When your offer is accepted on a house you want to buy, the nausea is ten times worse than when you’re waiting to find out if they accept your offer. At least that’s how it is in our situation.
You schedule the home and inspections on a 70 year old farmhouse. You receive a 20 page report detailing all the problems with the structure, ventilation, HVAC, electrical and more…and realized you’ve ask to buy more of a fixer-upper than just simply a house that needs to be remodeled for the modern day. You hear that the septic inspection never got finished because it turns out the seller didn’t have the septic tank even accessible because it’s 3 to 5 feet underground and she decided to simply cover it with soil and grass rather than making it easy for the buyer and septic companies to get into…forcing our wait three more days to see if it’s in good condition, not to mention realizing that a 4-foot by 4-foot section of the backyard would be excavated and ugly when we come back. You find out about things like beetle infestation in the crawl space and supporting beams and you learn about homeowners who don’t care about electrical code or proper insulation or ventilation, and you realize that simply replacing the windows and painting the roof would not be your first orders of business if you go through with this transaction. You also see how incorrigible working with certain people are when you have been asking for two solid weeks who the internet provider is and no one seems to want to give you the actual answer. (We were told that in this area of South Astoria that DSL would probably be the only thing we could get, which while not ideal was workable for what I need for my business…but when I went to the DSL provider’s website, the address of this house does not come up as an area where they provide internet service…only telephone) So you end up having to be a raging bitch because the seller simply saying (to the listing agent who tells my agent who tells me… God forbid anybody be allowed to talk directly to anyone else) “it’s through the phone company” is not an answer… especially since you can get phone service in many ways, including satellite. Reading the satellite reviews about ViaSat and HughesNet are not exactly encouraging not to mention the fact that we’d be paying almost double for service that gives you about a third of the quality and speed we’ve been getting. It makes a gal nauseous.
And then of course you’re also simultaneously putting your own house on the market, which sounds all cute and adorable until you realize that you basically have to treat your own home like you are both living at and working at a hotel. Four or five times a day you have to leave your house when there are appointments to view it because you’re not allowed to be there, and you’re constantly sweeping and washing things by hand in the kitchen sink (because you don’t want to have anything in the dishwasher in case God forbid they look at it and see the inside that doesn’t look like you’re still at the showroom) and picking flowers for vases and putting throw pillows that you got it Ikea just for this purpose back on the sofa and the bistro table on the deck that you’re going to return as soon as this is all over because you hate little tiny bistro tables where your ass barely fits on the chair if at all. Your husband knows that when he gets up at 4 a.m. to go to work that it better look like he was never there by the time I get up because the majority of these appointments are while I am at home and he is at his job.
Which of course leads to the fact that I’m trying to run a business from my home and while I can do some things on my smartphone, I basically have to go sit out in my car if I have a phone interview because I can’t go to a cafe and be one of those obnoxious assholes treating it like it’s their own personal office doing phone calls and typing loudly on a keyboard for 3 hours while drinking a $0.50 cup of coffee. So yeah that’s fun.
… And all the while thinking about the fact that total strangers are walking through your house and you’re having to trust that they’re not going to touch your shit… As my friend M said, it feels like tiny micro violations….
Then along with that there is your team of real estate professionals who are helping you out but also at the same time have been doing it for so long that they look at you like you’re crazy when this stuff makes you an emotional basket case and you’re not automatically obedient to what they say. When they took pictures of your house and some of the ugliest ones went up on the listing that you asked not to, when you signed paperwork weeks ago for the listing price and the day before it was to go on the market they try to convince you to bring that price down and you have to put your foot down, when you get three text messages and one email about the same thing from two different people because there’s not the kind of organization that you’ve come to expect, when you’re told to get out of your house half an hour before the actual appointment because they gave you the wrong time…and don’t seem to acknowledge the fact that you are trying to run a business just like they are well simultaneously buying and selling a home. When you ask the same question about internet service for two weeks straight and nobody will give you a simple answer as to who the provider is and then they tell you to contact the internet companies yourself and you tell them that you already have and you still don’t have a direct answer. When they don’t see the emotional connection that someone has with their home and that this is naturally going to be an emotionally difficult time for many homeowners. Sure not everybody has the same level of emotion when it comes to selling their home, but I bought this house one year after my divorce was finalized from my first husband. I bought this house by myself and lived in my uncle’s attic for 7 months to make this happen for me and my dog Daisy. I bought this house 12 years ago and did everything I needed to do to keep it during job loss and recession, from renting out the rooms downstairs to selling possessions… I made sure I never missed a payment, while also completely transforming this house over 12 years from a simple yellow inefficient cottage with no garden and weed trees abounding, to a beautiful blue home with new pipes, new insulation, no VOC paints, four gorgeous gardens, all new appliances, remodeled bathroom and kitchen and walk in closet.
I came into this house a newly divorced 32 year old woman not knowing what was coming next. I had changed careers from HR management to recruiting, then sold my car and learned to bike commute, learned through trial and error how to garden and can food and DIY many things in my house. In this house I brought my Rottweiler Daisy and watched her die on our front porch at the age of 14, and years later adopted Ruby and watched her die in our living room a few years later.
In this house I arrived a single divorced woman, and over 12 years I dated, I fell head over heels for a farmer and an English bloke and fell out of love with an emotionally abusive and stalking alcoholic ex-husband, and ultimately through the blog I created while living in this home met the wonderful man who is now my husband.
Since I bought this house, my remaining three grandparents have died, I went through the excruciating loss of my father at his side, as well as lost an uncle, a boss, a co-worker and friend. In this home I went through three and a half years of diagnosed infertility, leaned on the kitchen counter getting the hundreds of Delestrogen and progesterone shots in the bum from my husband, felt the aches and emotional roller coasters of the many hormones during 8 rounds (2 mock, 6 transfers, and 9 embryos) that followed two IUI failures.
In my living room and bathroom and bedroom and kitchen I suffered through the pain of pregnancy loss that my doctor encouraged me to go through at home through medication when finding out our baby had died inside of me at 9 weeks after we had just seen the heartbeat a couple weeks earlier for the first time. In this home we built a nursery, from the changing tray and seashell mobile that my husband built by hand to the books and stuffed animals and art for the room to the DIY Moby Wrap I made and the car seat we bought… all that now sits in boxes in hopes that where we’re going will be the place where a birth mother will and trust her child to live with us after more than a year now of waiting to be chosen following a failed two year wait with Ethiopia who closed their doors just as our last round of IVF was failing. This is the home where those gallons of tears were shed, and as one of the reasons we are making a fresh start and chasing after our dream of living on land in a farmhouse near the beach.
This is what I remind myself of when I get overwhelmed, and while some people may not have the emotional attachment to their domicile like I do, this home has been like a part of my body for the last 12 years, and extricating myself from it is not going to be easy…but ultimately it’ll be worthwhile as we prepare for this new chapter.
So we cross our fingers that a buyer will choose our home at a reasonable price and that the cost of repairs that came up in the inspection can be negotiated when we find those out (and that they won’t be devastating financially) as we are so very ready. And I will tell myself as I tell myself everyday, keep breathing.