Home on the vague

By Mir
February 6, 2007

It has become my favorite way to open a conversation with Otto—after our standard “well hi there” and “how was your day?”—to ask him, “So, did you sell your house today?”

His home has been officially on the market for… a week? Two weeks? I don’t understand why it hasn’t sold yet. Clearly he’s just not even trying. And it’s not like it should be hard to sell a house down there, because my time on MLS indicates that most houses for sale include maybe two pictures, one from the driveway, of the front of the house, and then perhaps a bonus picture of some trees. Either the south is experiencing a dearth of cameras or everyone is just so polite that they’ll take your word for it that a house is simply lovely on the inside. (Oh bless your heart, no, please don’t go to any bother to photograph it. We believe you. More sweet tea?)

So as it currently stands, Otto’s house is still for sale.

My house, however, is under contract. For those following along, my house was never actually listed. I just sent a pure desire to sell out into the universe and *POOF* the buyers appeared.

Or, you know, these people who fell into my lap by a stroke of luck decided that yes, please, they’d like to buy the house.

Now, I would sincerely love to do a victory dance and celebrate and maybe even go on and on about how great it will be to not have to bother listing the house and so on and so forth, but I am oddly unexcited. Our contract is contingent on them selling their house, and the truth is that I have my doubts that they’ll end up buying. At the very least, I expect to still have to list in about a month. Which means I still have to finish cleaning.

(During the showing I had with them—which they had begged for and promised not to be put off when I told them the house really wasn’t show-ready—I said a lot of things like, “And now you are going to pretend you don’t see the enormous pile of junk in this closet,” and “This would make a lovely extra bedroom if it wasn’t filled with so much crap. Picture it empty!”)

Nonetheless, it’s still pretty cool. There are people who want to buy the house, for a reasonable price, and if it works out, that’d be wonderful.

In the meantime, as a veteran control freak, I don’t know that I’m going to be able to stay sane between now and summer. My house is sold… maybe! (What if it’s not? What if I have to list? What if I list and no one’s interested? Aiiieeeee!) Otto’s house isn’t sold… yet! (What if it doesn’t sell? What if it sells too early? Where would he go? Aiiieeeee!) And so far Otto’s gone to look at one house, which was a possibility, and then it went under contract. So.

We still spend a lot of time browsing the online house listings while we’re on the phone. I feel incredibly stressed out NOT KNOWING what’s happening or when, and when the listings in our target area didn’t budge for two weeks I griped about it. “What if we can’t find the right house? What if there’s just NOTHING RIGHT?” Later that night I awoke from a sound sleep, having suddenly wondered what we would do if we found THE house and haven’t actually sold either of our current houses, yet.

Then for fun, tonight, we started browsing the houses out of our price range, because nothing works better to help you get over the neurosis of having no control over what’s happening next than a hefty dose of pie-in-the-sky real estate lust. (“This one has over seven acres! It says you can have horses!”) After Otto made me look at the house with the gigantic great room with brick walls, wood floors, and cathedral ceilings I had to stop browsing and go down into the corner of the basement and whisper to the foundation of this house, “It’s okay, honey. You’re good enough, you’re spacious enough, and doggone it, people like you.”

So that’s the housing update. Otto’s house isn’t sold. My house might be sold. And our new house is… well, I’m sure it’s out there. Somewhere. I hope it has a whirlpool tub, because I’m definitely going to need a nice relaxing soak by the time we get there.


  1. Lady M

    Hey, you’re doing better than I am. I’m so paralyzed with indecision that I can’t even make an appointment for our realtor to come visit to see what we’d need to do *if* we were to consider putting the house on the market.

  2. dani

    Oh, nothing more painful that going to see houses slightly out of your price range. That’s what we did for fun on Saturday. Needless to say, it only made me want to extend us much further than we should be extended, and thiking crazy thoughts like “do we REALLY need to put $$ into our 401K this year? this house has a THIRD BATHROOM…”

  3. Muirnait

    Well, that just sounds like oodles of fun! I love looking at houses and house plans and such, but of course I am not actually shopping, and that would probably take all the fun out of it.

  4. Sara

    Control freak that I am, (I get it from my mom. Hi mom! Love you!) I am currently on the edge for you. I think my blood pressure rose several points while reading this post. I hope it all gets smoothed out soon–for both of our sakes!

  5. Thea

    omg – I thought I was the only one who remembered Stuart Smalley! When the kidlets start screaming at me that I’m horrible and the meanest mommy ever and, and, and, and….I escape to the bathroom, stare into the mirror and tell myself those same things. Not out loud of course, they might hear me and figure out where I was hiding.

    As for the unreasonalbe control-freakiness and anxiety…if you figure out a way to get that to stop, be sure to let us know. Maybe it’s a woman thing…or a mom thing…or, um, just a thing – whichever – I too awaken from a sound sleep with the oddest panic over things I can’t control.

  6. Jenn

    The thought of having to sell a house while looking for a new one in another state sort of makes me want to puke. When we bought this house, I did all the footwork, called people, set up appointments, found the insurance, switched our car insurance, the only thing my husband had to do was turn on utilities and sign the papers. And then he looks at me, while we’re signing 800,000 papers at closing and whined “Aren’t we done yet?” Um, no, sorry honey, this is going to be the easiest that it ever is to buy a house.

  7. JayMonster

    To at least pretend your stress is less, try the following. Imagine you are the other couple. You found a house you like, and want to buy it. But you have got to get your own house ready, and on the market, and get it sold, otherwise what if it takes to long, and what if the other house gets sold out from under us, and what if we can’t sell our house, and…

    Your will seem far less stressful by comparison. So make some tea, get the morning paper (Otto would be so proud ;) ) and peruse the Real Estate Market , and just relax. At least you aren’t them.

  8. susie

    I am sending good luck vibes to Otto. My mother-in-law has had a lovely home on the market in Athens, GA, for almost a year now. The market is sluggish everywhere, but especially in the South. I hope your buyers come through, too.

  9. KAT

    I know the underwhelming feeling you are talking about well. We just bought a house last week and I hardly told anyone about it until all the papers were signed. We had put in offers before and had them rejected so it didn’t seem right to say, “We bought a house” when we put in an offer, or when it was accepted, or when the inspection went through or even before the closing (my doomsday attitude was something could still happen to cancel it).

    But now I can say it: “We bought a house! Yay!”

    I hope you’ll be able to say the same thing soon (after “I sold my house! Yay!” and “Otto sold his house! Yay!” of course)

  10. Em

    My advice – not that you asked – keep looking at houses out of your price range. The market is slowing down now and you never know. The house we are in now was on the market for 100K more than we bought it for. I sh*t you not. We offered what we could afford, they laughed at us, they lowered their price, lowered their price, lowered their price then suddenly our offer didn’t look so ridiculous. The only reason we even looked at it was because it was in the neighborhood I grew up in and I was nosy when I saw an open house sign.

    Chickadee needs a horse. And think of the energy Monkey could expend running across seven acres.

  11. Sophie

    A contract without a listing? You’ve obviously been living right. And I agree; nothing more crazy-making than buying real estate. What a great opportunity to practice acceptance. yea right.

    Why bless my stars, honey, have some sweet tea.

  12. Susan

    I’ve started carrying a paper bag with me all the time because I start to hyperventillate every time anyone asks about listing our house or buying a new house. Or talks about selling THEIR house and buying a new house. Or any time I drive by a house with a For Sale sign. Or any time someone says the word HOUSE.

    Oh god I need my paper bag now.

  13. Jenn2

    DEEP Breath, Mir. It’s gonna be okay. I promise. Now have a glass of sweet tea.

  14. Mom2One

    You’re good enough, you’re spacious enough, and doggone it, people like you.

    Ohhhhh, the Stuart Smiley of houses. Mir, I love you. :)

    Not the Otto kind of love, mind you; the, ummm, friendship kind of love, you know. Not the large-prison-girlfriend kind of love; the “Hey, it’s great to be buds” kind of love.

    Heh. Ahhhh, never mind. You know.

  15. Lucinda

    Buying and selling a house sucks! Especially for us control freaks. My dad always said things work out the way they are supposed to and he is right but I really hate the waiting for “the way it’s supposed to” when I can’t see the end. I feel your pain.

  16. bec 37

    Whenever I’m faced with a situation that makes me say “what if?” or “what do I do?” a lot, I generally turn to a book. I found Ilyce Glink’s 100 Questions Every First Time Home Buyer Should Ask to be extremely helpful when we were buying our first (and so far only) house, and she has written a couple books on selling that look just as good! I’m sure the issue of buying a house before selling the one you currently own is addressed.


    bec :D

  17. Liise

    I am so getting a home equity loan and making my current house my “new” house.

  18. BOSSY

    Selling your house is about as relaxing as performing your own appendectomy. Either way you end up gutted.

  19. Liz

    OMG – after what Bossy said – I’ve got nothin’ better (or funnier) to say!

  20. elswhere

    Ohhhh, uncertainty. How I hate it. Living in it myself these days so much sympathy. Sending good-house vibes Into the Universe for you and Otto…

  21. InterstellarLass

    It’s a fine dance to get it all worked out, but I’m sure it will, because this move is meant to be!

  22. Daisy

    Brick walls, cathedral ceilings…Mmmm. Feeling house envy. Of course, I have my own wood floors. I should be happy.

  23. Cele

    The thought of buying a new house, listing an old house, and the actual act of moving knocks me to my knees begging for medication and hospitalization. You are stronger than me.

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