Selling a house during the pandemic or how to make your life even more miserable

I don’t know about you, but as a writer, the initial quarantine during the corona virus was no sweat. My husband and I just continued our lives as usual – I have my writing and he works in the yard. We managed to see my daughter and her family occasionally because they also quarantined, working from home. We were virus-less.

We had decided very early this year that it was time to sell our beloved home. It is too expensive for us on retirees’ salaries and we rattle around in it with the kids gone. Covid arrived in March, but we decided to plow ahead, especially since we had found another house that suited us well.

Thus toward the end of the second month, we started shoveling 35 years of accumulated ‘stuff’ from our house. I lost 12 pounds of winter fat winnowing every drawer, cabinet and closet to near emptiness. The local landfill may have to be named for us, because there is nowhere open to donate, not even libraries.

We had an inspector come to let us know of any problems and got back a 67 page report. Most of it was photos, but the suggested changes cost thousands of dollars, with men possibly carrying those nasty little virus particles coming in and out of the house.  We instituted rules: masks, gloves and keep you distance and we survived. Whew!

Then the house went on the market, and now we have what I like to call fire drills several times a week: we run around like chickens with their heads cut off (now that’s a visual!) making sure the house is dusted and vacuumed and wiped down and all personal things are cleared away from the counters (into those previously empty drawers) before each showing. My poor cat thinks his food bowl lives in a cabinet (it does). We did have to leave his litter box out, though, to avoid accidents while we are away, but we load it with new litter each time for that nice, fresh smell.  I’ve noticed he spends more time digging in it…

Our generally optimistic natures and confidence that the house was perfect took some hits when the comments from the showings came rolling in, all to them sure to drive a stake into a seller’s hearts:

  • The windows are old and leak. They’re old but they don’t leak. There’s no glass.
  • The upstairs floors creak and are uneven. They’re dirt but we ran around with marbles anyway trying to figure out where they were uneven. You’d think the inspector would have caught that.
  • The floor plan is awkward. Whatever floats your boat. It’s only one room.
  • And the best one of all: UPGRADES NEEDED THROUGHOUT.

We’ve been upgrading the house for 35 years – baths and kitchen remodeled, the interior painted, a new roof and a new HVC system installed, windows sealed. I’m thinking a huge, walk-in closet… we lowered the price.

Last night, after the latest ‘Upgrades…,” I hit a wine bottle and went to bed at 9:30.

I miss my friends, I miss eating out, and if it weren’t for a frequent infusion of cuteness from my grandson, I’d be drinking whisky for breakfast and wouldn’t bathe. Or brush my teeth. Or comb my hair. Just don’t mention any upgrades.



27 thoughts on “Selling a house during the pandemic or how to make your life even more miserable”

  1. Thank goodness none of the comments at the showings mentioned the rats!
    I’m with you on the pain of all this Noelle – the rental agency inspects my house every 7 weeks, and I spend the two weeks prior scrubbing and vacuuming. Selling a house must be ten times worse!

  2. You show your pain so well (best writing of course is in showing not telling) and yet you do so with humor and a dollop of whiskey. Selling a house is miserable-beans in “regular” times. During a pandemic it’s into “torture” realm. I hope you sell it quickly to nice people who appreciate every crack and crevice in your walls, because it shows a well-used and well-loved home. And if you don’t find such people, I hope you have a realtor who makes a mean martini.
    That said, when we went through the “down-size” event our realtor came to our house every week to make suggestions, tell us comments by potential sellers, etc. And each week, I baked fresh cookies. We became fast friends. And eventually, she sold our house. 🙂 xo

    1. That’s encouraging to hear! The kicker is that our new home is going to be ready for move-in by late October. We may have to support two mortgages or reduce the price to something ridiculous. Blah! Thanks for the encouragement.

      1. Sending out “good luck’ vibes!!! On second thought, dare I tell you how, when we were selling our home, a friend sent us their (wooden, one foot tall) St. Joseph statue for help in selling? As superstition tells, we buried the statue a few feet in the dirt, upside down. Felt silly, but what did we have to lose?
        We sold our home….

  3. Oh, gee, yes. That’s all I can say.
    But: every viewer makes disparaging comments, it’s the only way they can justify an offer below asking price.
    Some of these viewers just want to see inside someone else’s home so they can say, ‘you see, we’re better off with what we’ve got’
    some viewers just want a day out.
    some viewers have got far worse in their own home.
    most people make things up after they leave.

    I think the best one I got was ‘We’d be afraid of the grandchildren falling in the river’. Well, don’t let them near the river! There’s a fence in the way, and the dyke the other side is a fence, and a car park away! And if they insist on falling in, they’re better off not raised to adulthood !

    The best one my neighbours got (they have groundfloor bedrooms and a wonderful full house upstairs living space with balcony and view to die for). “The bedrooms are all the the ground floor.’

    You’ll be fine. Finish that bottle and open the next…. and make sure you’re out when they come. Let the realtor show them round.

    Your house IS perfect. For you xxxxxx


  4. Take good care of you and enjoy the magic moments with your beautiful Grand! All else will work out. Selling a home is not fun and whoever falls in love with it will still want to make changes. Just think, it’s been making memories with you for a long time and continues to do so. Keep looking up! Cheers (clinking the virtual glass)! 🙂 xo

  5. Hello Noelle,
    Everything has already been said, so I send you and your family my continued best wishes. Please do try and take a breather every now and then (easier said than done)❤️

  6. I feel your pain. We started our whole house remodel just before COVID hit, and have been sheltering in our hotel room ever since. Despite product back orders from plants in shut down, long lead times, social distant crews and the usual constructions delays, it looks like we might be getting close to a move in date. I can’t wait. We will make it. 🍸🍹🍸

  7. petespringerauthor

    I’m convinced there are certain things (like about 98.4% in my latest unofficial survey) that are harder during a pandemic. We had to put our dog down at the start of this health crisis, and the natural grieving process was thrown off. Moving would also have to make it in the Top 10. I’m glad we’re not in your shoes on that front.

    I have to say that grandchild has to put things in perspective. All it takes is one buyer, and that day will come. Let’s hope you and yours are not going crazy by then.

    1. Thanks, Pete. My husband and I are starting to snap at each other – not a good sign. We’ve decided to avoid any talk about selling the house. I’m so sorry about your loss of your dog. Pets are part of the family and losing one takes part of your heart. I have to remind myself to stay hopeful.

  8. Is it okay to laugh? You have such a great tongue-in-cheek sense of humor about how miserable the experience has been, Noelle, that I can’t help it. But my heart goes out to you too. Selling a house during non-pandemic times is no treat, but with so much added stress these days, it must be awful. I hope you get a contract soon. <3

    1. Thanks, Diana, I’m glad I made you laugh. I have adopted a f–k it attitude (forgive the blasphemy) which is helping. I’m sure everyone’s support for me has helped a lot!

  9. Noelle, in the midst of the trauma of selling a house during all this your sense of humour rings out! Oh, it’s so tough and I feel for you. We’ve only had the plumber to fix the shower otherwise no visitors (well, apart from my mother!) so I can only try and imagine the stress of repairmen and viewers. Good luck and try to tune out the silly comments. Sometimes it beggars belief why people come to see a house when they’d obviously made up their minds before they arrived. I’m glad your grandson is around to keep you sane! 😀

    1. Thank you so much, Annika, for your kind reply. And yes, an infusion of my grandson every other day or so is just what is needed. We have another worry now -t he house has to sell before we can get a mortgage for the new one, which will close at the end of October. I am trying to remain hopeful. Getting nice notes like yours helps!

    1. The house is sold and will close on Oct 21. But we are still waiting on the results of all sorts of inspections, with so little time to address them. Right now we are hoping none of them will queer the sale and are optimistically starting to pack. I am mentally exhausted.

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