Hello again, my friends. It’s nice to say Hello. ♪♫♪ I’m humbled that a few of you actually noticed my lengthy absence and took the time to inquire if I’m still walking the earth.
Thank you! I feel loved. And yes, I am still upright and breathing.
My house, not so much.
So, you may recall how back in March I was blogging about the great “Cleanup of 2016” at our house. That was the week we decided for sure that we were going to build our downsizing dream home about 25 miles away (different city, same state). But, we weren’t telling anyone yet. First, we had to get ourselves and Our House ready to sell.
We had no idea what we were getting ourselves into.
Soon we had a giant rental bin in the driveway and we were moving heaven and earth – [aka about 4 tons of ‘junk to the dump’, ‘clutter to charity’ and ‘possessions to storage’] to prep The House for its big debut. We cleaned, and we painted. We cleaned, and we rearranged furniture. And then we cleaned again.
We exhausted every spare moment of our time – and our physical health – into The House. In between all of this, Mr. Mo and the girls came down with a serious case of Bronchitis (I miraculously stayed well), and I was at the Tabernacle nearly every night either rehearsing for or performing Mahler’s Eighth Symphony, then Handel’s Messiah and then General Conference!
And then we cleaned some more.
Lesson #1: Preparing to sell a home is not for the faint of heart.
The big day arrived. The House hit the MLS in style thanks to our very savvy and wise realtor who provides Sellers a team of help, including some interior design ‘stagers’, a cleaning lady who comes for 3 hours, and a professional photographer who even created a classy music video displaying the Irresistibility of our home! It paid off. The buyers came to see The House in droves. While we suddenly became ‘displaced persons’ – wandering around town and otherwise killing time with all our laundry and garbage cans stuffed in the back of the car – (because buyers want to see a “dream home”, not reminders of real life).
In less than 24 hours we had received 4 offers. Yes, FOUR. How exciting! We had heard it is a hopping sellers market, but we really didn’t expect that kind of rapid response. We pondered over each of the offers, chose the best of the bunch, and made a counter offer. They had about 24 hours to respond. We didn’t get a lot of sleep that night.
The next day, less than one hour before our buyers said they would be responding, our realtor received a frantic call from another realtor stating that HER client just LOVED our home and HAD to have it, and was offering $10K MORE than our asking price if we just cancelled our deal with the current offer and took hers.
Our realtor quickly advised us that we needed to immediately “rescind” our counter offer to Buyer #1, in order to accept the mega-offer from Buyer #2.
Of course we did.
Buyer #2 wrote the offer, we signed the offer [all done electronically these days], and The Angel Choir sang!
Our realtor told us that Buyer #2 requested to return to the home that night to show it to her parents. Sure, No problem!
We floated on a cloud all day thinking “Is this real life?!”
Could we even dare to dream of the possibilities of making more from the house than we were even asking?
The next morning real life called.
Our realtor delivered the news that Moneybags Buyer #2 didn’t actually want The House now.
She “changed her mind”.
Our realtor suspects that Buyer #2 had actually NEVER SEEN the house when she made the offer. She and her realtor knew that she could sign a deal and simply walk away with no consequences later. During this current frantic sellers market in northern Utah, where there are so many buyers and so few homes available, Buyer #2 pulled the ultimate stunt to tie up our house until she could see it on her terms.
Lesson #2. Realtors lie. Buyers lie. All that glitters is not gold.
So, our realtor goes back to Buyer #1 and says something like, ‘hey, um, sorry! But, hey, good news! That offer we dumped you for? Well, yeah, it just fell through now, so we’d sure like to return to the table with your offer.’
Their response: “We’ve moved on.”
You’ve moved on?! After 24 hours?
Classic teenage breakup.
So. There you go. We got our hopes up, did our happy dance, and then were dashed all in the space of about 36 hours. Emotional tsunami. Worse, we wasted a perfectly good Friday being taken off of the market, and now we were quickly re-listing on the rebound.
Would anyone want us, or were we just ‘used and cheapened’ goods now?
Turns out, no need to worry. As soon as The House hit the market there was another feeding frenzy. Once more, Ninja The Cat was carted off to pet daycare, and the rest of us spent our entire day driving around with all our dirty laundry and garbage cans crammed in the trunk. Killing time again, window shopping, wandering around our dream home property, and eating out.
Lesson #3. Selling a house isn’t cheap. And it’s very inconvenient.
For one thing, you can no longer cook in your home for fear of either creating offending smells, or causing unnecessary cleanup. Therefore, you WILL be forced to choose between eating PBJ sandwiches in your car with your dirty laundry…., or eating out. [hint: eating out always wins]
We received another good offer on The House 24 hours later. A nice but very young couple who loved the house and were willing to invest in the upgrades needed. Hooray!!
Relax! [but wait…]
Everything was great now. We were finally under contract! Again. For reals. The house was off the market! Again. For reals. We could finally wash our laundry, have a garbage can in the kitchen, and cook a real meal. We could even take a shower [instead of washing our hair in the kitchen sink over a strainer to catch the hair] and just relax! Hooray!
We were looking forward to closing in 30 days, moving into the little apartment that we had found with affordable rent that we had undergone background checks for and paid over $900 to hold for us, and begin the next chapter of our lives building our dream home. The timing couldn’t be more perfect!
Everything was working out. All was right with the world.
And it was perfectly wonderful!
For 3 glorious days.
Will You Marry Me?
After entering into contract with The Buyer we began what our realtor likes to call the “Engagement Period.” This is when The Buyer “gets to know” the house, the neighborhood and the community intimately, and decides whether they really want to make the ultimate commitment.
During this “Due Diligence” week, The Buyer can check out the schools, attend the neighborhood church, or even go around knocking on doors and talking to all your neighbors to see if this is where they want to live Happily Ever After.
This is also the time that the Buyer can pay for an Inspection of the home.
Insert Spooky Music Here
Almost all home buyers order an inspection. That’s a given. But where our particular Buyers found their particular inspector is an unsolved mysery.
The next thing we know, our realtor is sending me a frantic text reading “it looks like our Buyers are going to walk.”
It turns out the Buyers were pretty darn scared after The Infamous Inspector told them – among other things – that our roof was caving in (wrong), we had “active termites” (seriously? No!), we had toxic mold throughout the whole house (say what?!) and … drumroll… our foundation was cracked and caving in (and this guy is Who?!).
We offered to repair or mitigate any of these issues if we found the claim was actually true. And, in a desperate attempt to save the deal, and save our dream, we even offered to lower the price of the home (without even knowing if any of The Infamous Inspector’s claims were true).
Their response was classic: “No amount of money would ever make us feel safe in that house.”
End of sale. Bye bye.
Seriously. Is this really happening?
Our realtor requested a copy of The Infamous Inspector’s report.
It was never sent.
We were annoyed, but not surprised.
We scrambled to get a bunch of contractors into The House to evaluate all the crazy claims. Without the inspection report we were left to guessing where and what they were actually talking about. In the end, we simply ordered our OWN inspection from a reputable company (which cost us $300).
Lesson #4. When selling a home, particularly an older home, consider paying for an inspection BEFORE you even list on the market so you can address any needed repairs – and ensure you don’t get a nasty “Surprise!” that ruins your sale.
We learned that none of The Infamous Inspector’s claims were accurate, and several were just figments of his cruel imagination.
Our independent inspector wrote:
“This is a nice sturdy home needing a few upgrades and repairs.”
So there you have it.
If These Walls Could Talk
Mold is bad.
For one thing, mold never dies. Nope. It simply goes “dormant”. So, if you introduce some water into the area where mold is sleeping, it “regenerates” and starts growing again. It can also send off mold “spores” into the air which can be quite dangerous if inhaled.
Our independent inspector found a small patch of “dormant mold” in the corner of the basement.So, we called in an expert mold remover [“Remediator”] to clean it up and do things right.
Which means, it was quite dramatic.
He put up a bunch of heavy duty plastic walls which completely sealed in the lower level of the home, then donned a hazmat suit and gas mask and the whole deal. Our house suddenly looked like a full-out CDC laboratory! Or, that scene in Monster’s Inc. when they have to sterilize the whole place due to humans. Or, that traumatic scene from E.T. – you know the one? – with the “evil” government scientists trying to dissect the cute little alien before Elliot saves him with his flying bicycle. Yeah, that’s what our house looked like. Without the evil scientists. Or the cute little alien. Or the flying bicycle.
You get the idea.
Then the “Mold Remediation” began by slowly dissecting a section of our wallboard, and checking for any more mold.
Sadly, there was more mold. 😥
More than we, or our Remeidator expected. Definitely not what the Infamous Inspector or anyone else could have ever known about without doing a fancy laboratory air sample test. Or taking out part of the wall.
At some point in the past life of our house there had been a flood or a leak between the walls. It may have happened before we even bought the home twelve years ago. There is evidence previous owners purposely hid mold, (such as carefully painting over moldy carpet tack boards). So, walls had to come out. Several. And eventually the entire bathroom and laundry room, and half of a bedroom, including the tiled shower, and even the flooring … all chopped up to pieces and carted away in sterile containers!
MOLD = My new ‘most offensive four letter word’!
In the end, all that was left in the bathroom was a toilet, some wall and floor joists and some old pipes that would need replacing.
Lesson #5. When Selling Your Home, Pray for the Best. Expect The Worse.
So Now What?
As of today, here’s what we’ve got:
- One Fully cleaned House.
- One Fully extra-cleaned basement.
- Fully cleaned carpets.
- Fully cleaned air vents and ducts.
- Fully cleaned, fogged, disinfected, ultra-amazing air.
- An independent air sampling test with lab-certified results of ultra-amazing, no-mold-in-this-house air. [Breathe Deeply! Enjoy!]
- A certificate of No Termites [with a 15 year guarantee].
- A certificate from the independent inspector that the house is “Structurally Sound.”
- And did I mention how CLEAN the house is?
Here’s what we are working on:
- Rebuilding the basement bathroom: This is our biggest hurdle right now. It was very difficult finding a contractor that could not only meet our minuscule budget, but could agree to start doing the work right now. We found Contractor John. A jolly good soul, and a very talented craftsman. He’s overbooked and a bit under-medicated. (Talks a mile a minute.) 🙂 Contractor John gave us an excellent bid, but we are worried about how long it’s going to take him to complete the job.
- Repairing some roof shingles in 3 small places: Next week – The roof still has 5 years of life left, but some tree branches have damaged some sections of tiles.
- “Lifting” the concrete on the back patio: Next Tuesday, This is a major cosmetic issue, but not structural. They will fill in all the uneven places, raising the concrete steps to correct placement and smooth out all the cracks. It will be just like new!
The House was already great to begin with. Now, The House is going to be freaking awesome when all of this is done.
Contractor John can’t give us a time estimate. It could be 5 days. It could be 10 days. It could be “a little more” since he is trying to “work us in.”
I have a sinking feeling.
Friday he enthusiastically said he would start Saturday morning “first thing” at 7 am. Which means now he is starting “first thing Monday.” Yep. The thrills of selling The House never cease.
It would be nice to just have a smooth, simple sell with NO DRAMA.
Is that really too much to ask?
Okay. Yes, it is too much to ask.
My life is anything but smooth.
But, things could be worse, right? Actually, they could. Especially if this weekend’s major Wind Storm is as bad as they are saying.
But, we’re going to get through this!
Last but not least:
Lesson #6. When selling a house, PRAY WISELY!
For example, you could pray for a “fast sell” or “a smooth sell” or even that “The Infamous Inspector will not come to this house, but if he does he will find nothing wrong with This House” – THOSE would ALL be excellent prayer choices!
Just NEVER – I repeat, NEVER – pray that “the right family will find” your house.
One guess which prayer I said. – MoSop
Love your commentary – very funny – and pleased that things are working out for you with your home….
Lyn from Tasmania, Australia
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You are a spectacular writer. I laughed and laughed. You really ought to send this off to Readers Digest or someone like that!
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This is a wonderful post. And you’ve gone above and beyond for a seller. Best wishes!
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What a nightmare. Sounds like the movie Money Pit. Thankfully, you are doing everything right. Mold is a serious problem, it’s also easy to cover up, so I’m proud of you for getting it fixed. Having sold 3 houses, I know what a struggle it is to keep things clean, even if your children aren’t young. I figured you hadn’t written a new blog for a good reason, but I had no idea. Hopefully, this nightmare will be over with soon, and you and Mr. Mo can building your dream home and live happily ever after. Heaven knows, you deserve it.
Love you, Lynne
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I read this with a view of a wonderful television show with all the details. Delightfully painful. Very best wishes to you and yours. Our home of 53 years will need to be bulldozed to get me out!
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