The months of April through July were full of packing, renovating, staging and cleaning. I collected a stack of business cards from various painters, handymen, plumbers, etc, as I tried to take care of all the things in the house that had gone unattended for years. I learned the difference between propane fixtures and natural gas fixtures by trial and error. I learned that you have to have a plumber to install a propane cooktop, but that they won’t know anything about how they are supposed to work. David learned how to replace the grout in the bathroom tile (although, after doing two showers, he probably would just as soon forget it).
“Only paint the rooms that need to be painted – maybe just one accent wall,” the realtor said. But the truth is that my whole house needed to be painted. I started with the worst wall, but each completed wall just made the one next to it look so much worse! David was doing the painting for me. I noticed that when he would finish a room he would try to avoid me, because he knew I would have decided one more wall needed to be done. I threw things away, boxed things up and put them in storage, re-arranged furniture and staged rooms. By the time I finally decided I had done all I was willing to do, all I could see were the flaws.
There were still plenty of flaws left. The laundry room was not painted. I had found a really easy fix for that hole in the closet door on Youtube and decided to give it a try (David was gone on a rock-climbing trip, or he would have stopped me). It looked worse than ever when I got done. The master bedroom had received no facelift other than the removal of some furniture to make it look bigger. I cleaned the carpets, but they were stained and loose. The photographer came to take pictures of the house for the listing. The house in the photos was beautiful. I started worrying that people would come in and think, “Oh! This doesn’t look anything like the pictures!”
On July 27, the house went on the market. On July 28th we showed it 4 times. In all we showed it about 400 20 times. We had indicated on the listing that we would not be able to leave the house for showings. Each time people came to the door I welcome them with these words, “If you will please start upstairs, that will give me time to get my husband up from the bed to a chair for you to tour the master bedroom.” People were more than willing to accommodate. They were patient with my husband’s need to tell them all sorts of details they may, or may not need to know. The feedback was mostly positive, but we had no offers.
The last week in August a young couple came to tour the house. I can’t explain why, but I just really liked them. The young wife seemed to be asking all the right questions. They seemed to appreciate all the things I love about this property and house. When they left, I told Strokeman, “I want them to buy the house!”
Two days later, we had not heard anything, and I decided to ask our realtor if we needed to think about lowering the price. Before I called him, he called me. The young couple had made a full offer on the house, asking that we pay closing costs and buy a one-year home warranty. I didn’t even think about it. I just said yes! They set the closing date for October 9, in order to give us plenty of time to find and modify a place to move.
The next day David, his girlfriend, Eden, and I went to look at houses with my realtor. We looked at 6 houses. Only one of them was close enough to what I wanted to consider doing a “wheelchair run”. We agreed to meet back the next day so that I could bring Strokeman to take a look. Hours before our appointment my realtor called to say he had a house I needed to look at before making a decision. He thought it would need less in the way of modifications. I headed out the door to take a look.
The new house was designed in a way that was so much more conducive to our lives! There are double doors into the master bedroom. It is large enough for a sitting area, which will sport a lovely daybed for those nights when a sitter will need to stay close (or I just need my own space). The shower has a built-in seat. The builders had already offered to pour ramps at the doors for the wheelchair. The other bedrooms are on the opposite side of the house. The upstairs sports a bedroom, bath, and sitting area that will be perfect for my daughter. The formal dining area off of the foyer will make a lovely private sitting area for me.
I asked the community manager what it would cost to exchange the carpet in the master for tile, and she said they could “throw that in”. What about bars in the shower and toilet area? Yes. A refrigerator? We could have that at builder’s cost. Only thing left was the wheelchair run. This also went well. Unbelievably, three days after signing a contract to sell, I signed a contract to buy.
The next big hurdle was the home inspection. I had heard horror stories of inspectors who nick-picked through peoples’ houses in ways that made buyers back out. It was a discipline to stay calm and not fret. The inspection took hours. The inspector was friendly, and asked few questions. Once he was done he told me he had found nothing major. I let out a sigh of relief.
The next day we heard from the buyers. They sent a list of 4 things to be fixed prior to the closing, all of which were reasonable, only one being pricey. I set about getting these things done. Now all that is left is getting the modifications completed on the new house, setting the official closing dates, and getting moved.
As I look back on this year I am amazed at how many seemingly insurmountable hurdles have been overcome. God has provided the right people at the right time. He has provided not just what I need, but also a number of things that I want, like that Red Oak in my new front yard. I will rest easier when all the papers are signed and I am setting up house in my new home. But for the moment, I am raising Ebenezers.