As I sit here tonight, I am wondering to myself, “How many more answers to their questions must we provide before they’re satisfied?” And when I refer to ‘they’, I’m referring to the people who are ‘very’ interested in our house. As it turns out, the open house that was held a couple of days ago yielded some positive results. Four different couples toured our home and one of them showed some real promise. Their realtor forwarded our realtor a list of questions and I answered them more than adequately, but now they want to know even ‘more’. In the first batch of questions, they asked how many previous owners there were, whether there was ever a pool in the side yard, whether we had converted the wood burning fireplace to natural gas, and how much our monthly utility payments were (over a period of a year). I understand asking about the total number of previous owners when purchasing a vehicle, but a house? What’s the relevance? Mind you, I did find out and I told them. There were only three, which I think is amazing for a home that’s 62 years old.
I was able to come to this conclusion without too much effort because when we purchased the house seven years ago, our realtor at the time gave us a comprehensive list of all of the permits that were pulled, and it included the names of all of the previous homeowners. It also showed that at one point, our house had a completely different address (number and street). Does that seem unusual to you? I thought so! Regardless, our realtor also told us that there had been a pool in the side yard previously, but the people who we bought the house from had filled it in after it developed a crack (and they didn’t want to pay to repair it). Regarding the natural gas fireplace, I didn’t have to go far for the answers because I was the one who orchestrated the change. Initially, it was a wood burning fireplace and we did enjoy it; however, constantly splitting wood and lugging it inside wasn’t my idea of time well spent, nor was cleaning out the fireplace on a regular basis. Since installing the free natural gas insert that I scored on Craigslist, there is no more splitting or lugging or cleaning. All it takes is the flip of the switch and voila, ‘insta-fire’!
With three of the questions answered (which I was able to do with relative ease), that left me with one remaining. But that ‘one’ took some doing. I figured I could go on-line and log in to the various utility websites in order to pull up the previous payment info for our electricity, gas, garbage/recycling, and water/sewer. I truly believed all it would require was a few minutes of my time. “How hard could it be?” I wondered aloud. I mean, all I would have to do is go to each website, log in, select the set of dates, and either choose ‘download’ or ‘print’, right? Haha! Fat chance!! The first website I encountered gave me nothing but trouble. I had never logged in or even registered before so before I could do anything, I had to register. Most of the time, registering on a website is a pretty simple process, but not in this case. I don’t know what was going haywire but despite trying 6-7 different times to provide a password (which met their criteria), the website would not allow me to register. I kept getting messages in bright red that stated that the password I provided did not meet the requirements. Grrrrr!!!!!!! So much for ‘simple’.
Fortunately, I am a ‘bill collector’ but not like the kind you probably have in mind. You see, each time the bills arrive in the mail and I pay them, I ‘save’ or ‘collect’ them. Most people probably shred them once they’re paid but I’ve always hung onto them, at least for a year or two (or until my file cabinet is overflowing). I’m grateful that I hung onto my old utility bills because after taking the time to sort them into piles, I was able to glean the info that was requested. By creating an Excel spreadsheet and filling in the payment info for the past 13 months, I was able to ascertain that our utility bills averaged $226 per month. For a house this size, that’s a bargain! Once I converted the file to a PDF, I attached it to an email and sent it to our realtor. “Perfect. Thanks!” she responded (via email) a few hours later. “Ok, now what?” I then thought to myself. Clearly, the questions were a good sign, it meant that someone was seriously considering purchasing our house. “Are they going to make an offer now or did the responses I gave completely turn them off?” I questioned, ‘Doubt’ beginning to take hold.
In the meantime, I repeatedly checked my phone. I checked it to make sure that it was fully powered, and that the ringer was turned on with the volume at the highest setting. I also kept looking at the icon for my text messages and my voicemail messages, in addition to repeatedly opening my email to see if there was anything new in my in-box. For several hours, there was no activity. There wasn’t a single call, text, or email. And then out of the blue, another email appeared in my inbox. In the subject line, it read ‘More questions’. Ack! More?! When I opened the email and read the additional questions, I had to scratch my head. The interested party wanted to know whether the water pressure was good and how old the roof was. “The water pressure is great and the roof was replaced in 2017,” I replied immediately. After I thought about it, I realized that ‘great’ probably wasn’t the answer they were looking for. When I relayed the question to my husband, he let me know that he had just purchased a gauge and was able to get an actual reading. In fact, he bought the gauge about two weeks ago. That worked out well!
The question about the water pressure was a little unusual, but for whatever reason, it was important to the potential buyers. The question about the roof totally made sense but I have to admit that it irked me a bit because I’ve already provided my realtor with that info 2-3 times (written and verbal). Ugh. Needless to say, just as before, I hurriedly obtained the answers and sent them to my realtor. Since then? Nothing. Bupkis. Nada. I started getting anxious, so in an attempt to distract myself, I tried watching TV in the gym. I’d watch a little bit of ‘The Love Boat’ and then switch it to the Olympics and then watch a little bit of ‘Showtime at the Apollo’ and then switch it to ‘Magnum, pi’. Nothing held my interest. My husband and I then ate some chili for dinner and once our bellies were full, sat down in front of the TV (in the sunken livingroom) to try and kill a little more time by watching a full-length movie. We initially put on ‘Charlie’s Angels’ with Drew Barrymore, Lucy Liu, and Cameron Diaz, but it was so bad that we shut it off after about 15 minutes. Eventually, we settled on ‘Hunt for the Wilderpeople’. Oh my gosh, what a great movie! I found it thoroughly entertaining.
Between when the movie ended and now, apart from my dog snoring, I’ve heard nothing. This whole process hasn’t been anything like what was initially described. If things had gone like all the realtors we met with had stated, we’d have had multiple offers on the house, bidding wars which would have elevated the price anywhere from $25,000 to $100,000, and a contract within 24 hours. That’s the kind of stuff that happens where most of my family lives (in the ‘big’ city) but that stuff doesn’t necessarily happen here. As of today, our house has been on the market for 32 days, 10 sets of people have toured it, and there have been zero offers. ‘Zero’ is great in many instances, especially when it comes to interest rates or driving infractions or debt or calories, but not when it comes to offers. I’m not asking for much, I’d even be happy with ‘one’. ‘One’ is better than ‘none’, after all. Or is it? I suppose if we only got one and it was a lowball offer, it wouldn’t be so great. I don’t think I’d be too keen on moving if we aren’t able to get our asking price. Even if someone does offer our asking price, I still don’t think I’m going to be too keen on moving.
On ‘Day One’, I was all over the idea of moving, I couldn’t wait! By ‘Day 14’, the excitement was still there, albeit fading. However, today is ‘Day 32’ and the thought of moving makes me want to curl up into the fetal position and suck my thumb. When I think about all that moving entails, I become consumed with dread. And it isn’t just me, my husband feels the same way. It doesn’t help that he’s finding more reasons not to make the move. Where we currently live, there are all kinds of wonderful provisions for veterans. On top of discounted fishing licenses, we get free admission to state parks and free camping! According to what my husband researched today, that is not the case where we intend to move. ‘Free’ camping will be a thing of the past! Not only that, but the utilities are much higher. Geesh, what once seemed so appealing has really begun to lose its luster. Sigh. I just don’t know what life has in store any longer. My husband posed the following question earlier today, “What if we sell the house and make the move, and once we get there, realize we made a huge mistake?” Oh, God! Let’s just say that I didn’t feel very comforted by that remark.
Of all the outcomes or conclusions from the move, to arrive at that particular one (after going through so much physical and emotional stress and strife) would just about finish me off. I don’t want to give up a sure thing for a ‘maybe’ or an ‘uh-oh’. Right now, I know exactly what I have and don’t have. On the upside, I live in a nice community in a home that’s well maintained (and basically finished). I live close enough (but not too close) to my family to travel over within a reasonable amount of time should the need arise. And I have one great friend. On the downside, I still have a mortgage payment, no job, and my one great friend is planning on putting her house on the market and moving, too. I suppose it’s important to remind myself that nothing’s happened yet. I’m getting myself all worked up and it could be all for naught. I just wish I had the answers. I hate being in ‘limbo’. It’s so easy for ‘Doubt’ to settle in when I stay in this space too long and ‘Doubt’ and I have never been on the best of terms. Anyway, I’d better wrap this up. I had a rough night and didn’t sleep much after eating to excess during my getaway and (as a result) spending half the night clutching my belly, writhing in pain.
All the best to you and yours…and I hope you return again soon.