sbm321

Selling my dad’s house

Sueb20
last month

So, quick recap, my usually healthy and active 85 yo dad went from working and going to the gym 7 days/week to a sudden hospital stay for 10 days, 2 weeks rehab, and went from rehab to assisted living near us (2 hours from his home). The poor guy stopped in for a dr appt one morning on his way to work and never went home again. Over the past 2 months, in addition to coordinating his care and changing his address and getting his insurance sorted out (nightmare), I’ve been getting his house ready to sell.


It‘s been so weird to go through every drawer and cabinet and closet after 44 years. Mostly meaningless and cheap junk, thanks to his second wife, who was a QVC hoarder (she died 10 years ago and I had no idea how much stuff was still stashed away in closets, drawers, attic). It was such a challenge to find any place to take donations during Covid but I finally found a charity to take every single piece of furniture and about 20 boxes of dish ware and tchotchkes. I had 1800 JUNK come twice to take the real junk. Meanwhile, had to have electrical and plumbing repairs, then cleaning co., then carpet cleaner. (Even though I’m sure the buyers will rip out the carpet on day one — there are hardwood floors hidden under there! But in 1977 carpet was cool.)


The house could be adorable but hasn’t been updated in a long time. While I’ve been busy cleaning it out, I’ve also been mentally redecorating, of course! Every room is wallpapered, and the carpet is yucky. Just new paint and restoring wood floors would be enormous improvement. The kitchen is tiny so a rehab wouldn’t cost too much — even just paint the 80s oak cabinets and replace the Formica counter. I’m hoping a young couple with some vision buys it and spruces it up.


Anyway, the house went on the market yesterday and I feel equal parts accomplishment and sadness. Overall though, relief to have this one element of my dad’s ongoing issues settled. The good news is that the house went on the market around midday yesterday and by the end of the day, 13 tours were scheduled. I hope it sells quickly, and with no complications.




Comments (46)

  • runninginplace
    last month
    last modified: last month

    Another salute for a tough job well done! Especially during this pandemic, can't imagine the challenge of discarding all that stuff right now.

    My BIL and I cleared my MIL's house after she went into assisted living quite suddenly. In her case she had dementia and after her third fall/hip fracture(!) it was a classic case of leaving in an ambulance one day, never to return.

    So the house was completely intact and although she was very tidy, she was definitely an organized hoarder or maybe just a classic sentimental Depression era packrat, because the 3/2-with-a-garage was jammed to the brim with neatly packed stuff that had to be sorted then disposed of. Along with stashed junk like the proverbial 42 cool whip containers/lids, 295 bread twist ties, every soap gift set she ever got, her kids' baby teeth and hair etc. What a monumental job! MIL also loved writing little notes on stuff and I will never forget the one I found in her china cabinet: "I ask only one thing. Keep everything".

    Fortunately by the time she went into assisted living the dementia was advanced enough that she didn't really understand or comprehend anything about how the house was being handled. It's now a rental and the income supports her stay in the ALF where she will be until the end. Actually now, 4 years later, she thinks 'my house' is the duplex she grew up in 80 years ago.

    The only bright spot is that we did the tough work of clearing her place before it had to be done while grieving her loss in the world completely. Now I'm dreading what we will have to do for my father's house. He is 86 YO, a widower with an even bigger house and no ability or desire to clear his home. He keeps vaguely telling us he has to start doing that so 'us kids' aren't burdened but it will never happen.

    Sueb20 thanked runninginplace
    Best Answer
  • eld6161
    last month
    last modified: last month

    Here’s hoping a sale goes swiftly and smoothly.

    Very emotional for you as I’m assuming you lived in in this home.

    Sueb20 thanked eld6161
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  • OutsidePlaying
    last month

    Oh wow! I’m sure this is both a huge load off your mind in one sense and heartbreaking sad in another. I hope your Dad is doing better after his initial decline and that the house is quickly sold.

    Sueb20 thanked OutsidePlaying
  • mtnrdredux_gw
    last month

    Oh my it sounds like so much work. I am glad it seems as though it will sell quickly.

    Sueb20 thanked mtnrdredux_gw
  • IdaClaire
    last month

    Seems so many of us are suddenly thrust into the same boat, caring for the needs of aging parents. If we aren't yet, many of us will be before we know it. It has to be a terribly emotionally gut-wrenching time (I know that's even an understatement), and I'm sure it's also a strange feeling of full adult competence and responsibility, and childlike helplessness. All of this is to say that I hope you find peace and comfort during this transition. Sounds like you have been incredibly busy and I hope the house finds someone to really love it. I'll bet it will. Keep us posted... and don't forget to be extra good to yourself right now.

    Sueb20 thanked IdaClaire
  • DLM2000-GW
    last month

    All of that would be hard to deal with in normal times but adding the complexity of covid 19 into the mix makes my head spin. Breathe a deep sigh of relief. You've done everything you can and more. Hoping for a quick, no drama sale.

    Sueb20 thanked DLM2000-GW
  • bpath reads banned books too
    last month
    last modified: last month

    Sueb, with everything else you were doing for your father, I’m proud of you for tackling the house, as well! Did you have assistance or advice from a Realtor for anything?

    Sueb20 thanked bpath reads banned books too
  • dedtired
    last month

    Sueb, what a job you have taken on. Yours is a lesson to all of us as we age. Clean out! I still have all of that (times 10) to face at my mother’s house. I wake up at night in a panic thinking about it. I really admire you for what you’re doing. I hope your father has some quality of life now.

    Sueb20 thanked dedtired
  • Zalco/bring back Sophie!
    last month
    last modified: last month

    That is so much physical, mental and emotional work. I hope your father is recovering.

    Sueb20 thanked Zalco/bring back Sophie!
  • Sueb20
    Original Author
    last month

    ded, yes! Clean out! And vacuum under the bed at least once every ten years, please.

  • jmck_nc
    last month

    WOW, what a way to spend a pandemic. You deserve a spa vacation once those are a thing again. Hoping for a quick sale!

    Sueb20 thanked jmck_nc
  • Fun2BHere
    last month

    Good job! I hope the house sells quickly.

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  • bpath reads banned books too
    last month

    My grandmother never cleaned out. Neither did my parents. There is sooooo much stuff. Fortunately, a small flood in the basement gave me the opportunity to add items to the dumpster of carpet and paneling. There's still a lot of stuff. But boy was that motivating. Nothing like a time limit to get ya moving.

    Sueb20 thanked bpath reads banned books too
  • Funkyart
    last month

    Wow-- that's quite a lot to have accomplished amid stress over your father's health and care AND covid restrictions. Wishing for a quick sale and hope your dad is doing well!

    Sueb20 thanked Funkyart
  • hhireno
    last month

    How “lucky” you had the enforced time to do this task. It would be worse if you had to miss time at your beach house to accomplish it. Good luck for a quick and easy sale.

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  • Kswl 2
    last month

    Sue, you’ve moved a mountain while some of the rest of us have been bingeing on Netflix! It’s impressive you were able to do all that by yourself. I hope it gave you the time to appreciate your Dad’s longevity in the home and reflect on your own life there. Sounds like it is in a great location for so many people to want to see it.


    I hear you about the stuff—- MIL was a hoarder and her closet has clothing from the early 80’s. It’s a nightmare. FIL died in 2010 and there are still brand new jackets with tags in his closet that he never wore. This summer the kids (DH and his two sins) are either going to have to get together and sort through (unlikely) or just call in a team to do it. For some reason they want to keep the house and put it in our family rental property pool. It’s a huge custom modern home built in the 70’s that has not been well cared for and needs a total gut remodel. I personally would sell it in a red hot minute to anyone willing to take it on, but it wasn’t MY mother’s house.

    Sueb20 thanked Kswl 2
  • Tina Marie
    last month

    Going through the same thing. My dad lived in his house 53 years and went to Assisted Living in March. Two weeks later came lock down and he has not done well. He is currently in the hospital after some complications, and will most likely be moving to a skilled nursing facility early next week. To YET ANOTHER facility on lock down. The upside is that my sister and I have been alternating days with him at the hospital and that time is precious. We had started cleaning out his house, but no rush. Had planned to do a bit of repairs, like your dad, his house hasn't been updated since my mom passed away 10 years ago. He has had some water leak in one of the bathrooms so would pretty well redo that room and then flooring in a few rooms, pull up carpet from hardwood floors. BUT NOW WE DO NOT KNOW WHAT TO DO as he will go to a medicare paid facility. He is a private pay at his AL. I will be speaking to an elder care attorney next week. He has funds and he has income, but I don't know how all that works with medicare and the social worker was fuzzy on that. We inherited my grandparents' house and went through that clean-out and reno (small) and now we rent that house. Cleaning out a home is not a fun thing and it's particularly hard going through those memories. I know you have had alot on your plate Sue. i hope your dad is doing better. I am so thankful for my sister and our husbands through all this. So thankful for these days with my dad.

    Sueb20 thanked Tina Marie
  • Arapaho-Rd
    last month

    Sueb, I feel for what you're going through. Amazing what you have done for your dear Dad.

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  • sealavender
    last month

    Sueb, continued strength to you. Reading this, I had flashbacks to moving my mother out of her home of 30+ years in Florida. I could not have done it alone, without the help of some wonderful people.

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  • Bonnie
    last month

    Thinking of you Sue as you navigate daunting challenges during the pandemic. Yikes you have not had it easy!

    Sueb20 thanked Bonnie
  • Sueb20
    Original Author
    last month

    Sorry to hear about your dad, Tina. Seems like you and I are living somewhat parallel lives this year.

  • Olychick
    last month
    last modified: last month

    Sueb It's such a big and emotional job, getting our loved ones' affairs and stuff sorted out. I hope it sells quickly so that part of your task will be behind you.

    Tina Marie, sorry about your father, too. I just wanted to point out that Medicare doesn't pay for nursing home care, except for the first 100 days. After that, if he is eligible (financially) he might qualify for Medicaid, which is a totally different program, not related to Medicare at all.

    I'm glad you're seeing an attorney. Just don't do anything with his money until you do, because doing the wrong thing can render him ineligible for Medicaid.

    Wishing you both the easiest road possible with your parents.

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  • l pinkmountain
    last month
    last modified: last month

    I actually am on sabbatical from work right now to do the very thing being discussed, finish going through my late mother's things (and quite frankly mine) after I inherited her house when she died. I'd been chipping away at it but just not making progress and it was hanging over my head, so I decided to bite the bullet on it and take 6-9 months off work and get it finished. Then ironically this pandemic hits. So on the flip side, no reason to do anything else but focus on the tasks, but now I am doing a lot of care giving for my Dad which is as stressful and distracting as work!

    Meanwhile, my uncle just went through what your dad went through Sue, he had a stroke and suddenly went from being fine and active, to having to go to rehab then assisted living in another state near his son. That was a bad enough adjustment and then comes lockdown. He can see his son and daughter in law and granddaughter from a distance in a common area, but can no longer leave for cultural or social trips. Not even available anyway, even if he could leave the facility. Very hard for someone who has been social all his life.

    I had hoped to both visit my uncle and help my cousins with the house clearing stuff, but now since we all live in high spread states far apart, getting together is going to be very difficult. My uncle lives in a high spread area still mostly closed, so the fate of the house is in limbo. So now I am just back to trying to move forward on my own task and who knows what the future will bring. I don't know now how easy it will be for me to return to work! All I can say is my mantra "One day at a time."

    Feel free to come back here and report feelings, progress and frustrations. You are not the only one in this boat!!

  • cran
    last month

    What a job! my mother passed 15 years ago I still have jewelry and bits and pieces I don’t know what to do with.

  • Tina Marie
    last month

    Yes, Sue I think we are. At least we can commiserate. My best friend is going through a similar situation, and her mom is also in a facility on lock-down. I told her yesterday I am thankful we can lean on each other!!


    Thank you Oly. Yes, I got that confused. I'm sure you can imagine that my head is swimming. The fact that we cannot visit these potential facilities is awful and we are supposed reach a decision by Monday! We do not spend any of dad's money, although I can sign checks and have been paying his bills for some time (he has macular degeneration and cannot write out checks) but he is in his right mind. He defers to me on financial matters and my sister (she is a nurse educator) for medical matters LOL. I am so glad he had a psychiatric exam while here (he had some confusion recently due to low sodium and a med the AL dr. had put him on) as it showed he was of sound mind. Just in case we need that. We want him to spend his money on his care, not worry about leaving it to us. We were in the process of getting POA (both medical and financial) drawn up and then BAM, lock-down. The lawyer we were working with is not elder-care, but I will contact her Tuesday and see who she refers. Thank you so much for your good thoughts.

  • OutsidePlaying
    last month

    Tina Marie, so sorry you are in this situation and working through a quagmire too. May all of you dealing with the nightmare of paperwork and elder care give each other strength here. It isn’t easy in the best of times, and certainly not now with things locked down.

    Lpink, I remember when you wrote about your sabbatical from work. It never is easy, is it?

  • Tina Marie
    last month

    Thank you so much Outside!

  • allison0704
    last month

    Sueb20, in my experience, keeping busy was a blessing, but I know how mentally and physically draining the balancing act can be. Like Ida said, be sure and take care of yourself during this time.


    Tina, I am glad you and your friend can lean on each other.


    Sueb20 thanked allison0704
  • jill302
    last month

    Sounds like you are doing a great job helping your Dad. It is hard. You have my heartfelt sympathy. We went through a similar experience last year. My active mom overnight became dependent.

    Initially she improved enough to Be moved to an Assisted Living facility. My brother and I had to sort through a packed 5 bedroom house to get it ready for sale. My mom was a hider so we had to look at every little thing, it was crazy. Took us 3 months to get ready for the estate sale, then another month and a half to get the house ready for sale. My mom’s house is in a desirable neighborhood. Sold within a 2 weeks, with multiple offers, and the sale was relatively smooth.

    Unfortunately my mom’s health continued to decline. She ended up in a SNF late last year and passed away in February. Now settling her estate.

    There seem to be a number of us going through this. Hugs to all, it is hard.

    Sueb20 thanked jill302
  • Sueb20
    Original Author
    last month

    Thank you everyone for commiserating and sharing your stories. I’m happy to say that we already have 3 offers on the house, two that are over asking price. Waiting to see if other offers come in today, but we have to respond to yesterday’s offers soon and I think I know which one we’ll accept. I’m so glad this isn’t going to drag on and on (fingers crossed that nothing falls through).


  • OutsidePlaying
    last month
    last modified: last month

    Congratulations SueB. A good problem to have with multiple offers. I’m sure you are quite relieved.

    These stories of you all going through a loved ones belongings reminded me not only of going through my own parents things almost 20 years ago, but also a dear friend who had been going through her parents things. She is finished now, but after her parents went into assisted living and then her dad into the alzheimers unit, she was cleaning out their house. They both hid money in books and they had hundreds of books, so she had to flip through each one to see if it contained money. Some had multiple hundred dollar bills, some several twenties, tens or fives. She ended up with several thousands of dollars In cash.

  • eld6161
    last month

    Outside, we had something similar. DH was cleaning his aunt’s home. There was a very old tide box under the sink. It was pack solid with bills.

    He did find other money scattered behind things.

  • Olychick
    last month

    Great news about multiple offers on the house.


    Re: cash stashing, my cousin had a similar situation, but her mom hid bills in old grocery sacks - the folded up, crammed in a cupboard kind. Not sure how she first discovered that, but always worried she'd tossed something that contained cash. I hide cash, but I've written down where and placed the list in with my will and other important paperwork.

  • Sueb20
    Original Author
    last month

    Darn! All I found in my dad’s house was some loose change!

  • teeda
    last month

    Congratulations on a quick sale. Hope everything goes smoothly so you can continue to move forward. What Herculean task you accomplished!


    Sueb20 thanked teeda
  • Sueb20
    Original Author
    last month

    I’m happy to say we formally accepted an offer today. We actually ended up with two offers quite a bit more than asking price, and my dad and I got sentimental and chose the offer that came with a sweet letter from the potential buyer — even though it was for a bit less $$ than the other offer. I think it was important for my dad especially to have a sense of who was buying the house. Our realtor met the buyer this morning and said she was very sweet and excited about the house, so we are feeling good about it. Hoping the rest of the process goes smoothly!

  • Olychick
    last month

    Congratulations. I love that he picked the buyer he liked best.

    Sueb20 thanked Olychick
  • aktillery9
    last month

    WOW! Sue you have gone above and beyond. I had to do the same thing years ago and I still can't believe I had the energy to do it. It is definitely a very difficult task to accomplish... especially during these trying times.

    I am so happy to hear that a wonderful person is buying the house. That was kind to write a letter and even better that you guys accepted based on the love that the new owner showed for the house.

    I hope everything goes smoothly!

    Sueb20 thanked aktillery9
  • Kswl 2
    last month

    Selling a house to someone you believe will maintain it, and love it and thrive in it is a blessing. i almost pulled out of the sale of our house for personal reasons (and could have done so legally) because I felt the buyers were not right for it. We went ahead and thank goodness we did because one month later the pandemic reared its ugly head and large homes are languishing on the market now, but I haven’t been able to even drive by it since the closing. It’s so much easier to turn over your family home to a good steward.


    Tina, I didn’t realize all you were dealing with, and wish you didn’t have to.

    Sueb20 thanked Kswl 2
  • allison0704
    last month

    Kswl 2, we were out of town when we received two contracts on our last house. Pennies apart, basically. For reasons other than the money, we went with the higher offer. Recently DS ran across photos the painter had posted on his FB page... and sent to me. I wish he hadn't. I really wanted believe they did not do much, other than freshen the wall paint. I could not believe what they did to the kitchen and all the cedar beams inside the house. I sent the photos to three friends and they couldn't believe it either. Yes, I know it is not our house now, and yes, I would want to make it my own too... but why buy a house and try to change it into something it is not? The interior no longer matches the exterior, and if they ever do anything to the exterior, I really don't know to know!

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  • Sueb20
    Original Author
    last month

    Allison, we moved almost 2 years ago. The new owner of our former house posted some furniture for sale on FB a few months later and I could see in the background that they had painted the brick and mahogany fireplace white! I’m still not over it, clearly. 😉


    Thanks again for the kind words, everyone. This is definitely one time in my life where I could use a sibling or two...but DH has been amazing in taking over all the bill paying and insurance mess for my dad so I can concentrate on the house and his medical stuff. And I am glad my dad is still with us so I’m not also grieving throughout the process.

  • Zalco/bring back Sophie!
    last month

    I am so happy you and your father are pleased with the sale of the house. You got a lot done quickly under such stressful circumstances.

  • DLM2000-GW
    last month

    What a great story, Sue wonderful that your dad feels good about the buyer. This is a huge chapter closing, lots of feelings all around, I'm sure but you are so right about the blessing of not doing this during grief as well.


  • allison0704
    last month

    Sueb20, yes white walls, beams, cabinets and counters, which does got with stained trim/doors/windows which are still there and the travertine flooring - both are warm tones. I even saw a touch of medium gray on the coffee station.... AND they painted the travertine FP surround.


    The next week, DH wanted to get out and go for a drive, so we rode past the nearby house where we lived for 20+ raising our children. What was a lovely landscaped corner lot has been completely destroyed. I knew they were not "yard people" but had a landscape company. Clearly, cutting down hundreds of azaleas, wild hydrangeas and trees were easier than keeping it up. Two large natural areas now have weeds and/or being invaded with grass. In addition, they painted the top part of the house a dark grey. It looks ridiculous. Obviously, I am not over either of these discoveries. LOL Sorry to hijack your thread.


    Congrats on the quick offers. Here's to a stress free inspection and closing.

  • texanjana
    last month

    So glad that you already have an offer, Sue. You must be exhausted from all of this work. I understand how difficult it is. Here's to a smooth closing!

    Sueb20 thanked texanjana
  • cran
    last month

    Congratulations on selling your Dad’s house. I love that your dad got a letter from the buyer and that he sold to them. He is lucky to have a daughter that could tackle everything so efficiently.

    Sueb20 thanked cran