It should have been so easy. Everyone else had done it in a snap: why not us? The real estate market was booming in our town and after 3 years of vacillation, of should-we-stay-or-should we-go we decided to go. We called our agent friend, our neighbor, who had sold two houses already on our street, and told her we were ready. Three weeks later, after checking off every item on the stager’s seven page to-do list, (Declutter! Remove furniture! Paint this room! Get rid of those family pictures! Replace that shower door!) half of our stuff was in storage and the only thing on our kitchen counters was a vase of fresh flowers.

“It’ll go in a day,” they said.

“Your house is the prettiest one on the street,” they said.

“At least 50 over asking,” they said.

And it all came true after that first Sunday open house. We received three offers, one $50,000 over asking-pending inspection-which we accepted. Our agent-friend assured us they had been pre-qualified and the Tuesday inspection went fine. Until the commuter train rumbled by about a quarter mile behind the house. The wife immediately declared that she could not have her son being disturbed by that noise and they pulled out. Bowed but not broken we went to offer number 2 who had come in at $30,000 over asking which we were okay with, and hey, she’d written a sweet letter telling us how excited she and her fiance’ and their daughter were to think about moving to our beautiful home. 4 days later she and the fiance’ broke up and that deal was off. Offer #3 had found another house. And so the merry-go-round of open houses, private showings, 2nd and 3rd visits by the same ‘interested’ couple began. Each time the Keurig went into the trunk, the dog and his bed and food bowls were put in the back seat and off we’d go to do an errand, take a walk or sometimes just sit in the car and read. Weeks went by.

“It’s the market,” they said

“Bad time to sell.. school’s already started,” they said.

“Maybe you should take it off and try again in the Spring,” they said.

We bought new flowers for the counter. Mums replaced impatiens. Pumpkins were perched on the porch. And we began to question if hiring our neighbor/friend/agent was a good idea. She.. well she just didn’t seem to be working that hard for us anymore. Our calls to her became more frequent than her calls to us. Our emotions fluctuated among frustration, bewildered, embarrassed and finally, anger. What the hell was going on?

In the meantime we’d bought our new home, 100 miles away in a different state for the common reason of folks our age: we wanted to be closer to grandchildren. But now we were carrying two mortgages, two tax bills, two of everything that had to be paid. We were getting desperate. And in swooped the buyer; another real estate agent, with a shark’s reputation, in our same small town. Do we have any proof that he and our agent made some kind of inside deal?-No. Do we in our heart of hearts think they did? Yes. I liken him to a vulture circling over a dying body.. he waited and then swooped in for the kill. The house sold three months after that first $50K over offer. For $120,000 less than asking. (He then sold it two years later for $300,000 more than what he paid us…I told you-shark.)


“You still made a lot of money,” they say (we did)

“Let go of the anger,” they say. (we have)

“You can’t let this fester forever,” they say. (It’s stopped)

“You’re happy,” they say. (we are)

“Forgive and forget,” they say. (Fuck that)

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