It’s a cautionary tale. If you are in the process of moving or building a house, read no further for fear of extreme depression. If you are currently contemplating moving or building but haven’t made up your mind yet, please continue. Note that names have been omitted to protect the maybe not-so-innocent (as the case may be).
It all started with a lark. “Let’s look at some of the models!” I said cheerfully. The next thing we knew we were signing on the dotted line (actually, many dotted lines). The models were lovely. The price tag seemed within our reach — that is, until we got into the up charges.
“Did you like the spindles by the staircase to the basement?” “Oh, yes!” Up-charge: $1,100. We went with the solid wall that was “free.” “Do you like the fireplace in the corner?” “Absolutely.” Up-charge: $5,000. No thanks. “How about this? As you get older it’s nice to have a toilet that is a bit taller and longer.” “Oh, we agree!” Up-charge: $150. We decided on one, but would let our guests do the best that they could with the “free” one. On and on the up-charges went until the actual price no longer resembled the listed purchase price. Oh, well. We got the extras we wanted, right?
Once it was completed we hired movers to take about two-fifths of our furniture over to the new house to make our realtors happy. “Less is more,” is the mantra. On moving day the movers’ truck broke down and we were rescheduled. (This becomes important later).
Horror stories of people whose houses sold before their other residence was ready caused us to put off listing our house until we had possession of the newly built house. Along came mid-April and we contacted a real estate agent. Again we signed mountains of papers, including one that warned us not to simply let people in. The house had to be shown by a realtor.
The next day I was painting a post out front to increase our curb appeal and along came an enthusiastic young man pushing a stroller: “Hey! I hear your house is for sale! I want to see it!” he said. Naturally, being a rules follower, I explained to him that he had to go through our realtor. “Oh, but we are leaving tomorrow morning for our home in southern Ohio. My in-laws live in town and I just want to see the house,” he said.
Going with the Reader’s Digest version, let me just say that we did let him in. He exclaimed joyfully throughout the house that an offer would be forthcoming. We’ve not heard a thing from him since.
Moving forward, 22 pairs of people went through our house. It’s really different from my old Sperry Gorske days when someone would come in, get together with Uncle Paul or Uncle Howard or Aunt Helen, go look at house, then buy one. It’s all on the Internet now, beginning with wide-angle photos of each room to entice prospective buyers.
Our agent showed the house only once because apparently buyers can no longer trust a listing agent to represent their interests, so they must get their own representative. After each showing, little notes would be left online. “Don’t like the layout.” “Too chopped up.” “Needs updating.” The one that got me really hopping, though, was, “Don’t understand the mix matched cabinets in the kitchen.” Really? We had a combination of light and dark on purpose. I wouldn’t sell the house to those people even if they begged! (I guess I took some things about the home we had loved for 32 years a bit personally.)
It did finally sell after an agonizing six weeks and we were on our way. Meanwhile we got possession of the new house and began moving things over bit by bit.
Finally, the day of the big move came and, you guessed it, the movers’ truck broke down and we were rescheduled. We had already moved all of the boxes over and so could not stay at the old house because all that was left there was random furniture but no dishes, linens, tissues, and on and on… We did have enough furniture to live in the new place but had no major appliances, so had to eat out every night for three days. Though I intended to present the meal receipts to the movers, the plan did not work since the supervisor was a bully and I backed down. I hate it when that happens. The actual moving team was super and we did get everything in. All that was left was the final unpacking and settling in.
At least that’s what we thought, until we discovered all of the things that were wrong with the house. We followed procedure and wrote an email with the list of faults. A fellow came out, looked at them, and made an appointment to come fix the doors that didn’t close, the cabinet doors that had turned orange, the sink with its flaws… That’s coming up.
There’s so much more, but I’ve reached column length, so I’ll label this “part one.” For now I will leave you with this: We are a “winter build” so we will get our driveway, patio, porch, and lawn after all of the “spring builds.” Lovely. Just stay where you are, wherever you are.
Pat Gorske Price graduated from Oberlin High School and taught English and drama there for 12 years. In retirement she continues to enjoy writing and theater. Comments can be made to firstname.lastname@example.org.