I am one week away from closing on the sale of the large family home. This has been quite a process. I made the decision to sell in February, moved out in March, then hired a contractor to do some renovating to put the house in better selling condition. That work took two months. The house was on the market for almost three months. After one price drop, one failed negotiation and one scam offer, I had a contract with a legitimate buyer in late July.
Did I mention that the first item on the inspector’s trouble list is that my mailbox didn’t have a flag on it? It went downhill from there.
I managed to get through the post-inspection negotiation but it took two weeks and I finally had to assert a “take it or leave it position” to conclude it.
Word to the wise: When you downsize out of your older family home, sell it “as is.” Let the buyers inspect and back out if they want but make it clear that you will not be fixing anything. That limits you to a single negotiation period and a lot less stress in the end.
Even though I had taken many trips to the dump and goodwill since 2013, there was a lot more to do to get the house empty. Everything is almost gone. In two days, a local non-profit is bringing a large truck to remove the remaining furniture, knick-knacks, and kitchen items. Very little has gone to my sons – they just don’t want it and I don’t blame them.
Two Saturdays ago we had “family in the attic” day. Thirty-two years of childhood memories for my sons and I to review in dozens of boxes and storage bins. Their Mom was a super memory saver. Even I was amazed by what had been accumulated. We had a great time going through the boxes and re-living family history. It was fun and somewhat sad at the same time because their Mom wasn’t around to share it and because it was like a final goodbye to the home where they did most of their growing up.
The boys took a few things with them and I moved several boxes of stuff to the lake today plus a gazillion photos. Most of the attic stuff, however, was donated (baby clothes and toys) or tossed (school papers, etc.) It was hard to throw so much documentation of childhood history in the trash but it was time for this to happen. I feel good about what I still have. Fortunately, we have built a separate set of family memories here at the lake so we have a good foundation on which to create more. It also helps immensely that my three boys all live nearby.
In the midst of the stress and hard work of emptying a 5000 square foot house, I treated myself. I bought myself a new sports car – a Mazda Miata. My first car was a 1966 Austin Healey Sprite that I bought in 1970 for $600. The last new car I bought for myself was in 1974. Since then all of the new cars in the family have been minivans and SUVs. I bought used cars for me or drove hand-me down family vehicles. I was ready for another another two-seater roadster that I could enjoy during top-down weather. So far I love it. I still have the SUV for bad weather days and to haul dogs and boats when needed. When you are ready and if the budget permits, go for it. I have already met several members of the local Miata club and most of them are like me – enjoying the benefits of an empty nest.
Susan has been a tremendous help to me during this downsizing activity, not just packing and carrying but providing emotional support during the more difficult times.
I’m looking forward to the post-closing weeks to come, as I anticipate the December arrival of my first grandson. Also, my Mom is soon moving to an independent living community near family in Virginia, a huge step for her.
What an exciting time this is. It’s good to be alive.