Full Disclosure!

Abandoned house in disrepair, Astoria, Oregon, USA

This is not my house … but it may as well have been after I had written all my seller disclosures!

If there are any readers still lingering here after my unexpected hiatus from blogging, I’d like to say thank you for sticking around and I shall now disclose (fully!) my reason for leaving.

You see, I’ve been extremely busy (and stressed!) making lengthy lists of literally hundreds of disclosures for the sale of my home after it went into escrow.

This is actually supposed to be a simplistic process and one that works smoothly when there aren’t perfectionists, worriers, obsessors, and Type A personalities involved.

Essentially the seller (Me!) writes down whatever is wrong with the house so there are no unexpected, unpleasant surprises after the new homeowners take possession — thus giving the buyer the option of saying, “Uh, no thanks!” and exiting the deal OR continuing on with the realization that unless a home is brand spanking new (and rarely even then!) it won’t be in perfect move-in condition.

However once my real estate agent mentioned that the couple who wanted my house came from a family of attorneys and that previously they resided in a beach condominium where they sued the prior owners for 500K because they hadn’t disclosed there were sharp seashells hidden beneath the sand that could cut bare feet, I began to have an uneasy feeling.

After consulting my own lawyer, I was informed that in America you can initiate a lawsuit to anyone for anything. And to be on the safe side I should disclose everything I could possibly think of to these people — the more problems I could recollect and report, the better off I’d be in the long run.

I took this as a direct challenge to recall the last twenty years worth of life with six kids under one roof and because of my recent memory lapses, I felt the only option was to consult my ex-husband who originally bought the home with me.

Me: When we first got married and moved into this house, what wasn’t functioning properly?”

Ex: You.

Realizing this would get me nowhere, I called back my smartypants lawyer.

Me: Can’t I just tell these people I’ve changed my mind and then find a more laid-back family so I don’t live in fear over getting hauled into court for the rest of my life.

My Lawyer: Sorry, Ms. Mental Pause . . .

Me: I’m Miss Menopause!

My Lawyer: Really? My wife doesn’t miss the change of life at all.

Me: OMG. You bill by the minute, right? Can I kill the sale of my house or not??

My Lawyer: Unfortunately at this point, they’re the only ones who can cancel the escrow. You must now proceed to sell your house to these individuals. Again my best advice is when in doubt, it’s better to disclose everything.

There was nothing else to do but utilize the method I always used to solve sticky dilemmas . . . I Love Lucy reruns. What would the harebrained, zany redhead do? I recalled an episode where the Ricardos couldn’t fire their grumpy maid so they tried to make things so awful, the cantankerous woman would quit on her own. And the one where they weren’t allowed to break their apartment lease with Fred and Ethel Mertz, so they tried to become miserable tenants and get themselves thrown out.

That’s it! Brilliant.  I’d scare off these buyers by giving them such horrific disclosures, they’d back out on their own accord. Upon hearing this scheme, my real estate agent cautioned me that it was illegal to make stuff up in the disclosures — they had to be true. Apparently she’d never read my blog.

To Future Buyers:

I hope you’ll be very happy in this house, but I hereby go on record disclosing the following defects:

  1. Dishwasher only works on the Extra Scrub cycle. You have to defrost the frost free refrigerator. Roof always leaks when it rains.
  2. Home is in a drought zone so it never rains. Your water bill will be thousands of dollars a year.
  3. In the summer ants are so rampant, they come streaming out of all the bathroom faucets — IF the department of water hasn’t shut them off because of rationing due to drought.
  4. House had six children raised in it. God only knows what went on in their bedrooms when they were in Time-Out and feeling vindictive.
  5. Neighbor lady to the left is old, mean, decorates the exterior of her house with candy, and calls my youngest son/daughter Hansel and Gretel.
  6. Neighbor to the right is much nicer and will only push kids into ovens if they trample her vegetable garden.
  7. We’ve found rattlesnakes, gophers, an opossum, a squirrel, all sorts of gruesome rodents, and a used condom in the basement of the home.
  8. Home does not have a basement.
  9. Bathroom acoustics are so terrible that family members will shout, “shut up!” if you so much as sing in the shower.

I gave a self-satisfied smile as I reread my list — it sounded like Stephen King himself lived here! And then because I also watch Brady Bunch reruns and remembered the one where they pretended their home was haunted to discourage any buyers, I also disclosed this:

9.  This house was built on top of an old cowboy burial ground.

For good measure, I hid my lasso and boots under a couch cushion.

When given the above notarized document, the future buyers just laughed and told the realtor my writing was hilarious — almost funny enough to be on The Huffington Post. It was then I knew I had to pull out my top secret weapon….the ‘M’ word.  No, not Mold!

For my tenth and final disclosure I put down…

10.  Marriage Murderer — This house is responsible for killing two separate marriages simply by making unusually loud settling sounds at two in the morning, thereby causing the wife to awaken with a start, poke the husband in his sound asleep ribs while loudly hissing, “What’s that noise?? Go downstairs and investigate! We have a prowler.”

When all was said and done, after all my attempts to foil the sale, the buyers were still proceeding full steam ahead, and so I asked my realtor “Why would anyone want to live in this house after reading all these bad disclosures?”

“Live in it?” she asked. “Oh didn’t I tell you? They’re specifically looking for a fixer-upper so they can get a great price, refurbish it, and resell it quickly for far more money. Didn’t you ever watch, “Flip This House!” or “Flip or Flop?”

Of course not. I was too busy watching I Love Lucy, Brady Bunch, Poltergeist, and all of Stephen King’s movies. Sigh….

Real-estate-seller-disclosure

READERS: Do you have a moving nightmare story?

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