Thirty-two years ago today, my husband and I stood before the rabbi, our family, and our friends to recite our vows. (Yes, Cliff was on crutches which made the first dance kind of tough.) The act of a wedding, of a marriage, or of a legal union isn't just a public declaration of one's love, it's the ultimate social contract.
But let's be real; a long and sustained marriage is a highly aspirational concept at best. Consequently, I'm in awe that all these years later, Cliff and I still enjoy spending time together and making one another laugh. (Humor can get you through just about anything.) Hands down, Cliff, is the best decision I ever made; I can't believe how "lucky in love" I've been.
On the other hand, when it comes to real estate, a ratified Purchase Agreement isn't an "aspirational concept" at all, but a legal and binding contract . . .
No sooner had I put the finishing touches on last week's piece: "Size DOES Matter," than we found ourselves in the same predicament as many of you . . . Cliff's mother, Zee, unexpectedly passed away at the age of 96 (so not entirely unexpected), and suddenly, we had a mountain of her carefully curated items to disperse and dispose of (while also dealing with feelings of loss and grief). Turns out that most of the things we've spent a lifetime collecting, no one really wants or needs.
"We're ready to downsize," the Seller said. "Our kids are grown and the house is really too big for us."
As I was reminded this week, life is little more than a series of transitions . . . .
Birth, death, marriage, divorce, and job transfers are the mainstays of a Realtor's practice, but any life change (whether good or bad), are likely to put a move into motion. Make no mistake, moving down can be a tricky, painful, and difficult business, especially if we have lived in a house for decades, accumulating well more than we need, OR more than will comfortably fit into a much smaller abode.
"UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES WILL WE ALLOW YOU TO CUT DOWN THE BUSHES!" the Sellers emphatically wrote. Followed by, "We're not emotionally attached to the house, (yes, you are), but we planted those hedges when we first moved in (which is why they now need to go).
Whether it's overgrown plants that need to be trimmed, a worn front door that ought to be painted or replaced, OR the fireplace brick surround that's turned black from years of use, the proverbial straw that breaks the camel's back, is almost always some fairly minor update that completely throws the Sellers into an unexpected defensive mode. (That's not our goal.)
Last month, Sarah and I represented a property that was part of a modest estate. That being said "modest" is a relative term. Here in the Bay Area, even small homes trade for more than a million dollars, which, frankly speaking, ain't chump change. (Sadly, neither Cliff nor I are in line for an inheritance - modest or otherwise - although we wish we were.)
Although the house had been somewhat neglected through the years, it had a million-dollar view and loads of upside potential, which is why it attracted MEGA interest in the space of just one week and received 13 offers come the offer date. In short, it was in high demand.
Julie Gardner, has been writing The Perspective for 18 years and has published more than 670 essays on life and real estate.