Thursday, April 14, 2005

On selling, and moving on

The sound drifted into our bedroom at 4 am, not long ago - someone in the park behind our house, playing "Mary Had A Little Lamb" on an accordian. Great fun, for some, but we asked ourselves: is it time to sell our home, and move on?

For years, we've perched on a lush hillside in Eugene. Our house has a two-story window wall, and the view is eye-popping: city lights and fir-covered hills. We glimpse the South Sister from the front deck. Behind our house, a rhododendron garden blooms, and hiking trails wind through acres of Douglas firs.

The house itself is eye-popping for different reasons. It's a "fixer." College students had rented it for years before we bought it. They chopped firewood on the hardwood floors, and carved initials in the walls. The inspector found evidence that they had once left town for quite a long time, with the bathwater still flowing.

But when I first stepped into this house, I barely noticed the structural problems. I looked out the huge windows, took in the view, and said, "I'll take it."

Five years later, it's still a "fixer." We've repaired the rotted subfloors, leaky plumbing, and frightening electrical problems. There is so much more to be done...but the funky charm of our "fixer" has won me over. I love this house.

Still, we have outgrown it...and the park isn't getting any quieter. Could we really sell our home? I persuaded myself that no one else would want it. (After all, it is...funky! The fireplace, "hand-crafted" in the sixties, has astrology symbols engraved on it. Very groovy, very right-on...but will the design world embrace the sixties again? It didn't seem likely...)

We didn't know that, simply by muttering the words "sell" and "home" in the same sentence, we would attract a thundering herd of agents, bankers, brokers, and buyers. Eugene is apparently a "hot market." Our house was listed for a grand total of five minutes when we got a good offer. A stranger walked into our house, looked at the panoramic view of valley and hills, and had to own it. Surely there are other houses for us to love...and is that my real estate agent in the background, nodding her head vigorously in agreement?

But buying in this, that's a challenge. You need some thunder in your herd, to find potential buys before someone else does. The ink is hardly dry on an offer when the cell phone rings: "Sorry, they've just accepted another offer, for full price, and for cash. Just wanted you to know..."

The cheery agent is undaunted. We will find something terrific, and we will love it. Is she right? To be continued...
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