Waaaayyy back in April I began the countdown; ten weeks of work to get the house show-ready. It was just a guess. Perhaps more of a challenge I made for myself. We won't make it, but we will be darn close!
Here is how this incredibly crazy week has progressed:
- the junk hauler/mover came back to finish cleaning out the garage. All of our extra stuff is gone. Of course, within 30 minutes or so I realized things I needed that used to be in the garage: a water bowl for Bob, insulation hangars and a can of white spray paint. I wonder how many other things we are going to realize we have sold, given away or thrown out!
- 1000 square feet of carpet was installed in the finished portion of the basement, and up the stairs. It looks fabulous!
- I cleaned the upstairs. The sort of cleaning you rarely do for yourself but will do for others; the "scrub the baseboards with a toothbrush" sort of cleaning. Mr. Dreamy did a fabulous job of getting some stubborn spots out of the carpet. I contracted with a cleaning service to get the downstairs show-ready clean. They will be working next week.
- We had the septic tank pumped and inspected. We failed. (I have only failed one thing, one time in my life - and I really didn't fail it but was given a "0" on part of a French exam for talking. Hmmmm, imagine that! Darn you Mr. El Kodsi, you scarred my life!) We need to have the pipe replaced as it has sunk down where it connects to the tank and roots have gotten into the tank. Mr. Dreamy is working to expedite the repair. If I'm not careful, he will get the LMOS (lawn mower on steroids) out and begin digging himself!
- We selected our replacement Realtor. When we talked with Realtors in May realtors all came within $50,000 of each other on their estimates for a selling price. When we talked with Realtors last week they gave us estimates that were almost $100,000 - $150,000 less. Needless to say, we were quite discouraged. Then the last realtor met with us. He had done his homework to find truly comparable listings. With his research and digging, he said the house should list where the original realtors saw it listing. The other guys had simply plugged in "horse property, 10 acres, barn and 3400 sq ft house". The computer fed them matching listings that weren't really matching. The computer doesn't take into account the distance to town. The computer doesn't take into account upgrades done on the house. Also, there are very few houses like ours, that are for sale or that have sold recently, so to get "comps" the realtors had to move farther away. Even 10 miles makes a huge difference in price.
- I posted some more items that didn't sell on Craig's List. Who knew that a pile of concrete siding that had been sitting in the corner of the paddock for 6 years would be worth money?!
- In the morning we got a call from our new Realtor. One of the couples who saw the house during the estate sale wanted to see the house again. He asked if we would allow a showing Wednesday morning. (Who asks to see a home at 8:30 in the morning?!) This meant that we Dreamers worked tirelessly (well, to be truthful we were totally and utterly exhausted!) for over 12 hours straight to clean, organize, rearrange etc. We can now walk into our bathroom. We don't have tons of extra stuff in our bedroom. The kitchen counter is amazingly empty of stuff! Additionally, the dumpster was leaving the next day so we needed to capitalize on it and load every bit of garbage we could find.
- We did not have an especially leisurely breakfast! We ran around picking up and cleaning last minute items. I vacated the house with the dogs and went to see my dad. Scott stayed out in the RV barn and got on the RV when the potential buyers came in.
- Our IKEA shelving system that was posted on Craig's List walked out the door, and I didn't have to lift a finger to help!
- Mr. Realtor came by to do a walk-through, now that the junk is all gone. He liked how I had "staged" the upstairs and felt confident that we could have the house ready for a photoshoot on Monday, the house will hit MLS on Wednesday and we will begin showings on Saturday, a week and a half from now. Yikes! That timeline is really scary. List making began: Things to Buy. Things to do before Monday. Things to do before Saturday. So, it looks like we might sorta, kinda, almost make my goal after all and will be "show ready" by the end of this week!
- A representative from the estate sale folks came by with a check. It far exceeded our expectations - even with their commission, labor expenses, food and tax taken out. Wow! Oh, and he bought one of the oil paintings!
- I took the IKEA shelves in the living room apart, well as much as I could without destroying them. We will be moving them to wherever. For now, they are in the garage. The living room looks so much brighter and larger without them! I also stopped by IKEA to see if one can purchase the chintzy backer "board" they use on the shelves, which would break apart if I tried to get it off. Nope. Not available, so the shelves will have to travel as they are. While there I bought some new towels to make our bathroom look more lovely than it is (if that is at all possible!), but Mr. Dreamy didn't like them so I will have to take them back.
- I sent a text message to Mr. Realtor. I had some concerns/questions about furniture placement in the living room. I asked about his "staging" services. He called me back and said the house looks great and not to worry. Oh, and by the way, he heard from the realtor for the folks who came by on Wednesday and they are putting in an offer. He also wanted to ask if we would allow another couple to view the house in the afternoon. Why not? We Dreamers decided. So began another round of running around, picking up, putting away, wiping down and getting out of the way.
- Our driveway was sealed. This means we have to drive through the pasture to get in or out. This also means that the couple who came to see the house did not get to see the curb appeal of our home as they drove in the
statelylong driveway, viewing the beautiful new lawn, the freshly painted garage and front doors, the pretty flowers I had planted (both real and fake) and the newly mowed front pasture. Oh well!
- It turns out that the folks who toured the house were also at the sale, at least the father and son were. The father had said he'd be coming back as soon as the house was listed. He wasn't kidding! At the sale he talked with both of us Dreamers and "toured" the house. He brought his wife back today. Their realtor indicated that they will also be putting in an offer! My first thought was that staging is hugely overrated! Both offers are coming from people who first saw the house during the sale when it was hugely cluttered and messy!!
- The CertainTeed siding we listed on Craig's List was picked up and is gone.
- I prepared an extensive, detailed list of the remaining paintings and sent it to a national auction company. I had to submit 5 photos of each picture as well as any details I had about it. It took far more time than I wanted to spend doing it.. but the list is finished and hopefully the paintings can be sent on for auction. Nicholas de Largilliere (1656-1746) painted this portrait of Ulrich Frederick Woldemar. It appraised for over well over $10,000. I am thinking my great grandfather had this piece and it has been passed down over the years. The other paintings/prints are not of this caliber.
- We continued to work on items on the list(s) to prepare our house for showings and sale.
- I took some time to pull some weeds and trim in the gardens. One of my gardens has gone wild! I can't even get to the back to pull weeds since the flowers are so thick.
- Our realtor called. He said he had some good news, and.... some more good news, and..... still more good news. The Good News: The first offer came in at asking price. Cash! Only contingent upon the closing of the sale of their own house, which is 11 days out. More Good News: The second offer came in at $20,000 over asking! A partial loan would need to be acquired but shouldn't be a problem for the buyer. And, Even More Good News: The first offer was upped to $30,000 over asking, cash, closing on August 11 and they will let us stay in the house for up to two weeks after closing if we need the time. Holy Cow!!! I think we have sold our house!
- We reviewed the contract, then discovered it was no longer accessible online. We thought it was because we had requested a change in our name, but it appears that the buyer was misinformed about their closing date. They are scrambling (I presume) to get things straightened out by 3 PM tomorrow. So we went from, "Yippee!!, we don't have to get the house ready for photos or stage it for showing!!" To hauling out the To Do list and getting to work again. The realtor has suggested that we not offer the house to the other bidder as he thinks, based on the swift interest we had from these first two buyers, that we should list the house higher and see where the chips fall. In the "Coming Soon" listing on Zillow he calls the house "arguably the hottest listing available." (And he said that before we had the little bidding war!) Hopefully he is right!
This is the end of my Countdown. We are almost there. Cleaning crew and photos tomorrow. The listing goes up on Wednesday and the house will be shown beginning on Saturday.