The end of an era…

15229 Hamlin in Midlothian is no longer the responsibility or permanent residence of my dad. Yesterday morning, the house was closed on – and the young couple with a new baby and a 7 yr old, were very excited to take the keys.

Later in the evening, Bob drove over to return some patio furniture that we had removed in haste, and found the house to already be decorated for Halloween. They weren’t actually moving in until today/tomorrow.

Bittersweet may be the best way I can describe this experience, rather than the excitement the buyers were feeling. I walked out in tears, likely a mix of sadness, regret, relief – so many feelings. With all the badgering by the reverse mortgage company (Champion Mortgage – beware of them) and their loan shark tactics to take the house if we don’t pay up, the stress of this had taken its toll over the past year. I had to watch out for my dad’s welfare, financially and otherwise. My dad had no clue (and we still won’t share with him) that this home he treasured so very much, and misses just the same – was ‘referred for foreclosure’ a few months ago. I’ve argued by phone, sent emails and snail-mails and pleaded with these sharks that we needed more time to sell the house. The house was listed last September: an offer in December fell apart 2 weeks before an anticipated closing; another more recent offer fell apart for reasons we still don’t understand. Both times, those parties were able to receive their ‘earnest’ monies back. I still don’t get it – never will, and if there was a way I could fight for this in the future, I would.

So, I was anticipating a not-so-nice experience yesterday, mainly because the buyers had initially made an insulting and extremely low-ball offer. When I refused but countered with something reasonable (yet knowing it would impact my dad’s return), they took a couple of days to accept that. When time was running out – I thought that once again, the buyers (who until yesterday, we knew only their names and nothing else) were reconsidering. I had to go to court to stop the onset of the foreclosure process, and our closing dates were being pushed from the first Friday in September until yesterday – I was sure this would blow up in our face once again. I feared that the predatory mortgage company would say that if we can’t pay back the full amount owed to them they would just foreclose and my dad would be left with nothing.

Well, the house sold. Not quite a next-to-nothing return for my dad. I actually took a photo of the check because so that it would last longer! And, I was comforted by the people I met. A young man from Lithuania and his new wife and her daughter, and his mom, their buying rep/real estate agent. The young woman’s grandmother happened to be in the very first graduating class of Bremen High School, and this excited them – that they were going to live right there, where her gram walked to school. The young man seemed quite in love with their 9-week old baby James, and the young woman shared how her 7-yr old daughter loved the bedroom with the pink-ish carpet and already had princess décor planned. They loved the large well-maintained yard, and the newer quality fencing. The couple said they love gardening and looked forward to taking care of the yard just as my dad did. While we sat at the title company waiting for the process to unfold, we got to know them just enough – that I knew my dad would be happy about who was taking over ‘his’ house.

He would love that there would be children in it. He would like that they already were familiar with the neighborhood and seemed to take pride in being homeowners. I reminded this couple that my parents moved into this house, just 18 years ago, on Halloween Day, and that from experience – they would need to prepare for many, many trick ‘n treat-ers. He would be comforted knowing that a family will grow up here, instead of just growing old there.


mom and dad fall 2011

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My parents, 5 years ago next week – standing in front of their home…

with a little Halloween décor of their own!