Looong time since my last post, but we'll say no more about that. The question I keep getting, however, is what's happening with the move?
In order to move to Portland, I have to sell my house in Atlanta. And in order to sell my house, I have to first get it on the market. But before I get it on the market, I have to get it ready to show.
The critical time in selling a house, realtors tell me, are the first few weeks that it's on the market. A house on the market for more than a few months is generally considered somehow undesirable in an unspecific sort of way, sort of like a year-old profile on match.com, and is subject to low-ball offers, if it gets any offers at all (sort of like match.com).
So the goal is to get the house all squeaky, Better-Homes-And-Gardens clean, so that those sincere about buying a house are impressed and the house sells quickly. Besides, I want to sell the house quickly, not to maximize profit but so that I can move on to the next chapter of my life, and not linger here any longer in In-Between Land, as in "in between" the past and the present (of course, we are always in the here and now whether we realize it or not, but some conditions cause our minds to dwell on the past or to fantasize about the future).
Now, getting this house of mine showcase-ready is no simple job, and outsourcing is obviously the key. Last week, I finished my taxes, and already got a big fat $10K of a return deposited into my bank account to fund the outsourcing. But if only the contractors were cooperating.
The typical scenario is this: I call a contractor, leave a voice mail message, wait a day, call again, leave another message, finally get a call back on about the third day, set up an appointment for something like a week after my first call, and, a week after that, finally get a cost estimate for a scope of work that is nothing like the job that I had requested. It doesn't matter if the contract is for landscape maintenance or handyman repairs, the pattern is about the same. It's frustrating.
I've now been back from Portland for almost a month, and feel no closer to getting the house on the market than when I first returned. Of course, after returning, I had to spend the better part of a week in Houston and then a week in Jena, Louisiana, which didn't help me make any progress at all. All I have managed to accomplish has been to get a quote on moving expenses ($6,410, in case you're curious) which I forwarded onto to company management (hint: "y'all pay for it"), and this morning I finally got a plumber in here to fix the non-working bathtub in the main bathroom.
That bathtub hasn't worked since I moved in here. The pre-closing inspection indicated that there was a leak under the house from that tub, and I had told the sellers to fix it as a condition for closing. They provided paperwork documenting it had been repaired, but upon moving in I discovered that turning the faucets wouldn't produce any water, so I assumed they"repaired" it by merely shutting off the flow to the tub. I've looked all over the house but could never find the valve, so I just sort of forgot about it (this house has two other fully functioning showers). But since it's now time to move, and since everything has to be perfect, I got a plumber in to locate the valve and get the tub working again.
Well, funny thing: he found the valves all right - they were the faucets I had incorrectly been tying to work. Turns out that what I thought was the hot water faucet is actually the hot/cold regulator, and the other faucet, which I thought was for cold water, is actually the flow adjuster. But for the flow adjuster to work, the temperature faucet has to be in an "on" position, not closed. You basically have to turn the right faucet on the desired temperature, leave it there, and then turn the left faucet on to the desired flow rate. It may sound complicated but it isn't once you understand it. There was nothing wrong with the plumbing - I just didn't know how to operate my own bathtub. Boy, did I feel dumb. At least the plumber only charged me the minimum visit cost ($29). I think he was embarrassed for me, too.
So now I've gotten the tub fixed and I have a quote for moving expenses. I'm still trying to get the yard maintenance done (major leaf and branch removal from the time I was away all last autumn and winter), the spare bedroom re-wallpapered, the front porch painted and spruced up, and a mirror and light fixture installed in the main bath. And those are the jobs that I can foresee. The realtors' lists are even longer, but it's not their house now, is it?
But the good news is that at the rate things are going, by the time I get everything done, we may be out of this recession and I'll be able to find a buyer with enough money to pay a decent price for this house.