She didn’t think she was ready. Who is ever ready to move to assisted living?
It was early August, when mom’s fall would become a game changer.
After one night in ER, followed by two weeks in skilled nursing, followed by two weeks of 24/7 care at home, reality made its way into all our lives.
Yet this is a story of respite and resilience. Caregiving, community, camaraderie. A story dotted with hope, the thoughtfulness of family – love at its core, with a smattering of humor in unexpected places.
Please join me with my mom-in-law, as Alice paves a new kind of landscape for her life. She graciously gave me the honor to share with those who might need some encouragement.
It’s really happened. Mom’s house sold. Escrow was longer than usual, bumps in the road, though buyer and seller were meant to be. Buyer loves the house, seller loves that the buyer loves the house.
And so saying goodbye behind, there is freedom ahead. It’s weird. I thought saying goodbye to Mom’s house would be far sadder than felt. If anything, it’s like she gave her blessings throughout the transaction, I just wasn’t paying attention. Now it’s clear that selling her house was a great decision. It was the right decision. Funny how strongly the head and heart fuse when the right decision is made.
How does one know the right decision is made when selling a house?
You just know. There’s always doubt. There’s always second guessing. Always. It’s when one is able to move forward, despite the normalcy of doubt. Case in point. Since escrow closed last December, I’m currently living with friends. The transition continues, knowing my time is temporary – new living environment awaits. Just gotta go out and look for it.
I learned so much from the experience of selling Mom’s house and those lessons continue. I’ll take those with me, use them to better help and assist my friends and clients. For now, this moment, a brief video saying goodbye to 1405 W. Bay Ave. Mom’s still there. She’s everywhere, beginning in my heart. She moves with me. 🙂
La familia, real estate and a trust: what to do, what to do?
There’s ample reason for taking time in making big decisions after a loved one dies. Upon the death of Mom a year and a half ago, first thoughts of what to do with her house: gut the kitchen, new granite tops, tile floor – the intention was to rent it out, make the most of what Mom worked so hard for and keep her legacy alive at the beach.
Let’s face it, beach house + tenants = goldmine, yes? Not so fast, landlord. Time has a way of teaching different perspectives. Though it seemed logical to keep the beach house for numerous financial and emotional reasons, my bro and I began questioning what he and I really wanted for ourselves. We came to the realization that we each had our own specific goals. Now we had to work together to find the right compromises that would enable us to move forward.
A living trust takes trust. And good faith.
As co-executors, Mom knew very well how well her kids would work together. This escaped me at the time, as one doesn’t think about such things while a parent is living. Once she was gone, brother and sister had to take the time necessary to reconnect with other and to understand where we were in our individual lives. I commend my Mama for taking action and creating a living trust years ago, as well as for having the faith that her children would do the right thing for themselves and for each other. Her preparation has raised a new awareness of our own lives as we now wish to take care of our own kids as she did for us.
The decision to sell Mom’s house, although not easy, now feels right. When a loved one passes on, give yourself time. Breathe, think, feel, mourn. If there’s real estate involved, even more reason. That property ain’t going anywhere. Decisions should be made with clarity. Other people mean well. They may give advice, feel they are helpful yet not understand your exact situation. Most people believe a simple will will allow heirs to handle the sale of a home. Not true. Depending on the situation it’s very likely “probate” will skim some of the sale profits. Consider a trust. It’s a gift of legacy.
Surround yourself with trusted advisors, whether they be personal friends or professionals such as a trust attorney, tax consultant and yes, even a Realtor. Shameless plug? You bet. Call it what you will, pretty convicted about this one. Through my own personal experience, the care and compassion I bring to the table are that much stronger, authentic, to the point and undeniably altruistic. Sharing my personal story of Mom – a way to help you, someone you care about, the objective to simply let others know I understand, I care and if need be, will be there to help.
In the near future, more to share regarding other real estate issues – the purpose, to share, engage and hopefully make one think a little bit, learn a little something. I make a living helping families find their next home. A very cool thing.
Is it the neighborhood? The home design and architecture? Or maybe the backyard BBQ, sparkling swimming pool surrounded by tiki torches and left over props from an aged Gilligan’s Island episode? Two story feel more like a home than single? Is a home a home if it lies within the boundaries of that spectacular Blue Ribbon elementary school you’ve read so much about?
I have come to think about this question, more philosophically than real estate jargon. Most understand that the process of buying, selling a home is quite emotional. We are drawn to a home, often for how it feels, rather than its practical qualities. General statement, yet I’m speaking in generalities. Stay with me. There’s a point here.
Upon purchasing my first home almost thirteen years ago, I realized this entity called a house was not a living, breathing organism. Merely a place, a refuge with a roof, keeping the outdoor elements at bay. A house is a mortgage, a lease, a storage area for unpronounceable Ikea furniture, flat screen tv’s, scuffed shoes and rusted rakes. Told with great accuracy of George Carlin, a house is, “a place for your stuff.”
In 2000, bought my first house. About eighteen months into new homeownership I gathered the courage to admit I wasn’t a happy homeowner. It just didn’t feel like home. Eventually, confronting my then husband with my new revelation left us with a silent relationship for 3 days. To his well-deserved credit, he was a champ upon hearing this new. Yet some how, in some way, after that confession, the 2,300 sqft. abode suddenly became a little cozier; a different air of warmth permeated her walls.
From that point on, I realized this house, ourhome, was not merely a place of stationary artifacts. More than that, the house was us, the family. Each person living under that roof, began creating their own memories, contributing to our collective experience of what home meant to us.
As a teen, my Mom, brother and I lived in a small apartment. Little did I care it wasn’t the spacious house on the hill, glorious oceanfront or average single family residence. It was our home; a place where we took care of each other, helped make dinners, had friends come stay the night, drink Dr. Pepper and crunch on Doritos. It’s the living room my Mom comforted me when my first boyfriend broke my heart, the kitchen where I learned to cook lasagne, the breezeway where I helped my brother fold the local daily newspapers for his route.
Perhaps we have the capacity to create our own environment after all, house and home.