Welcome to the Misadventures of Widowhood blog!

In January of 2012 my soul mate of 42 years passed away after nearly 12 years of living with severe disabilities due to a stroke. I survived the first year after Don’s death doing what most widows do---trying to make sense of my world turned upside down. The pain and heartache of loss, my dark humor, my sweetest memories and, yes, even my pity parties are well documented in this blog.

Now that I’m a "seasoned widow" the focus of my writing has changed. I’m still a widow looking through that lens but I’m also a woman searching for contentment, friends and a voice in my restless world. Some people say I have a quirky sense of humor that shows up from time to time in this blog. Others say I make some keen observations about life and growing older. I say I just write about whatever passes through my days---the good, bad and the ugly. Comments welcome and encouraged. Let's get a dialogue going! Jean

Wednesday, July 14, 2021

The Crazy Train to Selling a House

 


When a buyer’s agent shows a house there’s a form they can fill out to give you feedback on the seller’s home and it’s one of the things I thought I'd like about the Showtime app for making appointments for showings. A scant few hours after my very first showing an agent filled out the form saying the house was well maintained inside and out but her client just didn’t feel it was “The One.” How do you argue with that? I felt that way about a few of the guys I dated back in my wild and wicked twenties.

The first full day the house was on the market---the day I got my car detailed---there were back-to-back showings for five hours. The second day it was back-to-back showings for six hours and I, of course, thought the agents would be like the first one and would fill out the feedback page right away. No such luck. You let them walk all over your house and yard, snoop in your cabinets and closets and pee in your toilets---put the seat back down, guys!---and go away leaving your back door wide open for the local wildfire to roam in and hopefully back out again. (Yes, that happened.) And did I mention the agent who stood at my front door at 7:26 using the app to ask for a 7:30 showing? But here it is days later and only two agents have said boo about the house? Maybe that’s a good sign. Maybe it means they’re working on a offer. Or do they not like my two months to possession clause? Maybe it means nothing except we’ve got a bunch of inconsiderate agents in town. See where I’m going on this crazy train? You can second guest the lookers until the cows come home but at the end of the day you’re right back where you started.

At least with my first day away from the house I perfected my designed-for-comfort outfit for riding that train and it matched the book I downloaded on my Kindle, a baseball themed romantic comedy by Pippa Grant. I wore my new corral colored jersey knit baseball shirt that has a v-neck, buttons down the front and short sleeves that are long enough not to expose your pits---I hate cap sleeves that do that. Woman Within has been selling this style off-and-on for ten years and I have five---three old and two new. And, yes, they actually call them baseball shirts and when they showed up in their summer catalog I resisted the urge to buy them in all 8-10 of the colors they come in. Most. Comfortable. Tops. I’ve. Ever. Owned.

Along with the corral shirt I was wearing my running shoes that haven’t run anywhere in the five years I’ve owned them and I wear them practically every day. I know, I know, I need a new pair. And to complete my “sporty look” I feel really good about the black baseball hat that I recently acquired---after downsizing at least two dozen of my husband’s caps out of my closet. Oops! That was before the pandemic did a number on my hair and I learned the true meaning to the term, “bad hair day.” I never looked good in baseball caps with my boy-short hair but now, with longer hair I actually look good in them and I'm wishing I could go back to Goodwill and get a few of my husband's back. (Other widows know how hard it is to let go of a spouse's favorite hats and t-shirts.) Anyway, on bad hair days when my super thick pandemic inspired hair style has a mind of its own I love rocking my new hat. It makes me feel like I‘m sneaking around in a disguise. Looking for blog fodder, perhaps?

The second day when I had to stay away from home for six hours I discovered that my other new baseball shirt has a major league problem. The buttonholes are slightly too big for the buttons thus I was flashing people randomly and going forward I’ll have to wear a tank top under it. (Side note here: that night I watched my first ever baseball game on TV. I don't even know who I am anymore!)

I ran a ton of errands that second day but I ended up doing something I shouldn’t have. I stopped at a donut shop and I had been doing so well these past 4-5 weeks with eating issues. Lost a few pounds, kicked the sugar habit and it felt good to be in control again. I’ve always been a stress eater but I can’t blame my fall from diet-grace on an impulsive thought. I had a six minute car ride where my better self could have talked my bad-girl half into being a responsible eater. What happened is I was planning to sit in the park to read my Kindle but when I got there someone had rented all the tables for a party, so there was no place to sit. Almost no one will agree that this was a comfort food emergency but the screwed-up bad girl who lives in my head thought so because it was the first thing she thought when she saw the cake for the party in the park. They get gluten. I need some!

I wrote the above part of this post over the weekend and am adding the following tonight on Monday: My realtor came over to present three offers on the house that came in after 4 1/2 days on the market and 16 showings. It felt like he was talking out of both sides of his mouth because when I signed his contract he said we’d market it for a week, then look at all the offers at one time. But when I questioned why we weren't doing that, he said all three offers were too good to make solid, potential buyers wait chancing them withdrawing their offers and moving on. 

All three offers were at least $8,000 above my listing price and in the same range of one another. Two highest had the clause that could have sent them into a bidding war to add another $7,000, if I had wanted to play that game. I didn't. I didn't because in my mind that's taking a chance that the deal could fall apart if the appraisal didn't come in high enough for their lender. The pandemic held-back a glut of foreclosures that are ready to pop onto the market so time would not have be on my side if my house ended back on the market just as its flipping to a buyer's market. That factored heavily into my decision not to trigger the bidding war.

The offer I choose was $1,000 lower than the highest offer but they waved the inspections and had some serious cash in their financial disclosures and they were pre-approved for a house $30,000 higher than mine. They also waved me paying $1,000 rent for the extra 30 days possession. Plus their earnest check was $10,000 compared to the other potential bidding warrior who only offered $3,000. $3,000 isn't that much if someone wanted to walk from the deal at any point. In other words, I played it safe and stress-free. While I was working all the pros and cons of each offer I felt like I was back in my teens again sitting in front of my all-time favorite board game, Monopoly. The real-life version is scary!

The worst of the selling process is over. (I hope.) Next step: the appraisal in 10 days and the closing around August 20th. I won't breathe easy until the closing but I've done all I could to hedge my bids for a smooth outcome for selling my house.

I'm in mini-vacation mode right until the end of the week when I start planing out the next three months. Now, my only plan is to smell up the house cooking some protein on the indoor grill. ©

Photo Note: Because my blog is also my diary, I'm documenting more photos of the outside of my house plus some basement shots.


Zero steps entry

Back deck

Side deck, dog pen and 1 of my 3 white pines to the right.

My nature stripe. It goes back to the pines and is very colorful the first half of summer. To the right in front of the trees is 25-30 feet of black raspberry bushes that really brings in the wildlife this time of the year.
 
First view coming down the street




I just noticed he didn't get my cattails bog in any of the photos. It's on the left across from my dog pen  white fence and behind the rocks---but you can't see it here. Bummer! The white pine is one of three in a row that I planted when they were 5 foot babies.

41 comments:

  1. I'm so happy it has progressed this far. I'm with you, the choice you made was the wise one. It's a scary business and will a big relief when the sale closes. Warm wishes and best of luck!

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    1. Thanks. I was in my car parked down the street when two of people who wrote offers came through and from a distance I liked them both. I have a habit of judging people instantly. One was a veteran just out of the service, a lieutenant and veterans can buy a house with zero money down with a VA load. He spend so much time at my house, sat down on my front patio and my side deck and walked the yard twice. Pacing up and down. I could tell he liked it and was going to make an offer. I felt bad he didn't get it.

      The offer I accepted came from an older couple---only older people I saw go through the place and they spent a lot of time in the back yard, more than inside the place. They'd been looking for a house since April when they first got approved for a loan. I like to think they appreciated aging-in -lace features of the house. I'll know at the closing. I'm sure.

      The third offer and highest came from out of the country and they'd have been buying it sight unseen just from photos. As I told my realtor, if he's had been the only bid I would have turned it down and kept looking. I have too much sentiment invested in this place to sell it as just a house and not a home. Plus I'm not a greedy person so his hefty bidding war clause did not sway me.

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  2. Oh Jean, your posts always tickle me. Sure glad you're nearly done riding the Crazy Train! Congratulations on receiving multiple offers. Guessing there are times you nearly have to pinch yourself to make sure this is reality. When a person is immersed in preparations, like you've been for months (and I'm right there, too), the train returns to the station, we get off, and suddenly, we hardly know what to do. I like your idea of doing some serious, smelly cooking. I just checked out Woman Within's baseball shirts. They come in some great colors! Do they run true to size for you? They're sure reasonable. I might have to order some!! Thanks for the tip. Be sure to rest and enjoy this time!!

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    1. I now! it seems weird to not have anything I have to do right now house related. It's a good feeling and a lot of that comes from knowing on paper the buyers look really solid.

      I love those shirts and I need to order a couple more because I see they are on sale. Be prepared to wait because their shipping is slow but if anything they run a little on the big side, which I like.

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  3. You mentioned "a bunch of inconsiderate agents in town" and in my experience [long ago] some places we lived had boorish oafs for realtor, while other places had the most gracious people ever. It's the luck of the draw I'd say. Which also gets me to my congratulations, with fingers crossed, that all goes well with the inspections and closing. You're making progress.

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    1. They waved inspections so all I have to get past in the appraisal and my realtor says he thinks it will have no problem appraising for the selling price. They will take into consideration that it sold in 4 1/2 days with multi offers all in the same ball park and other houses on my street that sold this summer for more.

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  4. Jean, you were Wise not initiating a Bidding War, that's what the previous Owner of this allowed to happen and 5 Buyers fell thru and they had to offer it back to us for far less. I'm so Happy for you getting solid Buyers and more than one of them so soon while it's still a Seller's Market, now you can breathe again! OMG your Basement is like a Warehouse and the exterior of your Home has such Amazing Curb Appeal! No wonder it didn't take long... and yes, the Lookers and their Agents can be unbelievable sometime, that's why it's best not to endure too many of them... I know you read my Stories too of what we'd find when we returned... people helping themselves to our food and beverages, forgetting to close or lock doors, grinding their Kids chocolate candy into my Persian Rugs and leaving the half drank Juices and Sodas around the Home so we'd realize how intrusive they'd been! I was so relieved too not to have to spend Hours away from the House while Strangers were roaming our Home, it gave me a lot of Anxiety, I didn't like it at all. When you have all this totally behind you, it's smooth sailing the rest of the way towards your new Life's Journey my Friend!

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    1. Thanks for the story about what can happen with a bidding war. I've never had first or second hand knowledge of one but using simple lodge---looking at the pros and cons of what could happen---didn't seem worth the extra money. Showing your house really is filled with anxiety. Fingers crossed I won't have to do it again.

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  5. Wow, congratulations! I’m glad you had offers to chose from. Now is the hurry up and wait part.

    Btw, I’d just sew a bit of those too big buttonholes closed to make them smaller.

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    1. Thanks. I thought about sewing them closed and I will probably do that after I get settled. I packed up all my sewing supplies. I keep running into other stuff I packed too soon. LOL

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  6. This is terrific news, and a testament to your careful planning and good, hard work. Probably now you'll be wearing sunglasses all the time because the light at the end of the tunnel is so close!

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    1. I love that sun glasses thought! I'm going to borrow it to use in my off-line life.

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  7. Congratulations! Wishing you smooth sailing to the move!

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  8. I'm so happy for you and I too think you made the right choice with your bid selection. It sounds like the people purchasing the house do plan to age in place and I'm sure they will love the house/home as much as you and your husband loved it.

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    1. I think so too and as crazy as it sounds it means something to me to have the place appreciated for all the hidden design features that make it ideal for aging in place like having transfer bar and charging station in the garage for an electric wheelchair.

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  9. I'm tickled your beautiful property got snatched so quickly. I agree, your path through has been wise. The buyers sound solid, generous and probably as giddy as a schoolgirl who has landed a date with the boy she has a crush on.

    Me, I'd be having separation anxiety now that the property transfer wheels are set in motion. Come to think about it, my separation anxiety dissipated when I handed to keys to my RV to its new owner. Then it was relief.

    Enjoy smelling up your house and leaving dirty dished in the sink!

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    1. And not having to make my bed and be out the door by 9:00. If I had to do that much longer I would have croaked if I had to keep doing it.

      I don't think I'll have separation anxiety because I won't miss the maintenance and if I stayed here I'd have to watch the house go down hill because I wouldn't be able to keep up. That idea makes me sad and happens too often to those seniors who stay at the party too long.

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  10. So happy that things turned out this well. It's always stressful waiting for the close, but it sounds like you made a sound decision. As for the out-of-country offer, we had Canadian neighbors in our previous home and they haven't seen their home in almost two years. The border opening keeps being pushed back. Not a great spot to be in buying a house??

    I still can't get over the agent at your door requesting a showing in four minutes. The nerve of some people. We always loved our agents, but we sure ran into some doozies on the other end of the sales over the years.

    Congrats!!!

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    1. The Canadian deal could have turned sour in a heart beat if a variation of Covid gets out of hand and the numbers here in our state are going up. I knew I was going to turn that offer down before I ever saw it. But someone with dollars signs in their eyes probably would have gone for it.

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  11. Congratulations! All the work done ahead of time and the perfect staging of furniture helped that happen in four days!! So close Aug 30 and you can stay til Oct 30 if needed .... just move smoothly over to the next phase of your life!

    That was a LOT of showings in a short time. Enjoy a little slower pace now.

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    1. Closing more like August 20 which gives me 15 days in October to solve a last minute emergency with my Oct 5th move-in date. Just perfect timing for me and if all goes well, they'll like getting the house earlier than the 20th.

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  12. I'm not surprised that you have buyers fighting over your home. It's beautiful!

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  13. Congratulations! No more leaving the house -- with or without a baseball cap! That sounds like the smart offer to accept and extra nice about not having to rent your own house for a month or so. But how odd that the realtor doesn't follow them out, then go back in to check on things like the toilet seat and open door. How odd?

    Still, all in all, VERY good news, and I'm thrilled for you!

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    1. Thank you. Realtors are supposed to lock up and you'd think look for toilet seats up. I figure it as a guy realtor how missed the seat, probably does it at home. I'm just happy they flushed. LOL

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  14. Wow, that went great and smooth. So glad that it is all working out the way you wanted and that you will have those extra days, rent free. That takes a bit of the pressure out of moving out.

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  15. Dear Jean, I thought I left a comment, but Google seems to want more from me????? I'm so inept with technology. Anyway, what I said before is that all those decisions you made while downsizing/decluttering have brought such wonderful success to your endeavors. I'm so happy for you. Congratulations! Peace.

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    1. Thank you! It feels like the weigh of the world is lifting off my shoulders.

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  16. Great news, Jean! I am sure it will all go according to plan, and if it doesn’t you won’t have any problem attracting another buyer… based on results!

    Deb

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    1. It might be harder when the market turns but the accessibility aspect of this house will always be in demand, I believe.

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  17. Congratulations on accepting an offer -- and I think you are so smart to trade off some money for less stress!

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    1. I'm excited and kind of shell-shocked it went so fast. When I sold my last house it fell apart at the closing and it was SO stressful. I'm truly hoping to avoid that this time.

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  18. Congratulations. I'm so happy for your. I think your decision process was right on. What a relief you must be feeling now - that is if it has set in yet.

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    1. I feel kind of lost without a job list to do. I thought I'd be in showings mode longer so I had nothing else planned.

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  19. When my sister in law sold her house she had to go through a lot of that stuff too.

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    1. It's really stressful and if the closing goes smoothly, I'll never have to do it again.

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  20. You will have a good offer on your beautiful house by your next blog.

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    1. i accepted an offer already, see above last half of this blog entry.

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  21. I'm thrilled to death for you. I'm sure the closing will be a breeze, and you'll have to content yourself with thinking about all the fun of moving into your new place. Selling is a hassle, and moving is too, but there's always (for me) a sense of excitement. Who doesn't enjoy figuring out where everything's going to go?

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    1. That part---building a new nest---really is fun, isn't it.

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