We did it. Well, I did, I guess, with loads of help.
I finally pulled the trigger and hired a realtor to sell my mountain home. Here is the story of what happened, and in true idiotic bliss fashion, it was a wild ride.
Buckle up, buttercup. Here we go.
August 2020’ish – I received an email from the realtor who sold me the house years ago. She was telling me in the current market the house was worth way more than I had originally paid.
So I thought about it. I looked around at the things I love and the things that annoyed me. I polled the family for their opinions. In the end, although I was terrified, I just went with it.
I imagined the process would be quick, we would ride off in a U-Haul truck caravan with my profits in hand to purchase another home up north near my parents.
I imagined the wind in my hair, fat stacks of cash and the engine sounds of a big old truck rumbling down the mountain hauling my furniture while I flipped the bird to neighbors I didn’t like.
The process was not swift.
It was not easy. I was so exhausted in the end I didn’t even remember to flip anyone the bird on our way out.
The process was costly, discouraging, and at some points absolutely infuriating.
My first mistake of many obvious was to choose a fairly fresh realtor. You know the type. Pretty, a few houses under her belt, still so young and energetic and eager. I thought that was perfect in a realtor. I was wrong. My situation was too complex and would require a specialized touch and in the end would drive her to the brink of tears, maybe even murder.
September 2020 – Picture day! I was not able to do a walk thru to verify that everything was in order but I left my darling wife and capable teenage son to make the beds, hide the dog toys and wipe down the kitchen. I guess I didn’t specify clearly enough not to leave anything which might be embarrassing for photos. They didn’t think of that possibility either I would soon come to realize.
Oh yes. The humiliation.
I remember it clearly.
I got a text from the realtor that the photos were taken and she was finished. She wanted to give me a heads up though that she hid one of the signs and the other would need to be taken down because people may be offended.
Uhhh … offended?
I had no clue what she was talking about.
No worries, she told me. That was a lie. I should have been worried.
The realtor advised she moved the neon sticky note from the bedpost which simply said “asshole” to the other side so it wouldn’t be seen. I had placed that same note on a “I’m sorry I was mean to you but you deserved it” gift a few nights before. Apparently the recipient appreciated the note enough to lovingly stick it to her side of the bed and forget about it.
I’ll never forget about it. It will forever creep into my anxiety that a complete stranger saw it, read it and moved it out of the way to take pictures of my bedroom.
The realtor also advised that I take down the sign that says “close the f*cking door!” from the backside of the lower level door in the house.
It wasn’t bad advice but seriously how did we not think to take that down before a stranger saw it and possibly presumed I meant it for them.
Let me just say that these little love notes were not meant for strangers (or realtors) to see and were posted in good fun to remind each other how much we care. No really. For all you uptight folks worried about the precious children, we don’t have little kids. The dogs can’t read and our friends don’t care.
It’s all PG-13 up in here, mostly. We generally speak to each other with love and kindness but sometimes we talk to each other in ways that make it very clear we mean it; like notes on the bed post. Or perhaps a note on the inside of a door reminding each other to keep it closed. You know, like fun families do.
October 2020 – The house still had not freaking sold. No, not because we left the notes up.
A couple of offers but not in the ballpark I was looking for. Buyers suggested the house was too far out or too far up the mountain. Some suggested it was too big, too cold, too warm, too dusty, the list went on. It was a little like Alice in Wonderland. I had no idea where the damn white rabbit was but I knew we were late to something.
I was getting frustrated and made the decision to throw money at the house to speed things along. I painted, I wiped down and I spruced up, I put things away and brought things out. I bought a portable hot tub so people could realize the potentials from the back porch. I might have also enjoyed the hell out of said hot tub while we waited for a buyer.
We bought rugs and we filled a storage unit with random crap. All of the efforts were getting to be exhausting to only have low offers. I was about to start pleading with anyone in the market with a decent credit score and a job to take the house off my hands.
It was about this time that the realtor asked me to please take the dogs out of the house for showings. I obliged.
It was also at this time that I learned my pet turkey was also barking at people from her coop enclosure.
She didn’t seem to be enjoying all the foot traffic either. Or maybe she was trying to get people to get the hell out so she could roam the yard again. Who knows. I didn’t even know a turkey could bark.
I lowered the price of the house.
I lowered the price again.
At this point I am practically begging. Each showing made me more and more depressed. I thought about leaving secret notes making crap up that buyers would see when theh opened closets, drawers, and looked under the beds. People are nosey. They will leave no personal stone unturned. I’m pretty sure the people looking at my house saw my underwear more than my spouse did.
I wondered with all the peeping into my personal stuff if people were just looking at occupied houses to do a psychological study. No intent to buy, just wanna peep your pantry.
If there was some test I surely failed. At this point I was losing my mind. I didn’t know what was right and was wrong for selling a home.
In the meantime I am looking for career moves up north. I have my mom working her fingers to nubs searching online for a house that met all my requirements. (Thanks, Ma)
We are arguing at home about how much I was worrying about finding a house when the one we were living in had not even sold. I didn’t have a clue what I should be doing but I was damn sure making a plan B (and C,D,E) in case the house didn’t sell soon.
November 2020 – I accepted an offer that was way too low but in the spirit of family I folded like a deck of cards at Thanksgiving. I heard this sad story about a Grandmother buying a house up the mountain from where her kids live. How sweet I thought. I accepted my due diligence check and realized nearly immediately that I had been bamboozled over by greedy Grannie. This woman owned a developing company and used a pitiful story to get me to come off the price. The deal fell apart when the developer asked for even more money off. I was crushed. I was also relieved to be able to put the house back on the market.
Still no buyer. I was supposed to be celebrating in my new house near my parents by now. I was going to host the holidays. I had big plans. I also still had a for sale sign in the yard. Things were not going as planned.
I didn’t think it could get worse, I was wrong.
December 2020 – I was enjoying a brew and waiting on the scheduled showing to be over so I could return home. My phone rang, I looked down to see it was my realtor. She never calls. This was either good news or bad news. I almost didn’t answer.
“Does your cat have a current rabies shot?” … huh? Apparently my very large, very angry cat bit and scratched a child who picked him up while on the property.
My giant orange cat had me seeing red and I froze in fear. I envisioned the worst case scenarios possible. It was time to go home and survey the damage.
We arrived at the house followed by the county sheriff. He asked me about the cat. For a minute I thought I could play it cool when the stupid feline comes strutting up behind me. Yeah, that’s my cat. I picked him up and the jerk bit me right in front of the officer.
At this point I couldn’t even deny it was my cat that bit the kid. He may as well have had blood dripping and an arm hanging out of his mouth. Kinda hard to hide the fact he is a monster.
Poor kitty was taken to animal jail for quarantine until the kid got the all clear. I got the bill to have the cat released. Should have left him there.
I started to wonder why the house refused to be sold.
I started to wonder if I would ever be able to leave or if indeed I was destined to live atop the mountain with my ferocious cat and barking turkey for all eternity.
My mom encouraged me to bury a statue of St Joseph to aide in my selling. I am not Catholic or religious at all but at this point I am willing to try anything.
If someone would have told me I needed to dance at 3am around a small fire while, chanting an old song from the ancestors in the nude, I would have done it and done it with great haste. I felt as if there would never be an end to the madness no matter what I tried.
January 2021 – FINALLY a close date. Except the water went out while the buyers inspector was there.
Have mercy. One thing after another.
The water came back on with some tricks and kicks just as we expected. I let the realtor know there was no real problem (fingers crossed) and the buyer came back to check it out. He seemed pleased with the bathtub full of water he ran out the well and down the drain to “make sure there was water”
I didn’t say a word. He will need to figure out how to live with a well on his own when I am long gone down the road, dust flying and tire tracks behind me.
The day came that it was finally freaking truck loading time. Except for one snag, the moving truck got stuck in the driveway. Not a little stuck, like probably needed undercarriage work because it was resting on boulders stuck. Made a huge mess of the landscaping but I didn’t care. I could see freedom and I was running to it.
We hired a couple of guys to load up all my crap, packed all the cars to the brim and loaded the pickup truck bed Beverly Hillbilly style. Nothing was stopping us.
Oh, except one small detail definitely slowing us down. The house we were buying couldn’t close on the same day so we spent a day homeless.
If you are thinking of selling your home I would highly suggest you have someone hit you in the face with a shovel first. Still want to do it? Well, alright. Good luck. I hope your story goes better than mine.