EPISODE 2: HOUSE FOR SALE

Back in 2008 we moved from our lovely little home on the outskirts of Brunswick to a less-lovely, somewhat littler home in downtown Brunswick.  I was longing to eliminate the carbon from my commute and most of my daily activities, and this house is just a half mile to my office, and a mile or less to the grocery store and all the other businesses that we frequent on Maine Street.  As an added bonus, we were able to cash in a lot of equity gains on our old house and secure a mortgage that was hundreds of dollars less than we would pay for a decent rental unit.

All is not perfect, of course.  The house had its advantages: size, location, a nice sunny dining area.  But numerous upgrades were in the offing.  The walls were covered with gaudy, dated wallpaper.  The floors were covered with ugly, dated shag carpeting and linoleum, both of which featured materials and colors not found in nature.  Ugly, dated light fixtures abounded.  There was much to be done.

And much we have done.  Appliances were replaced with new energy-efficient models.  Toilets that passed more water than the nearby Androscoggin River were replaced with low-flow models.  Dodgy electrical work was upgraded.  We installed insulation in the attic and solar hot water on the roof.  Over time we fixed the wet basement issue (and the associated Pit of Death – don’t ask!).  We tore down all the wallpaper and replaced with fresh paint.  We built a large closet in the bedroom.  We upgraded the front entry with a brick walkway, and then upgraded the upgrade with a new porch.  Finally we replaced the shag and linoleum with Marmoleum in the kitchen and bathroom, and engineered hardwood throughout the rest.  This spring we were ohsoclose to having everything done.

And then, the curious turn of events in my career that has us moving to Montpelier.  And after weighing keeping the house and renting it out, we decided to sell.  As it turns out, ohsoclose to being finished with a house you want to live I, and ohsoclose to being finished with a house you plan to sell, are not the same thing.  Suddenly the little bathroom that hasn’t been painted, and the final finish coat on the porch, and the baseboards surrounding the new floor, and the pesky stairway that is covered with the last vestiges of stained shag, are no longer “final touchups.”  They are big projects when you want to list the house in a month, and you work full time, and you have a lot of travel in your work schedule.

Now we are madly peeling and sanding and painting and cutting and hammering and cleaning and freshening and trimming anything that needs to be peeled, sanded, painted, cut, hammered, cleaned, freshened or trimmed.  Every available weekend and evening hour is being spent doing something to the house, or going out and buying something that you need so you can do something.  It’s been a frantic pace.

We listed the house on June 30, and in the first week we had five showings, from he 2,000+ people who viewed the listing.   Initial feedback is that the direct neighbors are a detriment, however an offer may soon be in the making.  Hopefully it’s something we can work with.  I will keep you posted.

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