After spending many weeks cleaning up, making repairs, and painting, I walked away from my mom’s house for the last time on New Years Eve. I only lived in this house for a couple of months during the summer after my first year of college, so it was filled from end to end with my mom’s life - her hopes, dreams, her meager possessions, and her projects - lots and lots of projects. That small building on the left was her wood shop which she quickly outgrew. A need for more space led to the construction of the big shop. How big? The shop’s footprint is as big as the house.
It’s unfortunate that she never had the chance to use the big shop for anything but parking her Outback and storing stuff. At the time of her death, that shop held her mother’s and her grandmother’s possessions. One of her projects was to finish sorting through their stuff and distributing it to her siblings. Now it’s my uncle’s project.
On the first day of 2017, my real estate agent took over. She brought out professional photographers to take some nice photos - inside, outside, and even from above. By the following Friday, the website was live and it was on the market. Two families toured it on Saturday. I had an offer that night.
We went back and forth a few times, but we finally settled on a full-price offer with me cover part of the closing costs. Then came the inspections.
The lender insisted on a foundation inspection. A civil engineer came out and suggested an upgrade to the foundation. That one cost me four grand. The inspector found a minor electrical panel problem which was probably caused by mom trying to operate a kiln in her art room. I’m pretty sure that’s what led to her moving the kiln to the wood shop where the whole building was set up to handle the demand of power tools. That repair only cost me $250.
The termite inspector found a board left on the lawn near the house and it was infested. I’m certain it was dropped there when we were cleaning up the wood pile by the back fence. He suggested we treat the entire house despite no evidence of termites in the structure and a history of annual preventative treatments. Instead, we made another pass around the house, cleaning up any final debris, then had it reinspected. It passed with flying colors.
The well and septic systems passed inspection without incident.
The only other problem we had was with that greedy civil engineer. The bastard didn’t tell the buyers that he would charge another fee to come out and re-inspect after the foundation was upgraded. His contract was with them, not me, but he knew they weren’t going to pay for anything else and he knew the loan couldn’t move forward without his approval, so he used that as leverage to extort me out of an additional fee. Bastard didn’t even contact anyone until he was almost to the house for his re-inspection, then called up my agent and demanded a check. I’ll be reporting his actions to the state board next week.
Anyway, so here we sit, exactly six weeks after the offer, and the house has been sold. I didn’t get quite as much as I expected after having to pay for the additional repairs, but I’m satisfied. It’s going to a good family.
Now I just have to deal with letting it go.
Although I haven’t lived on that property in over 20 years, I was the one who cut the first path from the road through the woods to where the house sits today. I was the one who dug the trenches which hold the water lines from the well to the house and the various outdoor faucets. I was standing there as the previous house burned to the ground and I was there when the new house was built and my mom moved in. I know every inch of that land from tromping all over it as a kid. Now I can’t go back, but at least I was able to spend some significant time there before I had to let it go. I was able to share that land with my kids and tell the stories and show them the places they happened.
So, goodbye house. Goodbye land. May you bring joy to the people who are moving in today. As you did for my mom. As you did for me.