My mom has been on her own for two years now. The rule of thumb (apparently) when your spouse dies is to wait at least a year before making any big decisions, like selling the house and moving to something smaller. My mom has dutifully followed this rule, and for the past year, has been clearing out all the stuff that she no longer needs. My dad was quite the packrat, so there was a LOT of stuff to get rid of in their shed and in their garage.
Then, just a couple of months ago, Mom decided that she’d like to start looking at condos. I took her out to look at a few, and she got quite excited to see what her money might be able to buy her. She asked me to do some research on the interwebs to give her a ballpark figure on what she might get for her house. I thought it might be around 545 000$.
Last week, she called me, all bubbly and pleased with herself. She’d called a realtor. He was going to list her house and help her find the perfect condo. They eventually settled upon a price of 579 000$, but Mom said the realtor thought it more likely that she’d get 550 000$. And then she started to worry.
“What if the house sells right away and I have to be out in July? You and DD will be away and won’t be able to help me move!”
“Mom,” I said patiently, “that’s not going to happen. As the seller, you decide what you want the closing period to be. It’s normally two or three months. Don’t worry about it!”
“And what if I can’t find something I like before I have to move?” she fretted.
“Mom,” I said patiently again, “you’re in charge here. You can have a clause put into your contract that any sale is subject to you finding a suitable condo within whatever time frame you want. Don’t worry about it!”
Still, she agonized. Finally, before the house was formally listed, she expressed all her fears to her realtor, who tried to reassure her by putting all that into their contract. She would not HAVE to go through with any sale unless she found a condo she loved, and she would decide upon the closing date so that DD and I could be home to help her. She still wasn’t quite comfortable with the whole idea, she said, but at least she was able to sleep again.
The house went on the market on Wednesday.
I mentioned to a few people at work this morning, Friday, about how worried my mother was about being forced out of her home in July, without anybody to help her move and without anywhere to go anyway. We all chuckled and shook our heads at her strange thought processes. “Like THAT’S going to happen!” was the general consensus.
Mom called me at work at noon. Her first prospective buyers, a young couple, had come through the house with their realtor that morning. They bought it. For 570 000$. The closing date is August 26. Mom is ecstatic. She has two and a half whole months to find her perfect condo.
Do not listen to me. I know nothing about real estate. My mom just may.