five kids (four under the age of 10 plus a 21 year old from a prior marriage), who are currently living in a very small three bedroom home nearby.  He even remembered to check my most important criteria – yes, they have a dog!
Sure, i wanted to know their credit scores, ability to come up with the down payment, and timing (whether the sale would be contingent on the sale of their current home).  But it was the five damn kids that sealed it for me.  And the dog***.
It was a great house for our family.  A closed neighborhood with very little traffic, it was safe for kids to ride bikes.  Trees.  A creek full of crawdads and tadpoles.  Good neighbors. The kind that look out for each other, without getting nosey – a delicate balance. 
After i accepted their offer, The Boy and i decided to drop by and walk through it – he was headed back to school, and wouldn’t have a chance to see it again before closing.  Twenty years of memories.  Scrapes on the concrete ledge in the garage where The Boy perfected edge grinds.  The artsy-fartsy light switch covers in The Girl’s old bedroom.  The ceramic tile in the kitchen, installed by my niece’s first husband – as he tried to earn money to pay his legal fees after his arrest.  Goofy stickers on the dartboard in The Boy’s old bedroom. 
As The Boy and i drove home, he said “That chapter is closed.  Nice to have seen it one last time.”  It’s almost closed for me, too.  If all goes well, that will happen Tuesday morning, after the paperwork is completed and i hand over the keys and garage door openers. 
It brings me tremendous pleasure that there will be little kids in that home.  And a dog. 

yep. that was our car...

* Stumble  forward 20 years.  We filled it.  And then some… dumped a couple tons at the garage sale.
** Happy fucking birthday, by the way!  It sold in three days.  My advice:  listen to your realtor.
*** The husband told me it’s a Doberman, who is afraid of climbing stairs.  She’ll either get over it, or spend a lot of time downstairs!

20 thoughts on “No place like it

  1. I wish my realtor would GIVE me advice so I could take it. Up next: changing realtors.

    Three days. I’m impressed. Great birthday gift!

  2. Wow, a competent realtor. Do you have to lure them out of hiding with the scent of wounded animals and dry martinis? Because I haven’t heard a story about a decent realtor in a while.

  3. Wow, that place sounds amazing. Its really cool that you decided who to sell to based on what they’re like. It makes for much more warm fuzzies than selling to the highest bidder 🙂

  4. kyknoord – it was huge… but because it’s a newer home in an older neighborhood, it was affordable. that’s part of the charm for me….

    beth – definitely change realtors, and only do 90 days on a contract at most. i found a great one – he managed my rental property. i had told him “don’t bother me unless it burns down, and then, i expect you’ll call the insurance company first’. he was so good managing the property, i hired him to sell it – and i was blown away by his hustle!

    unbearable banishment – this house represents most of my life’s savings, and i was quite tempted to set the price higher by about $15K and wait. but my realtor showed me data and talked me out of it. i had been getting rental income, and as it sat empty, it wasn’t doing me good. he set the price correctly, generated a ton of traffic, and got me the deal i wanted very fast…

    renalfailure – i’ve had two good ones! my friend from high school helped me buy my condo, and she was great! this guy? a hustlin’ older guy, who knows this area well – understands the buyers, knows what moves something fast, and identified the things that would maximize traffic through the place. he’s good. almost makes me want to sell another house…

    texastrailerparktrash – i almost threw down a counter-offer, for $2,000 more than they offered. until i realized that it was simply my ego talking. the offer was good, realtor gave up half commission (saving me major cash), and there was nothing to argue with… hope that family loves it as much as we did!

    starrynightcoach – one of the offers was for a rental to four young men, just out of college. i was sort of tempted to consider that, because they were having an awful time finding a place to rent… but it was the family that hooked me…

    savannah – it was a pretty good way to wrap up my day! managed the whole thing stone cold sober, too!

    stephanie – it was an adjustment when i had tenants renting it. at first, i drove by a lot to see if they were taking care of it. after awhile? i didn’t think about it much!

  5. I like the idea of you and The Boy seeing it ‘one last time’. My family home was sold when I was travelling overseas and I missed saying goodbye, although it is all safely tucked away in memory…

  6. I think the people who sold us this place accepted our offer as much because they liked us as for any other reason. It’s always good to think someone nice will be soaking up the vibes you left behind.

  7. Excellent. What good goes around comes around. I’m glad your family home went to a family who will really enjoy it. I guess there really is something to recycling. 😉

  8. Bittersweet, I’m sure. Saying goodbye to places can be quite trippy, is it the place that makes us who we are or is it us who make a house a home? Either way, congrats to closing that chapter in realtor time. 🙂

  9. DP – met up with the new folks again today as i was digging my old sailboat out of the storage shed, and i’m even more convinced it was a perfect fit! they’re just adorable!

    ruby – took The Girl over with me today (to help with loading up the sailboat), and she got to do a walk-through, too. To her? She was surprised at how small the yard seemed – when she was little, it seemed to be much larger… it’s all relative!

    chris – they did make me a pretty good offer, and the realtor cut his fee in half (single agent sale) to seal the deal… but yeah, they are just too stinkin’ cute…

    fragrant liar – there’s a very happy feel to the house. open and sunny. and beggin’ for kids and dogs. really cool that there will be a cute family there who loves it!

    gnukid – Surprised no one else mentioned Shamu, the Turquoise Whale. We loved that car. The Girl was gonna make it a project car – it had a fuzzy blue ‘ghettoscape’ in the back window. But The Boy painted it black, and tooled around in it for a couple years… loved that tank.

    hereinfranklin – sometimes that’s how it works. i went to a wedding shower at a condo about 6 years ago. fell in love with the place. when i decided to move, the exact same model was for sale – one building down. So i bought it. No regrets…

    tNb – a little bittersweet. spent about 3 hours working over at the old house today, trailering the sailboat, tearing up a huge dog house that my renter had put under the deck… it was nice to be back, floods of memories, but the memories stay, even after the house is sold. ‘realtor time’. love it!

  10. A young woman who’d never lived away from home bought my first house. She’s taken terrible care of it, but I liked the fact that a just starting out single female was buying the first house I owned … on my own.

    The house with my late husband went to a young couple. Their first home. We spotted them at the park when we were visiting in the spring. They have a toddler now and the house is very well-kept up.

    Some day this house will changed hands. I don’t have as much invested in the house because it’s always been sort of a mish-mash of me/Rob, Shelley/Rob and in a perpetual state of renovation. I would miss the area if we were to leave it though.

  11. annie – i’d have probably sold it to anyone who brought me the deal that they brought, with their credit rating. but it just feels nicer seeing them jazzed about it, planning the future of the family, and leaning forward. i suspect they’ll be there a long time…

    rob – nah. statistics still say i’ve got a better chance of getting hit by lightning. gotta say, though, i did have a rather lucky weekend! i don’t need a lotto win sometimes…

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