Flipping Leftovers

08/11/2011

flip scraps

Urgency Day 12

500 Things Items 480-88:  House-Flip Leftovers

  • History: Left behind by the flippers
  • Value: I’m sure the flippers recouped their expenses in that top of the market sale
  • Parting pain: I’m looking forward to using the space their un-possessing will leave behind
  • Unpossessing: Donations, I hope

We bought at the top.

We also sold in the vicinity of the top, but not quite at. Our 2006 buyers were not the uber-entitled blood-sucking savvy bidders of 2011. In fact, their list of objections would be considered quaint by today’s market standards. Still, at the time, we were annoyed. Our buyers seemed to ask for everything and would not compromise one bit. And Paul and I were selling under The Old Rules where everybody gives a little, so that everybody gets a little.

By 2006: “Compromise” means “Take the deal or I’ll leave.”

But, no matter how the sale goes, I always leave a welcome gift for buyers: Move-in essentials such as toilet paper, paper towels and soap, and most essential, a chilled bottle of champagne in their new fridge.

With that house, I also left a collection of touch-up paints, labeled with the brand, color names, and rooms in which they were used. Probably the new owners would repaint, but until they got around to it, they could live in scuff-free walls. Visiting friends were so tickled by this kit, they took a picture.

photo courtesy Sean Bonney

The guys we bought our current house from were great. They were two brothers who had purchased it in 2004 from the original 1982 owner to flip. For the most part, they did a wonderful job. Neighbors still gleefully recount the horrific state the house was in when the brothers bought it:

  • Raccoons and bats had taken up residence in the attic and sometimes the living room;
  • Damage from The Flood of 1996 had never been properly repaired;
  •  Broken windows hung mournfully from several frames;

And more. Their descriptions remind me of the Granville House, the decrepit old house George and Mary Bailey buy in It’s a Wonderful Life. Kids would throw rocks at the Granville House’s windows, and if they broke one, their wish was supposed to come true. Possibly our house’s windows fulfilled a few wishes before 2004.

I don’t want to break any windows, but I have a wish:     

I wish I could sell my house.

Oh, to downsize! To get out from under the burden of this wonderful, expensive, top of the market house. But did you know it takes money to save money? In this market, with today’s buyers, it would take a lot of money.

Extended unemployment + child in college = Money we don’t have.

 We also don’t have raccoons or bats or flood damage, and the windows are all new. We do have— and what a shock– Signs of Life. Yes, we have a few scuffs. We have actually lived in this house. If you watch HGTV, you get the impression that current buyers want every home to be an unlived-in model home! It would take considerable money to make my lived-in home sell like a model home.

In order to save money, it would cost money.

Downsizing takes money.

Like the lack of compromise, another strange new rule.

The leftover remodeling materials I am downsizing today have been in our basement since we bought the house 5 years ago. Maybe I could sell it all, but Habitat for Humanity said they take this kind of stuff. No money, but out of my house and to a worthy cause?

That’s a great compromise.

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