After over two months of packing, decluttering, donating, and general cleaning for presentation, we put our house in New York up for sale.
Little did we know that even this would have its own share of problems.
To begin with (as I pointed out in a previous post), the house itself was (mostly) a century old, with additions (a Master bedroom with en suite handicapped bathroom; an extra basement room underneath as part of the foundation) only three decades old, and brand-new copper wiring. While Zillow.com had our house in Queens Village as being worth $1.1 million, we were warned that it would only be the starting price, with the negotiations trending downwards.
There were several actual visits from potential buyers, plus an open house over the following six weeks. After some dithering by one family, we wound up accepting the first offer of just under $800 thousand in December.
Then things really got complicated. (And I hate that word!)
Those additions I mentioned before? Turns out, the original contractor never closed out the permits for building said additions, and there was no Certificate of Occupancy issued. Apparently, this is a Big Deal for real estate in New York. Since the original architect was no longer available, we had to go to the Queens County Department of Buildings to get it rectified. Unfortunately, the Most Important People to talk to about such things had taken the Christmas holidays off, and wouldn’t be back until after New Year’s.
Then Nick, our realtor, contacted an expediter — or as Dad called her, a fixer.
It took a little over two months for the old (dead) permits to be reopened, inspected, and closed again, and for even a temporary Certificate of Occupancy to be issued.
On top of all of this, the buyer’s bank was tying up their loan in red tape, and an inspector from that same bank would have failed us.
According to Nick, we had “needed” to install handrails in the stairwells leading up to the attic and down to the basement. As I pointed out, our house was 100 years old, and the stairwells were, accordingly, narrow. When we’d needed to install a new washer and dryer (at different times), the door to the basement had needed to be removed entirely to get the machines downstairs. Thankfully for us, a handyman had taken us on an emergency basis, understood what needed to happen, and made the basement handrail removable when necessary.
Then, at last, in mid-February, we had agreed on a closing date in mid-March. By this point, all that was left to do was choose what books to hold back for reading during the move, what clothes to hold back to wear during same, making sure we would be able to find anything and everything, and doing one last, in-person walk-through of our new house in Midlothian, Texas.
But then my father died.