happyone's Diaryland Diary


Retirement Cottage: The Next Chapter

I have some very exciting news. My mom has been tentatively looking at houses for ages as she would like to buy a one-story house that would be more functional for her in her older years. She turns 70 this year, after all, and she does have arthritis in her knees. However, she hasn't had any luck because her current house needed several repairs and all the other houses on the market have been very expensive. The housing market is hot right now and all the houses she's been looking at (one story, 3 bedrooms, 2 baths) are selling at the very top of her budget ($160,000+), and they also get multiple offers the day they are listed for sale and are sold within 24 hours.

In the last several years, my mom has done many repairs and updates to her house. She had her old tile tub/shower completely redone with a new, modern shower. She had some foundation and crawl space work done. Just last summer, we replaced all the interior doors and painted them. We also whitewashed her brick fireplace. She modernized the living room ceiling fan. She just recently got a stainless steel refrigerator. She's also slowly gotten rid of a lot of junk. I personally have made several hauls to Goodwill.

This realtor just so happened to send her a link to a house that they went and looked at. She put in an offer on it with a contingency that she would have to sell her house. There were several other buyers looking at it as well. That house received 8 (!!) offers and sold above the asking price, so my mom was disappointed. That particular house would have needed some work, though. Nothing on the interior of the house had been updated, so it was all old original appliances, fixtures, carpet, etc. The previous owner also had a dog that PEED all over the carpet in several places, most likely sinking down all the way to the subfloor. She said it reeked something awful in that house! All of that carpet would have needed to be ripped out and replaced. It was definitely not a "move-in ready" house.

My mom was discouraged and figured there's no way she'll be able to buy a house in this market with multiple offers driving up the price of every house. Her realtor sent her a link to yet another house and it looked good, so both she and my sister Amber went to look at it. The house is one-story with 3 bedrooms, 2 full baths, and 1400 square feet (not too big, not too small). It has been completely redone on the inside - it has beautiful shiny hardwood floors throughout, the whole house has been recently painted a nice, neutral color, and all of the fixtures are modernized. Not one thing needs to be done or updated in that house. The asking price was $169,000, but she and the realtor put in an offer at $175,000 without a contingency to sell her current house. This house also had several offers, but her realtor worked some kind of magic because her offer was accepted!!! She is now under contract for the house she's always wanted for her retirement! She will no longer have to drag herself and her arthritic knees up a flight of stairs to go to bed or take a shower! What's funny is that the house comes with new (less than one-year-old) appliances - dishwasher, microwave, and oven, all in stainless steel. It doesn't have a refrigerator, but guess what my mom just bought? A stainless steel refrigerator! It just really seems like the perfect house for her. It has vaulted ceilings (which she loves) in the living room, master bedroom, and one of the guest bedrooms. It has a bay window (which she loves) in the dining room. The kitchen is nice and spacious (not a tiny galley kitchen, like she has now).

My mom's realtor claims he can sell her house within a week. With the way the market is right now, maybe he's right. My mom has had realtors in the past tell her that her house needed too much work for it to sell for what she wants. She still owes $98,000 on it and has put thousands of dollars worth of repairs into it over the decades. The realtor thinks he can sell it for $139,900 (it's a 2 bedroom, 1.5 baths).

I am very excited for my mom. This is also exciting for the family because we visit each other so often. This excitement is slightly bittersweet because we all are attached to my mom's current house. She has lived in it since 1983 when she moved in at the age of 31 with her 1-year-old daughter, my older sister, Angel. My sister, Amber, and I grew up in that house. I didn't move out of it until age 22 to go to graduate school. Same for Amber. It's also the house my dad shared with my mom before his passing. We have practically a lifetime of memories there. But, my mom is now almost 70 years old and the house no longer fits her needs. It was perfect for her at age 31 with one baby, but it's time for the next chapter.

12:35 p.m. - Thursday, Feb. 04, 2021


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