Life is full of unexpected twists and turns. By the time you’ve aged up enough to understand that these are the events that create growth opportunities and keeps life from becoming boring routine, you know that the anxiety which always often accompanies these circumstances is something that will eventually work itself out. You won’t be hyperventilating forever and you will eventually get a solid night’s sleep.
We are preparing to downsize. ‘We’ is me and my husband of 35 years (well, 37 total if you count the two years we were together before we got married). Downsize doesn’t refer to our weight (although we could both stand to drop a few pounds and likely will be at optimal weight by the time this particular adventure is over).
We thought we’d be downsizing twelve months ago, when we sold lots of our furniture, packed up 50% of our household clutter goods, hauled it out to our oversized garage, and then paid a professional stager to come in and make our home look beautifully appealing to ‘the masses’, all in preparation to list our home for sale.
But the most unexpected thing happened. We listed it with a highly successful and well-known listing agent who taught us a huge lesson: No matter how highly regarded a listing agent is, they are really NEVER working for you, the seller. SELLERS BEWARE! That’s all I’m going to say about that (unless you give me a glass of wine, and then I’ll tell you the whole outrageous story).
So, long story short, we UNlisted the house, yanked out all the staging and decided to stay put for a while to re-think the entire adventure. I got a whole bunch of new furniture out of it, so really it was okay.
We raised three children in this home. And none of them live here any longer. All of them wish we wouldn’t sell, because for them, this property is home. But in 37 years, hubby and I have had many homes (9), all over the country, as relocations were part of the career building. And before that, I had a childhood that included several major moves around the country.
Our three children weren’t born here…they were born four states ago, and also had the experience of relocation as they transitioned from Denver (Colorado) to Los Angeles (California) to Santa Fe (New Mexico) and then to a little town in Ohio for just thirteen months, before finally coming to this lovely community just over the Golden Gate Bridge north of San Francisco. That was fifteen years ago.
Now it’s just the two of us rattling around in here. We don’t spend time outdoors on the property, on a substantial upslope with terraced gardens and meandering pathways. We don’t use 50% of the main house. And it’s spacious with soaring ceilings, far too many walls of glass windows and lots and lots of stairs. To bring groceries in from the car, I have to climb far too many stairs to get up to the kitchen. The cottage, which sits over our huge garage and which we’ve kept fully furnished and fully equipped, does attract some wonderful paying guests, but WE have to look after the business of it all. WE have to manage the bookings, the cleanings, the contracts, the little details. True, it’s been relatively easy and we’ve met some lovely people from all over the world who’ve come to stay with us at the cottage, but…it’s time.
While we’re still functioning young enough and alive healthy enough to take on another adventure, while the house is still in fabulous condition thanks to our ongoing and neurotic attention to the detail of it all… it’s time to move on. Let another family treasure this amazing place that we have lovingly renovated and cared for over the past 15 years.
My husband holds a California brokers license, and even though his business has nothing to do with residential, we RE-listed the house five days ago under his own license. I built a website for it, posting a ton of photos and explaining the history of the property (the house was built in 1918) along with the various ownership transitions.
In just five days, it’s been ridiculously busy with property showings and it appears we have garnered serious interest from a variety of potential buyers. There’s no way of knowing how many (if any) offers we will be receiving in the coming days, but if the past 48 hours are any indication, I suspect we will get at least one and very possibly several offers. I hope so. I’ve had one foot in and one foot out for a full year now. I’m ready to take my other foot out as well and simply move on to our next adventure.
Really, it’s time. Will I miss this place? Sometimes, probably I will. But quite honestly…not so much. I love what we DID to this place, how we morphed it to become OURS. I love the memories we MADE in this place. But, there are more memories in the making…and I will morph the NEXT place into a home that’s ours, where new memories can be made.
Home is where the heart is. And over my lifetime, I’ve learned to be adaptable. We’ve never once failed at making a house a home. I’m ready to renovate, to take on another project, to see what our next chapter has in store for us. The possibilities are endless…it’s exciting. It’s daunting. It’s not dull. It makes for great adventure. It’s life, and best experienced with both feet in.