A minute ago I was looking for a photo for a blog post and I clicked on the “Last 12 Months” button in iPhoto. What a rush of memories that occasioned. It was exactly one year ago that I set about preparing to sell the house in which I’d lived for 17 years. It had been a tough decision, one I’d worried over for at least seven years. It was a charming house, and I was used to its vagaries. I knew where to smack the heater so it’d work, and I had long since figured my way around the non-functional oven in the old Wedgewood kitchen stove. I liked my neighbors just fine, and the neighborhood suited me. So why sell?
My friends told me I was crazy to sell it, that I should just invest a little money in it. I liked my house, but was it the right one for me as I prepare for retirement? It had two stories, no garage, no air conditioning and was very old and a little creaky. My neighbor had allowed a beautiful but nasty vine to take over the gigantic tree that canopied our houses, and the branches on my side were slowly dying. But it was mine, and so cute. And I didn’t owe much on it. I could have easily stayed there, but a little voice just kept nudging me to go for it, to see what might happen.
I found a realtor, a friend of my daughter’s, who was new and motivated. He prepared a market analysis of my house, and then walked around and told me what I’d have to do to show it in its best light. I took a deep breath and dug in. I rented a storage unit and began to fill boxes with nonessential stuff. Each day I filled the back of my Prius and hauled them to the storage unit. Eventually I completely filled it, and my house began to breathe again. I purchased new curtains, fixed the leaky faucet and repainted the front porch. I planted pots of flowers on the back deck, bought a patio umbrella and created a little haven back there. New cushions for the porch swing and a good carpet cleaning and I was finally ready to list it.
My friends were still disapproving. They just didn’t get it. What if I did all this and it didn’t sell? Where did I plan to live if it sold? What would I do then? I steadfastly ignored them. I told them, “I’m just trusting the process.”
On July 23, 2012 I listed my house. In the following week we had an open house, a realtor open house and it was shown multiple times. By the following Saturday I had six offers, each above the asking price. I chose a young couple who wanted a place to live over the investors who wanted to flip it, and on Sunday the 29th we opened escrow. Still trusting the process.
That Sunday morning, at coffee with my friends I was asked, “So what’s your game plan now? You have to move in 30 days. Where are you going to live?” I said I didn’t know, but I was going to continue to trust the process. It seemed to be working pretty well, so I had no reason to doubt the outcome yet.
Monday morning I went on Craig’s list to look for a rental. I knew there was nothing on the multiple listing service that I liked or wanted to buy, so had decided to rent until something came up. When I realized how many applications I’d have to fill out just to sublet a place I clicked over to the “Homes for Sale” section, and there it was. A nice looking place, priced reasonably, for sale by owner. Just put on Craig’s List that morning. It was definitely one to go look at. I called my daughters and asked them to come with me.
The moment we pulled up in front of this house I knew it was something special. As we toured the inside I checked things off my list. Big trees, skylights, garage, one story, three bedrooms, air conditioning, not too big, not too small…then they took me to see the back yard, and I was sold. I have always viewed my home as my safe haven, and often my old house hadn’t felt like that. This place was tucked away on a quiet street, had a beautifully landscaped backyard which was completely private. And it had a swimming pool. That was not on my list but it was so pretty. I had found my house.
As we left I asked my daughter to drive so I could call the owners to tell them I wanted to make an offer on it. Later that night I returned with my realtor and I bought that house. Tuesday morning I entered a second escrow and the paperwork began in earnest. Between the middle of July and Labor Day I had sold one house and bought and moved into another. It had all happened just perfectly, without my masterminding it.
Now, as float around in the pool on our triple digit summer days, I gaze at my house and whisper, “Thank you. Just thank you.” I’m home, and it couldn’t be righter. I trusted what was larger than myself and I’m so thankful I did.