I am selling my house to a young couple with a daughter. They look very young, certainly not even thirty, and this will be the second house they buy, having flipped one a few years ago. I am amazed at—and somewhat envious of—their lack of age and their ability to afford a home in one of the more expensive part of the country. When I was in my late twenties, my then-wife and I bought a dilapidated townhouse in Washington, DC, and it needed everything. We paid the equivalent of $30,000, and back then it was all the money in the world, and then some.
The buyers think my house has potentials. They plan to tear out the kitchen and possibly the bathrooms, repartition the upstairs, and then repaint the rooms in pastels. Two decades ago, I did the exact opposite, taking walls down and opting to cover the bland eggshell paint with bold burgundies, blues and greens.
It’s all very odd.
I am gratified that the place won’t be torn down by a developer. I worried about the fish in the backyard pond, the fox that I see every few days, and the trees and shrubs I planted over the years to commemorate people I loved who’d died.
I’m under no illusion that the house will stand forever, though. It’s a typical, small suburban home of no architectural value. It was built as median-income housing in the 70s and originally sold for $49,000. In recent years many of the neighboring houses have been torn down so builders could erect McMansions with handkerchief yards, and these now command seven-figure prices. Mine does not, but it stands on almost a half-acre of land and sometime in the very near future, someone will realize that four or five townhomes could be built on the plot. I am within walking distance of Metro, three minutes by car to 66, and five minutes from 495. I give my house three or four years, tops, before it is levelled and replaced.
We held a yard sale, and I am grateful to Arielle, Gina, Stacey and Ellen for helping. All in all, we sold almost $450 of varied items. The most interesting moment came on Sunday, when a gentleman who’d been there the day before and bought a two-dollar pair of pliers, returned. He wandered about the driveway, then rearranged the tools on one table so that saws were aligned and wrenches faced the same direction. He squared the assorted screwdrivers and sorted the hammers according to size. Then he smiled, nodded, and left without buying anything.