Nine Days to Relief

It hasn’t been an easy couple of months. At the start of January I wrote about the troubles I’ve been having at home, and following that I put in the effort to get a For Sale sign up. I signed away my life to do that on February 3—my birthday.

Don't ask if it's a lie, just gimme cake.
Don’t ask if it’s a lie, just gimme cake.

Although I’ve sold a home before, this has been my first experience going through the process most other people go through to rid themselves of real estate they don’t want. It’s been an eye-opener for me, especially with dealing with feelings of discouragement.

Right when I put up that For Sale sign, the price of oil crashed. Calgary is an oil and gas town in an oil and gas province. The change in mood around here was palpable: like in other cities, companies began cutting operations and laying off employees, and there were a lot of grim faces all around. This also meant that, quite suddenly, people became cautious and protective of their money. Very quickly, my realtor began telling me how the market was drying up. Other homes larger and nicer than mine were slashing their list prices yet were still languishing on the market. Some were getting no showings at all.

In light of this, I’ve actually been lucky. I was still getting some requests from people interested in seeing my home. Not a lot, but some. With all but a few of the other listings in my quadrant of the city (in my price range) having already sold, my condo was the biggest…but also most expensive…listing available.

What I’ve found stressful is all the uncertainty. Every day I’ve had to leave my home in a showable state: no dishes left out, no mess, nothing. It’s had to be perfect. But there’s tidy and then there’s “showable”… And this is when you get a very harsh lesson in other people’s expectations. Realtors are supposed to provide feedback to the owner after the property has been shown to give an idea of how the viewing went, was the property well-received, etc. Most of the showings I had resulted in no feedback at all, as apparently this part of the process is like pulling teeth or getting blood from a stone. But the first time I did get feedback? Apparently the client hated my condo and the building. Like, hated it. Granted, I know it’s not perfect, else I wouldn’t be trying to move. But the client doesn’t know why. The only impressions they had were based on how it looked (and sounded) at the time of the showing—which was actually a quiet afternoon, and I have been working hard to keep the place spic-and-span.

Unless hell descended after I left that day I’m not sure why the review was so bad. Obviously my condo and that building was not a good fit for that client. But for me? To hear that as my first piece of feedback was really depressing. I started to question if none of the other showings had given feedback because those clients had similar feelings and were just too polite to share. That started me on a spiral of thinking I was never going to sell.

Somewhere along the way, the condo I had my eye on to buy ended up conditionally sold. I’d had one of those excellent gut feelings about the property, that if I bought that one I would be okay. But then it seemed like it was being snatched out of my grasp. To say I was sad and discouraged and depressed doesn’t begin to cover it.

Eventually, though, I did get some positive feedback from showings on my home, and then an indication that someone was interested in making an offer. The conditional sale on the condo I want fell through. I started to feel a bit better. But the client that was interested in my place didn’t follow through. And then requests for showings seemed to dry up for me, too.

On Sunday I spent the day with my mother in Banff. I’d actually left the house the day before. I needed the break, to get out and simply be away. I was trying not to think about the status of the sale at all, and just concentrate on having a good time.

While walking down the avenue with snow gently falling around us and the dog eagerly sniffing every blade of grass, my phone started ringing. On the other end was my realtor, somewhat panicked. “I have not one, but two realtors who want to show your place like right now!!” How relieved was she when I said I wasn’t there and wouldn’t be back for hours?

How excited was I?

To go from nothing to two showings in one day was fantastic. I told her it was no problem and hung up. Then, naturally, I started wondering if I actually had left my place in a showable state. Did I make the bed before I left? Were the curtains open? Did I empty the dishwasher? Well, it was too late to worry about it, so I did my best to put it out of my mind.

It usually takes a day or two to get feedback. But on Sunday after I got home I sent my realtor a text:

All the exclamation points in the world...
All the exclamation points in the world…

Mind blown. I’m not really sure what I did after that. I have this thing about trying to not concentrate too hard on potential good news because in the past when I have focused on things too hard it’s seemed like those things never came true. Murphy looking over my shoulder. I didn’t want that here, for sure!

Monday evening, I did some shopping and then sat down to log into EVE like I usually do. Honestly, I wasn’t expecting to hear anything from my realtor. I wasn’t even thinking about it. Why should anything come through now when none of the others had? Whatever—just another day for me.

Until it wasn’t. The text came in at a quarter after seven: an offer to purchase was coming! And then it came! Then there was a flurry of activity and phone calls and negotiations. The buyers were in a rush and had given me until midnight to make up my mind.

By 9:30 we had come to an agreement on price and I was digitally signing documents and reviewing the next steps with my realtor.

March 25 is the “go no go” day. The buyers have until then to review the condo documents and get their financing in place. I’m not sure exactly what happens if they don’t meet that deadline. Obviously if the bank refuses to finance them, there’s nothing I can do about that. But if they just need a bit more time? Do I get to give them that? I don’t know. Hopefully it won’t come to that.

Nine days from the date of offer. Nine days to determine if I get to move out. Nine days to relief.

If everything comes together, I’ve agreed to a possession date in late April. This gives me about a month to pack and find somewhere to move to. I can’t think about offering on the condo I want until I know for sure if I’m sold. But come hell or high water, if the buyers are buying, I’m going to get out of here even if it means living in my car or moving back in with my parents until I get my own place!

Fingers crossed. :)

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