An elderly seller and a renovations contractor had an unexpected meshing of needs, in one of my many serendipities. I remembered it recently because I am meeting other sellers who face challenges similar to hers. A related post for people anticipating the challenge of down-sizing in stressful times is "Down-sizing the challenge of Down-Sizing."
Mrs. C. was nearly blind and very hard of hearing, and she had recently lost her husband. She needed to sell the big old house. It was in a lovely neighborhood and had lots of space, but it was full of years of stuff - some sentimental, some just not sorted through. There were also a number of "delayed maintenance" things that would discourage the first-time buyers likely to be looking in that area.
As I always do, I went through the house with her, to recommend the improvements and changes that would make the biggest difference in the price we could ask and how quickly we could get it. I felt strongly that making a few minor changes and packing away a lot of stuff would make a large difference in what it would sell for, but she just wasn't up to it.
She needed more time to come to grips with the necessity of selling and to decide what to get rid of, what to fix, what to store. The task was overwhelming both physically and emotionally. In the meantime, she said that if I found someone looking for what she had, I could show it, but she wasn't up to having a lot of agents and people going through. Not just yet, she insisted, although I told her that the best marketing is to get as many people as possible into it, after getting it in condition to show as attractively as possible.
I had listed another home not far from there. Someone called about that one, but it was not what he was looking for. This young contractor and his wife were looking for a house with potential for improvement, in a nice neighborhood. Like this one. I got permission to show it to them, and it was just what he wanted.
He wasn't in a hurry. He'd settle whenever Mrs. C. wanted to leave the house. He said she could just leave whatever she didn't want to take and he'd haul it off. And he said she didn't need to bother about all the things a building inspector would point out and that most buyers would want fixed. He could inspect it for himself, and he could do all that work himself.
They were a perfect match. The odd thing was how he happened to call on me. The property he called on had had a "Sold" sign on it and had just gone to settlement. I had called the sign company to take the sign down and had removed the "Sold" rider, but the sign hadn't been removed yet. During those few hours, he drove by and called, and one thing led to another, happily and serendipitiously.