Thursday, July 18, 2013
Selling Mama's Mountain House
Putting my mother's mountain house on the market has turned out to be quite the challenge. Unlike her pristine, up-to-date, well furnished and decorated cottage here that she had in a nice neighborhood of folks her age, she chose a different route for her mountain house.
First of all, after Mama sold High Acres, some 15 years ago, she has had a succession of mountain homes. And, when she bought her final one, she decided that perhaps it would be best if she found something in a neighborhood of permanent residents rather than a vacation community. That way, if something were to happen, she would always know that there would be folks around who she knew to help her. She picked a small town in the mountains that was well known for its mixture of vacation homes and permanent residents (many who had retired there). Made sense to me.
Well, that was until my brother called me. "Do you know what Mama has bought this time?" I told him I knew what she had in mind, but was not aware she had found something. "Well this takes the cake." "I thought it was good idea for her to find a house in town." "Oh, I did too. But, in that beautiful little town, our mother has picked out the ugliest house on the most god awful lot she could find." "Was there nothing else available?" "Hell no. There are plenty of houses to choose from."
In the all the years Mama owned that last house, I never made it up there, a point of contention she brought up often, especially when she wanted to remind me I wasn't paying enough attention to her. Both my girls, however, did visit the property and they came back in total agreement with their uncle. My attitude was it was her house, so be it. And, it couldn't be that bad.
Well, it could and it is. The first time I saw the house was a month or so ago when I went up there to meet my brother to look at some furniture. My brother did not do it justice in his description. It was worse than I imagined. Of all the precious cottages and rustic cabins in the quaint little town, my mother had selected a brick ranch house built in the late 60's that sits on a busy road. It has a steep drive way, no grass in the front yard, and no back yard because the hill behind the house is so steep, the back windows just look out on the embankment which is a mere 2 or 3 feet away from the house.
Then when I went inside, the house was stuffed with furniture and furnishing she was still moving from house to house that came from High Acres. (Talk about two tons of fertilizer in a one ton truck.) And, if we thought Stanbury's treasures were strange at High Acres, they seemed really peculiar in this house. Not only that, she had nothing done to the house since she moved in. Well, she had a window added to the den because she thought it was too dark. (Not like there was a view.) And, she had added a gas fireplace - there was no chimney, a theme she had going. Unfortunately, she had not hauled around any spare mantles from the farm.
We speculated on what it was going to cost us to get the house in shape to put it on the market. Our estimate was not pretty. My brother met with a realtor and called me. "The realtor suggested we just sell it 'As Is'." There is a God I thought. (Of course that might have been the realtor's polite way of saying, 'Honey, there ain't enough lipstick for this pig'.) Then he added a list of things she suggested be done to the house before it went on the market, all of which were very reasonable.
"Oh, and one thing, she asked if we would be willing to sell it furnished." "As in leave all the things that are in there now?" (We had already moved out everything we wanted to keep and were trying to figure out what to do with the rest.) This was music to my ears. "Well, that should have been a no brainer."
So now we just wait and see who comes along and wants the ugliest house in the town. All I can say is - this realtor is going to earn her commission. Maybe we'll luck up, after all, the seeing impaired need to buy homes just like everyone else.