Monday, January 13, 2014

And that's how I almost screwed us out of financial freedom!

I will be unstable for the next 7.5 weeks.  I give you all fair warning.   Do NOT tease me.  Not now.  In fact, do not tease me for the next 7.5 weeks.  Treat the next 7.5 weeks as if I am hormonally unbalanced.  I am very fragile.  It ain't hormones - it's house.

We sold our house.  After years of trying (off and on), somehow, around Christmas Break, the stars aligned just right  and it... sold.  It wasn't even on the market.

A friend who recently became a real estate agent said, "Hey, what's happening with your house?  Is it still on the market?'

And we said, "No, but if you know people who want a ginormous century home, what the hell, bring 'em by."

So two days later she did.  She showed the house.  We got an email after the showing:   "The people loved it!!  They are asking about taxes, heating and hydro costs. Also they asked about possible March closing."

David and I were nonplussed.    People never asked about closing dates with our house.  Never.  After years, we'd become very accustomed to people saying that they loved the house.  It's a 2.5 story red brick century home - it has servants' staircases and a butler's pantry.  Everybody loves the house. But it usually goes like this:  "They loved the house..."  And then after the (dot, dot, dot)...   the agent says,  "They don't like the neighbourhood."  "It's too big."  "There are too many stairs."  "They don't like the yard."  "They don't like your neighbours' dogs."  (I didn't even know my neighbours had dogs.)

So even after this particularly positive response, David and I were, "Yeah, whatever, they liked the house.  Sure they did, mmmm-hmmmm.  Here are all our utilities costs.  Go ahead and let them see them... whatever... "

And then, by the end of that week, they wanted to come by and see it again.  With their daughter.  And David and I were all, "Yeah, sure they can see it again... with their daughter... whatever..."  Unaffected scoffing followed.

And then they made an offer.  David and I kept looking at each other.  Seriously?  We have an offer on the house?  Seriously?!?  

It was during the offer period that I started to become unstable.  They offered 24 K less, we countered with 12 K less, figuring we could eliminate some of the negotiations, and then they came back 2,000 under our counter offer but they wanted the kitchen island included.  The kitchen island?!?  The kitchen island which was an exclusion?!?   I went cuckoo-bananas.  

That island was an exclusion!  It was listed as an exclusion!  They offered less and they wanted my island!?!  All my love for this home immediately concentrated into that kitchen island.  David and I had sourced the base at an antique store.  It was a 1920's medical table.  With push-through drawers and a tip up back and a pull-out end and two places if you wanted stirrups - which come to think of it, means that there were naked ladies up there showing their hoohas on that table...  But that's not the point!  The point is that this table - along with the hand-crafted maple butcher block top that David created for it - became the perfect  movable island.  It became MY perfect movable island.  And now these people offered us less and were trying to steal it from me.  David and I went upstairs to talk.

I shook my head violently.  "Nope.  No way.  They cannot have that island! NO!!!"

"For the sake of a sale, are you really going to worry about it?"

"Yes!  Yes I am!  The house wasn't even on the market!  We didn't ask them to make an offer!  They offer us less than our very reasonable counter-offer, and then they want my island?!?  Well, they can't have it!!  I will  accept their stingy counter-offer, but that's it!  NO ISLAND!!!"

"So you would be willing to walk away from this deal, even though we've been trying to sell for what seems like forever, for the sake of that island?"

"Yes.  Yes, I would."

So I tromped downstairs, grumbling all the way.  We countered back, without the island, and then had to wait to see if my sudden attachment to furniture was worth screwing us out of a house deal.  A house deal that would, for the first time since we had owned this home, have us relatively debt free.  Oh God, I changed my mind!  They could have the stupid island.  They were going to walk away.  I went crazy and now they were going to walk away.  Except they didn't.

They accepted our counter-offer, without the island, and scheduled a house inspection.  And then they signed off on the house inspection.  And then we signed papers and everything.  The house was sold.  We had sold our house.  HOLY CRAP!  We'd sold our house.  Whoo-freaking-hoo!!  I started a happy 'sold our house' dance... "We sold our hou-ouse!  We sold our hou-ouse!  We sold our...  Oh crap!  Now we have to a buy a new one!  In just over 2 months' time.  Oh crap, oh crap, oh crap!"  

I think that's when David handed me the paper bag.


  1. Oh Heather,we're sorry!
    The first listing we were shown clearly stated " Kitchen island NEGOTIABLE"
    We didn't want you to miss out on any part of the selling experience so we negotiated.
    We really like the house even though most of our friends and family think we are crazy for not choosing a nice senior's bungalow or condo "at our age"
    We enjoy a challenge. We have just run a B&B for ten years and that was a wonderful, interesting lifestyle so CARPE DIEM!
    Regards, Mr. And Mrs. House Buyers.

    1. Oh don't be! You did what you were supposed to do - you negotiated - I'm the one who went cuckoo-bananas! One can never tell when your emotional ties to a home might leap into the fray. I never thought that I'd lose my mind over an island. And you're totally right - in the original listing it had been negotiable - because we never updated the original listing - I don't think I'd even thought to look at it again. I'm VERY glad that you didn't choose a nice seniors' bungalow or condo ... :-)