As most of you know by now, my family has spent many, many months – many years, really – trying to get our house in shape to sell.
In September, we were almost there. We had an eager buyer on our hands. We (and I use the term “we” very loosely, here) had started the long and arduous process of cleaning out 30 years of accumulated stuff. We had signed a contract, slogged through much of the legal process, and had a closing date in sight.
That date was supposed to be right before Thanksgiving. Everything had been cleaned out, dusted down, and shined up. My mom had found a lovely little apartment not too far away from her job and her church, and had moved out of the house with (gasp) a little time to spare. My dad signed a lease in Massachusetts, and planned to move in by the beginning of December.
We weren’t that surprised when the closing date was delayed a little – this was a short sale, and the whole black-box process was mysterious and unclear. The buyers needed to provide some extra paperwork, so the hand-off was pushed back until December 10th.
But then the buyer’s lawyer said he wasn’t ready on the 10th, either. Some of the documents hadn’t come through. My dad had already scheduled his moving truck, so he signed over power of attorney to our representative and said goodbye to New York.
A week later, the closing was cancelled.
That’s right. It turns out that the buyers, a nice couple with three young kids, have decided to get a divorce. They’ve called off the contract, and left us back at square one.
Our real estate agent has put the “for sale” sign back up, and has been showing the house non-stop over the past couple of days. We have no idea when or if we will find a new buyer. I hope I’m not jinxing it, but I think the chances look pretty good. There are a lot of people interested, and at least we understand the process a little better after having gone through most of it already.
It’s just a major and unexpected letdown to be so close to watching the ink dry before having victory snatched away from us.
The weird thing is that we have all been at least partway through the process of emotionally detaching ourselves from the property. Everyone (including all family felines) has settled into their new homes, and there’s nothing tying us to that house anymore. My parents don’t even have to be there in person to sign the papers anymore.
And yet the house is still there, still in our possession, and still anchoring us to a past that seems less and less tangible as the days roll on. The pain of leaving home behind has dulled a little, helped along by the process of getting everyone situated, and I feel more confident about where we are headed as a family that still has so much in common and cares so much for one another – even if we’re terrible at showing it.
I feel like I’ve crossed a threshold, or come through a thick and murky bank of fog, and now I can see that the future can be as bright and sunny as I want to make it. It’s a good feeling. I think it will be a better feeling when we finally find a new family to fill the house with life and laughter and their own complicated stories once again.
I don’t know when we’ll find the right people for the job. I don’t know how long it will take to get approval again from the financial powers-that-be. I don’t know when the new closing date will be, or how many times it’ll be postponed, or if we’ll suffer more disappointments along the way.
All I know is that both my parents have worked incredibly hard to get to this point, and I sincerely hope that it will pay off sooner rather than later. I know we’ll get there eventually, but it would be nice to have an idea about when that might be.
In the meantime, we’ll all keep working on building our new lives in new places. I’m sure we’ll strike the right balance as time goes on, and hopefully we’ll find that we’re on the right paths towards the best possible future.