Saturday, September 8, 2012


Our offer on the late Victorian house was conditional. In fact, it was the first time Bill and I have ever made a conditional offer. Previously, our offers always coincided with major moves. In the case of Washington, we sold in 3 days there and bought a house in Ottawa three days later. So, this was our first flirtation with the angst of conditionality. We needed to sell our house, and quickly.
Timing is all, as they say, and our timing wasn't good. We made our offer just before the Labour Day weekend, when just about everyone's attention is on getting kids off to school or university, or on having a last warm weekend at the cottage, or on enjoying the last long weekend until Thanksgiving (in Canada, that's the first full weekend in October). Not until last Tuesday, when people were starting to settle into their fall routines, did we get serious visitors to the house. Then, on Wednesday morning, an unconditional offer was registered against the Victorian. It was from a couple in Toronto with deep pockets who had made an earlier offer, had an inspection, then changed their minds (not surprising, since no inspection of an old house can be considered comforting). The new offer converted our offer to a right of first refusal set to expire in 24 hours.
That's when it got interesting. With less than eight hours left, a serious prospective purchaser of our property emerged. We knew he was serious when he took the train from Toronto in the morning and booked a viewing for just after noon. We knew time was short for him, so we offered to show him our inspection report, in the hope that he might feel comfortable waiving his right to one. (I've had experience with this. In DC, I had to waive an inspection in a crazy seller's market where there were multiple bids on just about anything with a roof in Northwest DC). Unfortunately, he did not have much experience with older homes and, according to his agent, was nervous about every little crack. Let me mention here that our house is in what might be considered pristine condition for a 150-year-old house--dry basement, updated wiring, new furnace, etc; these things are relative. He was prepared to make an offer conditional upon a new inspection, but we weren't prepared to take the risk that he might back out, so with only a few hours left, we backed out of our agreement on the Victorian. I know it sounds wimpy, but I was already feeling ambivalent, since I love our current house, even if we could use some extra bedroom/office space.
So, what have I got to show for my week of craziness? I lost five pounds from all the cleaning, tidying, and lack of time to eat. I have a sparkling clean house, although I ought to say that the first thing we all did when things fell through was to leave our shoes in a pile in the front hall and a few dirty dishes out on the kitchen counter. After a momentary feeling of sadness and disappointment, I discovered, much to my surprise, that my overwhelming feeling was relief. No damp basement to deal with, no leaky third-floor windows, no major decorating decisions. I walked downtown, ate a cup of Kawartha Lakes cherry ice-cream, consoled myself with some expensive boots, and got on with knitting Trellis. I'm almost done with the knitting/steeking, and by this time tomorrow I'll have my sewing machine out.

Can't wait for Rhinebeck, where this vest is going to look great with my new boots. 

P.S. In case anyone is wondering why I referred to the house we offered for as being "late Victorian", it was to distinguish it from our current home, which is mid-Victorian. The former, built in 1895, has one small (originally) coal-burning fireplace, narrow-strip hardwood floors, and the remnants of gas light fixtures. The latter, from the late 1850s, has wide-plank pine floors and three large wood-burning fireplaces. All in all, I prefer the earlier style.


  1. Wow, your vest is gorgeous! And so is your house! I haven't done much blog reading and finally caught up on your news. Glad you are at ease with the housing situation. Again, your hous is beautiful!

  2. My parents, my husband, my sister are or were in the real estate business for many years. I know all those conditinal deadlines well.

  3. I'm glad you've figured out where you're going to be living & that the stress is over.

    The Trellis is really coming along. My Rhinebeck sweater is still a pile of skeins in my closet. I guess I'll be going with a Rhinebeck shawl ;)