Tuesday, March 16, 2010

the plot thickened...

but, really, I'm hoping for a quick denouement.

Here's what the book jacket might read, if my recent life were a novel:

After much soul-searching, Kirk and Suzy decide that they should buy their own home, rather than to continue chipping away at the home that once belonged to Suzy and her former husband. They interview a couple of realtors, and decide on an energetic, "get her done," type, even though they realize that their comfort zone, on every level, will be stretched.

It's just after the Christmas holidays when they sign on and agree to a February 15th on market date, and they dive into the mess of dismantling, decluttering, and stripping their bungalow bare. Seven contractors, each one touting a specialty, and many with colorful personalities, dovetail their tasks. The next four weeks will involve myriad chicken-or-egg chronology to arrive at an overall outcome with such a delicate time line.

Things go mildly awry: a deluge floods the basement due to a broken drain pipe; Kirk and Suzy break a window in the front door while moving a sofa; backs go out; temperatures rise; noses run (it's winter after all!); after the floors are scraped the dust is so thick that the shop vac goes on strike and a mucusy cough infiltrates the lungs of everyone involved. Finally, though, on schedule, the house has been transformed, lightened, brightened and divested of all of its crap. A spate of unseasonably mild weather hits just in time for the opening weekend and an SRO open house.

Before the end of February, an offer comes in. "What?!" say Kirk and Suzy, we haven't even identified a house to buy yet! Things proceed quickly. Kirk and Suzy and Carson go house-shopping. They find the perfect counter to the hundred year old house they're leaving: a modern three-story house on a cul-de-sac that has been meticulously maintained. The house is light, bright and new! They are all set to make an offer, when...

the would-be buyers have a change of heart. They hadn't realized in their four visits that one of the bedrooms didn't have a heat source. They question the square footage. They bring in an alarmist inspector who points out potential issues--none of which bear out--but, hey, the would-be buyers wanted an adorable vintage bungalow that was buttoned up like a contemporary townhome, so they pull their offer.

After a week off the market, the bungalow is BOM. Which is sort of poison. As a result of this new twist of events, Kirk and Suzy did not make an offer on the light and bright house. But, another possibility has emerged. A long shot, their realistic, energetic realtor cautions, but the proverbial "tip" has been whispered in her ear. A house in a really hot neighborhood is "not quite on the market." "Let's go see it," invites the realtor.

See it, they do. The house is an "original owner" mid-century and it backs up to a hidden neighborhood park. It has three fireplaces, which, since 1964, have been used a handful of times. Oak floors that were immediately covered by carpet. A family room. A shop. A two-car garage. An office! The house is on the market for exactly the same price Kirk and Suzy are asking for their house. Not only is the house is in the school district that allows Carson to go to the middle school that all his friends will attend, but it's also in the best high school district in the state. The current owner is a lovely 92-year old woman who immediately connects with the energetic realtor, and decides that Kirk and Suzy are ones who will buy her house. If they can sell their house. In two weeks.

The energetic (and realistic) realtor convinces Kirk and Suzy to drop the price of their house. By 20K! This is a leap of faith. If the price is dropped in order to sell in two weeks, but it doesn't, then Kirk and Suzy lose the mid-century, and then have a reduced price house that will impact their ability to buy the next house--which they'd hoped would be a step up.

The energetic realtor has a plan though. She's putting her efforts on all burners. She'll have another open. She'll bake cookies! Two hours before the open house, people are lined up. It's a fire sale, after all! By the end of the day, there are two offers on the table. A tiny bidding war ensues. Initially, there is cash involved in this bidding war. The house is sold to the highest, most "in love with the house" bidder. Kirk and Suzy have a cocktail and pass out.

I know the deal ain't done. The fat lady is warming up her pipes, but she's still in the green room. But this deal will go through. I feel it and know it. It's going to be a happy ending!


  1. So happy to hear the news. Congratulations!

    The photos look gorgeous.

  2. Such a sweet house we have. In a hundred years, this house has had three owners, and each owner has lovingly and carefully moved its life forward.

    I can only hope that the next owner will do the same.

  3. Jeff Miller10:08 PM

    Jeff Miller said...
    FYI - we pulled our offer because we didn't notice the undermined foundation, the rot in the sill plate, the chimney base hanging in thin air, the lack of heat in a bedroom and a bathroom, and the sink that doesn't drain. Sorry we didn't see those problems in our four viewings. Your own inspector did not see the problems with the foundation because the crawlspace was flooded when he inspected. And yes, we were concerned that you included the unheated garage in your square footage calculations. By the way, we pulled our offer before we saw any other houses including the one we put an offer on. We were just lucky there was another home on the market that we liked. It's always easier to blame other people for your problems, but you should at least get your facts straight.

  4. Hi Jeff!

    I didn't know you read my blog. I'm flattered.

    I'm sorry you got so flummoxed by the items you listed. It's too bad you didn't want to engage further--we were willing to fix the foundation that was undermined under the front porch and in fact we are doing so.

    I certainly hope that your Loop Drive deal goes well, despite the setback on the "sure deal" (I believe those were the words your realtor delivered when he presented your offer to us) on your house. The Ridleys are great people, and I'm sure you'll enjoy your life in their house.


  5. Anonymous6:56 PM

    I think I'm really glad you didn't sell your home that holds so many happy memories for me to Mr. Miller!


Thanks for commenting. If you have trouble posting a comment, let me know! suzyvitello@gmail.com