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Thomas Mabey

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     If you follow current news reports in these dismal financial times, my family?s recent housing experience is noteworthy in its incongruity.  We actually sold our home.  We listed it with a realtor who brought in a buyer that made an acceptable offer and found the necessary financing to close the deal.  Just like that.  Just like old times.  No, it was not a short sale, bank owned foreclosure, just a home we?ve lived in for over two decades, and after raising a child and becoming empty nesters, fell out-of-love with. Over the years, our suburban dream had become a maintenance albatross and too much work for these aging baby boomers. 

     You see, part of the problem in keeping this home lies in that old adage: location, location, location.

     Years ago, at the time of our purchase, the country was in the midst of yet another housing boom making it difficult for first time buyers to find affordable homes. We were outbid by many with deeper pockets and fiercer determination.  In order for us to take the plunge into home ownership, we had to compromise our standards.  Instead of newer construction on a quiet cul-de-sac, we settled on an older colonial with a steep driveway on a very busy Bergen County road.  But truth be told, once we stepped inside, I knew to stop looking.  We were meant to be here.

     Well, except when it snowed. 

     The sheer vertical pitch of the driveway made us acutely aware of the necessity for our first house warming purchase: a high powered snow blower.

     It?s also the reason that that for the past few years, I?ve been pestering my husband to sell or risk a heart attack

     ?Do you not read the papers?? my husband asked.  ?This is a terrible time to sell and besides, where will we go?? he asked.

     ?That?s the whole point,? I replied.  ?We can go anywhere.? 

But behind my bravado, I was nervous.  Our only child was an infant when we moved here.  How would she react to leaving the only home she?s ever known?

     ?I think you should do it, Mom,? she said.  ?It?s something you?ve been talking about for years and I really don?t spend much time here, anyway.  List it and see what happens.?

     ?Look,? I said.  ?Years from now I don?t want you sitting on some analyst?s couch musing over the fact that mommy dearest sold your childhood.  Okay??

     ?Mommy, drama-queen,? she replied.  ?Honestly, I loved growing up in this house and in this town.  But my life is headed in a new direction and it?s away from here.  Maybe I?ll feel differently when I?m older and have a family of my own; but right now, I see my childhood memories from a rear-view mirror.?  

     We listed the house.

     Tom, a friend of my husband and the realtor of answered prayers, brought a steady stream of potential buyers within days of our listing, and a buyer within a month.

     Sure, we lowered the asking price, and yes, the offer was less than our targeted and somewhat greedy goal.  But it was a respectable bid for these times. 

    Like many people, I can?t comprehend the stimulus package.  It?s a number with too many zeros for a problem with too many variables.  But we?re living proof of our new President?s philosophy.  The housing situation can only be unraveled slowly and with patience, one house at a time.          


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