Tuesday, May 24, 2011
The one in which we get fucked because there was a fire at my Mom's house
As Executor of Mother's estate, I am handling all of her personal business as it results in settling the estate. If you have never been the executor of anyone else's estate, you should try it - it's a major pain in the ass because it's like running a second life while you are trying to run your own.
You get to do all sorts of stuff for the estate that you should be doing for yourself. Bills paid? Check. Households auction? Check. Write checks to the specific bequests? Check and Check.
Some thing's don't go according to plan. Like selling a house. Having never sold a house before I can tell you that it isn't all fun, and it is EXPENSIVE. Take Maison d'Mommie. Mom bought a half interest in my stepfather's home - the one that he bought with his first wife and raised two of three children in. So I know nothing about this house, other than what I observed when Mom was alive. It's a nice big "rectangle ranch". Well kept. Well maintained.
In Ohio you have to fill out a property disclosure - you have to tell potential sellers about any deficiencies or suspect activities that you are aware of. Because I don't know anything about the place, a lot of my answers were "I don't know." My Realtor - who has known me since high school knows that I don't know much about it, as well.
Well, the house went on the market and then went nowhere. So we dropped the price and got an offer. This is good.
So the buyer does what any buyer should do and gets it inspected. This too is good because an informed buyer is a good thing to hope for in the Karmic sense of things.
So I get this call from my Realtor, and it goes something like this:
Her: Did you that there was a fire at your Mom's?
Me: Trying to keep from fainting, "Oh God, please no!"
Her: You mean no one told you that there was fire?
Me: No one called - what happened?
Her: No, not now - years ago.
Right there was my "what the fuck" moment.
Evidently, there was a fire in the house before my stepfather bought it in 1969. The news even came as a shock to my step siblings because their father (who was in real estate) would have had a fit had he known. So when the inspector was clambering around in the attic he found evidence of a pretty substantial fire. According to the sweet elderly man across the street, who has lived there since 1961, he can recall no fire, either. With the house built in 1959, this tells us that the fire had to be between 1959 and 1961.
The buyer still wants the house - THANK GOD - but we have to "remedy" the damage. So we had a carpenter clambering around in the attic doing his thing, we had to have a chimney inspection (cha-ching) and there is electrical work that needs done. This is where we get fucked, because, once you factor in all these expenses, we are now getting less money for the house than the buyer's lowest offer.
And with all this crazy weather going on, and these storms sweeping through, I just am just praying that we get the deal closed next week.
And if we make that deadline, then I can close out the estate and get on with my life.