We left NYC in 2008 and moved to 5 acres atop a mountain in rural Oregon on the cusp of wine country. It was a delightful move…in the beginning. As my friend Judy Jensen said, “Well, I guess that was some sort of itch you had to scratch.” We renovated and made it our dream home. Everyone marveled at our spectacular abode. We became part of a community, learned about trees and forestry and all sorts of things. However, taking a 20 minutes by car to do anything began to feel onerous. On top of that commute for ANYTHING being responsible for 5 acres of land had become too big a chore for me. We yearned for walking conveniences and missed being able to taste the variety of life. Small town living is great for a while, eventually that urban tug becomes powerful. We decided after 10 years on the mountain to move to Portland’s eastside. Our Newberg house would sell right away and boom – we would move on to the next chapter of our lives.
We spent a year with two mortgages. Why? Because we were advised to purchase before we sold our home in Newberg. The professional insisted on it. Why we were about to be homeless. In fact, we needed to find a new home right away. In fact, our Newberg home may sell before it hits the open market it was so hot. In fact, everyone LOVES the Newberg home sooo much it could go for even more $$ than listed.
So, without the old Newberg home being sold, we purchased a new home in Portland. Yep, we took on two mortgages with open eyes. We take full responsibility for the decision (we had done our due diligence) but, we did so because we were swayed by conviction and insistence. Then, a long six months later, with no sale in sight and winter in Newberg looming on the horizon, we heard “rural property takes longer to sell” and “yeah, you should lower the price, but the value is still there” and “the right buyer is out there” and “it will sell in the spring” and “you just have to be patient”. Urgency had evaporated. Long story short, 15 months after the original “for sale” date and a new professional, the home sold for a song.
Trying to sell the house felt like wanting a divorce. You know it is time to move on but you can’t quite let one another go. You and the house want to part but you just can’t say goodbye. No, you have to stay together…”until the kids are ok with it” or “the right buyer comes to the door”. You think, “Ugh, I don’t want to do this anymore, and look, 10 years was a good run. I feel proud of us! We are soooo over, so let’s say goodbye already.”
Finally the Newberg home was sold and what a relief!! It was fantastic. We couldn’t stop grinning or feeling thankful and blessed. We now had one home, our Portland home, where we had been living for over a year! We felt free and felt like we had actually moved from Newberg. We no longer worried about the rug being pulled from under us. We were now truly uh part of the new community…24 people came to Christmas Eve this year, all neighbors!
In looking back on this experience I have come to the conclusion that selling a home that won’t sell is really more akin to trying to get pregnant. With every showing you are wildly excited and hopeful and sure “this is it!” It’s that few week window of not knowing but hoping you are pregnant! Then when the sale falls through you are deeply depressed, experiencing severe self blame – and simply gutted. You are not pregnant after all (your period came). After a time of grief mourning that joy that was snatched from you, you steel yourself and rally for another go at it. You get out there and mow the lawn, dust cobwebs away, clean and fluff with the hopes a new buyer will appear and fall in low. Just as you move toward having sex again with the hopes of a pregnancy. And so it goes, a cycle of hope and joy followed by loss and despair — over and over again. Every time a deal falls through (we had three) or a showing doesn’t lead to a sale it is an utter and complete defeat –every time. Every time you muster hope again.
So we finally got pregnant! We sold that house. No more disappointment. We arrived!!! Within 10 days of the sale, we started renovations. Seismic upgrades, adding an income producing apartment in the basement and updating the 1911 kitchen. The exercise of renovating really is like being pregnant. You are soooo excited about your condition. We are in renovations! (We are pregnant!)
You are so excited about the new arrival. Then you reach the half-way mark. For real pregnancy at 4.5 months it’s more like 2 months for renovations. It’s about now you start to feel tired and bloated and exhausted. Or tired of the dirt and dust and noise and stress. You are ready to feel like you again You want it over with. You are tired of waiting. You wait 15 months for a house sale only to wait four more months for a renovation. You wait years to be pregnant only to wait more for the baby to arrive. And, even though you know the timeline, you know when it will end….it feels mythical, it feels far far away. But you keep going with dreams of the new arrival! Look the cabinets are in! (The baby is kicking!!) It will be life changing.
So we wait a little longer and anticipate the arrival. You look toward a relaxed and settled time. Knowing the renovations will have been laid down for a nap. You can marvel everyday at its functionality and beauty and learn and grow together. So, soon, this this leg of the journey called life will be completed. About 19 months. We will have learned emotional, spiritual and practical lessons. It is a good journey and we are happy to be on it and I say this…
We are never, ever, ever selling this house.