Sunday, November 04, 2007

How the Time Change Helped Us Sell Our House

I can never remember if the fall time change is the beginning or the end of daylight savings time and would prefer to skip it altogether, but one year it ended up playing an interesting part in our lives.

Four years ago we were attempting to sell our house. It was an old farmhouse (circa 1890) and it was definitely a handyman special when we had bought it. Over the six or so years we lived there, we gutted the entire upstairs, one room at a time, and put in new wiring, insulation, wallboard, fixtures, etc. We put in a brand new bathroom upstairs. We pulled out ugly carpeting and refinished gorgeous maple floors underneath. We gutted the living room in a similar fashion to the upstairs. We remodeled the downstairs bathroom (which was in horribly desperate need - picture plastic yellow tiles all coming loose around the bathtub and a lot more). We had put in a dishwasher and disposal where there was none and turned a pantry into a nice little laundry room. It was a LOT of work!

The problem was that there was a lot yet to be done. The roof would need replacing in the next few years. The (detached) garage was a horror and the plaster walls in the kitchen were a bit of a mess. Finding the right buyer in a short period of time wasn't going to be easy.

Selling it was a lot of work, but we managed pretty well with one of the new "do-it-yourself" packages. We basically acted as our own agent, but buyers would generally come with a realtor to check it out. We packed up everything we could in our venerable old chicken shed (one realtor left a note saying that "That's the most impressive collection of Rubbermaid tubs I've ever seen.") We worked our tails off making things absolutely beautiful for each showing (not an easy task when you're six months pregnant and have children ages 10, 8, 6, 4 and 2 to help). Schooling became simplified with those Comprehensive Curriculum workbooks from Sam's Club.

We had put the house on the market in August and had several months of perhaps 2 or 3 showings a week when we got to the weekend of the time change and had a showing scheduled for Sunday morning. Somehow it occured to us that there was a remote possibility of the potential buyers and realtor showing up an hour early. So we decided to have things ready then just in case. Sure enough, we peeked out the window and saw a couple in a car parked across the street that had the earmarks of the ones we were waiting for. We hemmed and hawed for a few minutes, but decided to invite them inside and it turned out to be a great opportunity. We were able to tell them all about the renovations that had been done and answer all the questions they had. When the realtor arrived at the right time, they already had a lot of information to go on.

And of course, they were the ones who finally bought the house! Because of some financial complications, it took another six weeks or so before we were able to move (and just in time as Frank was born three weeks after that!), but I've always been amused at how the time change played a role the whole ordeal.


Suzanne Temple said...

What a great story! I love the rubbermaid tub comment, too.

Kristen Laurence said...

That's really neat, Alicia. You'll always associate the fall time change with that selling!