For a short time, approximately 3yrs ago, we owned the house next door. We already had a rental on the north end of town, but this house would be to ‘flip’. Buy it cheap, fix it fast and sell it quicker. We had a solid game plan when we purchased it but without a psychic friend Cabrina, we had no way of knowing what was in store in the near future regarding the real estate market or the word of our renter. We purchased the house next door officially on April 1. Looking back, April fools does seem fitting.
We completely gutted the house next door. New counter tops, new carpet, new tile. The bathroom was completely changed and the dining room was transformed into a proper pantry and storage closets. So many laborous hours spent working there. Every time the kids went down for a nap, I was back. Peeling hideous wallpaper, painting cupboards, painting door jams and doors. Dan nearly lived in that house for 2 months after all the time he spent there. Hours spent turning a house into someones home.
By the time we were done, I was in love with the house. The colors were beautiful and the bathroom tile was something to be envied. Even being biased, it was really nice inside. Everything so new and shiny. I was jealous of whoever was going to live here.
We listed the house and the long story cut short of it is, the market took a dump in the 2 months between purchasing the house and listing it. It was going to be very difficult to sell it for the profit we had envisioned. Add to that, our renter skipped out on us and we had been so focused on getting the house next door on the market, we hadn’t been able to get the rental beautified again and re-rented. We now had the pleasure of paying 3 mortgages on our own.
It was a tough time for our marriage, our lives and devastating to our finances. These cataclysmic events alone would have only been a burden but the combination of them together helped to create a perfect storm. The kids were 1 & 2 and I feel like 6months of their lives were missed in the strain and stress of it all. It’s a deep regret I have and hopefully, it will be a learning tool for me in the future. No matter how bad things get, don’t forget to take joy from the small things… particularly your kids.
Mercifully, we did sell the house next door in November of that year. Long forgotten were thoughts of profit. At this point it was about stopping the bleeding. You can’t heal if you’re still hemorrhaging. We closed on the house in December and handed over the keys. There was both a sense of immense relief at getting rid of that house and a sadness. We had poured so much into the home and it would be weird to not just walk into it anytime we felt like it.
We never set foot into the house again since then. Nearly 3 years have passed and life has steadily improved for us. Our rental has been re-rented with a long term tenant and we’re slowly gaining on the giant dent that the experience caused our finances.
Then last night, our neighbor invited us over to see the house. He had just had new carpet put in and repainted everything. It looked different but good. At once, I was flooded with memories. Touching the kitchen cupboards, walking into the bathroom, looking into the bedrooms. It was both nostalgia and sadness. We’d never lived in that house but there had definitely been a piece of us left. I felt the chapter had finally closed.
Sometimes, it can be difficult to let the past go and just when I think I’ve completely figured that out, I get a reminder that I might not actually be doing that. As we left and walked back to our house, I let it go. Let it be my teacher and tool but not my burden any longer. I had been cleansed.