The Irony of Life, Part 16: The Twelfth Hour

2325 Woodland Bluff Road, Heber Springs, AR

Since my contract addendum (June 8) asking for a reduction in the sale price to fix everything wrong with the “ramp house” under contract was declined by the owners, I’ve continued to look at other houses—even on the day I was supposed to reply to their counter-offer, Friday, June 12.

One was on top of the hill beyond the Ozark Market where I buy freshly ground peanut butter.  It was a lovely house.  The description said it had blackberry and blueberry bushes.  And the lot is huge with no fences separating this house from the others nearby.  I calculated how much it would cost to build a fence, commute to the only grocery store that sells organic produce, and to have the lawn mowed every week because everything grows so fast here.  I let this one go.

Next was the community of townhomes at 34 Old Ford Way by the Red River.  They were different, fun, and two-story.  But they were awfully close to one another—like the “two houses built on a single lot” next to the triplex I sold.  I recalled my neighbor’s barbecue smoke coming into my bedroom at night from the open window in another room, the only one that brought in the evening’s breeze.  While the realtor was moving her Lexus SUV out of the parking lot, a group was walking towards the river. I could be their grandmother.

I saw a house for sale by owner on 1413 Roes Ridge in a classy neighborhood near the airport.  The story goes that it had to be moved because it was in the path of the planes.  The owner was a smoker whose carelessness burned the house down.  It had to be completely rebuilt!   Now that number is at the end of the road; the mailboxes on the right show up as 1416, 1414, 1412, and 1413.

The new owner met me in the parking lot wearing a swimsuit covered by a long, flowing cover-up.  The first thing she showed me was the tornado shelter: a metal cylinder attached to the concrete floor.  I’m claustrophobic; I’d rather be swept away by that funnel than sit in that tiny space with amplified noise of those whirling winds.

She’s selling because she has a new partner.  They are moving to Hot Springs, a retirement community.  On our tour, she told me how she met him.  In the last room, the office where he was working online, she introduced me to him and the dog at his feet. I had never seen a giant curved monitor like his.

He seemed happy to chat, so I also asked what effect the COVID-19 Pandemic had on international businesses like his.  He said that it was a good thing because suddenly everyone realized how important computer guys are!  In the oil and gas business, income versus expenses is now noted immediately.  Before computers, people had to go to a tank and check the depth; now that’s done by computers.  He was in computers long before IBM came out.

I nixed that house for the incredibly steep driveway.

I got to see a “move-in ready” home on Lake Shore Drive.  It’s for sale by the owner who lives nearby.  The first thing I noticed was the delightful landscaping in the front yard.  There’s a view of the lake between the houses across the street that cost four times as much.  “Location, location, location.”

And I wouldn’t have to do anything to fix it!  The woman who owns it also owns the tile store.  She updated everything inside and out, including a new roof.  It is a show-case house with a huge tiled shower, two baths, three bedrooms, lots of storage space, “Hollywood” closets, a large garage, and a relatively flat driveway. So this is how the rich folk live!

I have indoor cats and it is carpeted; my rented house has carpet.  Someone brought fleas inside last week, and I’m having a challenge getting rid of them because of the carpet.  The new HVAC system is not only in the house, but right by the master bedroom, and it’s loud!

It is also the most expensive house I looked at so far.  When I got home, I crunched numbers and wrote emails asking for advice from my wizard of money and an interior designer who has bought and sold a lot of houses.

As much as I want to make an offer, I need to be absolutely certain that I can afford not only to buy it but also to furnish and maintain it.

I would have to buy all new furniture.  All I have is my bed, the dressers my sister and I grew up with, an old round table that needs refinishing plus four chairs that “kinda” go with it, my computer table, and computer chair.  I’m guessing furniture would cost in the neighborhood of $20,000, based on no experience whatsoever.

I listed the pros and cons for both houses:  the “ramp house” I’m under contract to buy (2325 Woodland Bluff Road) and this incredible “move-in ready” house.

The “ramp house” is currently $137,000 (down from $149,900).  But it will take a lot of work to do all the stuff on the inspector’s list, like “replace shower stall.”  I think the total of everything I got estimates for was nearly $16,000 and an estimate can be half the real cost.  And, I would once again be “the property manager” hiring and supervising all these repairs!

At 6 p.m., on Friday, June 12, Carl Houvener, the listing agent at McKenzie Realty and realtor representing the owners of the house, still had not sent my realtor the paperwork to counter the owners’ counter-offer after the inspection.  The deadline is midnight.

And so, I looked for rental houses, found one with photos proving the owner does maintenance (unlike the one I’m renting now).  I sent him a Zillow email asking if it’s still available.  I made dinner.  After switching the computer chair for a reclining lawn chair, I watched Vanilla Sky on my laptop, with two cats on my lap.

This morning, Saturday, June 13, I checked my cell phone which is always off by 6 p.m. My realtor had sent the paperwork; I signed it online and went for a walk on the Sulphur Creek Trail behind my rented house, the only thing good about it.

[To be continued…]

Till next time,

“Please be kind to everyone you meet, for we all have our hidden sorrows.” ~Tzaddi

2 responses to “The Irony of Life, Part 16: The Twelfth Hour

  1. John Stockwell

    Househunting! I wouldn’t want all the hassles of a fixer upper.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Hi, John Stockwell
    It (having to fix the house I wanted to buy) was just too much after all I’ve been through. I’m exhausted!


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