Having returned from our trip to Portland where we met what will be our first new friends in Malaysia, Diane went back to work and I resumed House Husband Duties. Unlike all of 2014, there’s a lot to do before selling a house, trying to liquidate all your possessions and being home to accommodate the throngs of vendors that the real estate agent schedules. Creating a “Marketing Calendar” to keep track of it all, our real estate agent’s administrator’s job is booking vendors to get the house inspected, painted, cleaned, washed and staged. Almost wishing I was the one working, selling a house in the Land of The Overpriced is turning out to be an enormous pain in the ass.
Uniquely different from selling a house built six years earlier and occupied only by us, homes older than me usually come with pages and pages of recommendations for minor repairs, statutory code upgrades, cosmetic fixes and disclosures up to Wazoo. (Built in 1964, our house is almost new compared to many homes in suburban Contra Costa County). Needless to say, none of this comes cheap. Along with bearing the unfortunate responsibility of paying broker’s commissions, the seller of a home in Northern California spends more on vendor’s fees, title company bullshit and miscellaneous regulatory fees than most men spend on an engagement ring. Spending upwards of $10,000 is “normal” even though our real estate agent conveniently “underestimated” all these costs by at least a few thousand.
Arriving right on time, Oscar pulled up to the driveway Saturday morning, unloaded his equipment and began the great yard cleanup project. Armed with only one assistant that spoke no English, a leaf blower, chainsaw and some rakes, he skillfully and methodically cut, trimmed, chopped and cleaned the overgrown mess that cluttered our entire property. Deemed necessary by our real estate agent, we finally began the first step towards the move to Malaysia and mimicked the other residents of our middle class neighborhood . Giving in to suburban yard sprawl, we shirked our responsibilities as we learned them growing up and paid someone else to do it.
Crows escaping the carnage
Recalling my recent post with the “before ” pictures, , the “after” pictures speak almost as powerfully as a small town devastated by a tornado. Uncovering spots of the property long covered and overgrown, the back yard looked like one of those post-apocalyptic movie sets where the humans are gone and the plants and animals took over. Destroying hundreds of precious hidden items, countless nuts and other wintertime storage goodies were swept away, leaving who knows how many squirrels heading for the small animal soup kitchen. Uncovering the entire quarter acre of property as the day went by, we watched in awe as four years of garden neglect went up in leaf blowing smoke.