Wednesday, July 29, 2015

House Plans Are Upside-Downsize

During the last few years we’ve talked about selling our house and “downsizing,” a fancy term that really means, “I am so sick of cleaning and fixing and painting this large building!!” Recently we’ve moved from the discussion stage to the “let’s implement a plan” stage. At first I thought the “plan” would be simple: call a real estate agent, sell the place, and then use the proceeds to buy a smaller house or condo.

But then I was informed that there’s an entire process required to prepare the house to be sold. Prepare the house? Hmm, does that mean we talk gently to the house, and assure it that it’s nothing personal, and tell it we’re not leaving because of anything the house said, and we’ll really miss it when we’re gone, and we’re sure the house will make friends with someone new, and stuff like that?

Nope. Some of my friends set me straight. The process of “preparing the house” is not an emotional thing, it’s a physical thing, with lots of cleaning and fixing and painting.
When I heard this, my knees buckled. “Oh, that certainly sounds like an emotional thing to me,” I muttered, “because I feel emotionally crushed right about now.”

Let me see if I’ve got this straight. We want to sell our house and downsize because all the cleaning and fixing and painting is getting to be too much for us. But in order to do it, we have to “prepare the house” for sale, which involves doing a decade’s worth of cleaning and fixing and painting, all within a three-month period? That doesn’t sound quite right. And it doesn’t sound very stress-free either. I’d better make sure my life insurance is paid up.

There must be someone out there who will offer a decent price for our home — just as it is. It’s not like it’s falling apart. It’s in pretty good shape. Maybe we’ll have to settle for a few bucks less than if we did tons of work on the place, but at least I’ll still be alive to move into our next home.

Speaking of the next home, while we’re trying to get our current house ready for sale, we also need to start looking for a new smaller place. Frankly, if it were up to me, I’d be happy if we bought a used Chevy van, put an air mattress in the back, and parked it under a bridge down by the river. However, I suspect no one else is quite as frugal or adventurous as I am (which is to say, lazy), so we’ll probably narrow our search and look only for a dwelling that has a foundation rather than a chassis.

We’re having the house vs. condo debate, too. I kind of like the idea of never having to bother again with lawn mowing, hedge trimming, and snow blowing. But I’m not so keen on the possibility of having neighbors on the other side of a thin wall who enjoy liquor-fueled shouting matches at 2 a.m., or condo associations that keep jacking up the monthly fees as if Governor Malloy were in charge. 

Well, we started working our “downsizing” plan earlier this month. Every weekend this summer we are spending time doing extra cleaning and fixing and painting. Hopefully by the fall the house will be prepared enough to put on the market. At the same time we’ll start checking out small one-story homes and condos for sale. But if things start to get too stressful, I might stop by the Chevy dealer and look at used vans. I hear there’s a nice quiet spot to park it down by the river.

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