Last week it was suggested to me, ever so gently, by my husband, JP, that we reconsider our once-mutual decision to sell our house this spring.
“Tell me again,” he asked as we ate dinner in our newly uncluttered kitchen. “Why do we want to move? I like it here.”
I sighed and repeated what the financial advisor told us this winter – sell now! the market is “HOT”! – You are empty nesters, you no longer need a three-bedroom brick, colonial home-built in 1948 in which you have lived for 33 years. Time to downsize! Move closer in! Free yourselves of unneeded possessions and repairs!
It sounded very appealing to me. Not as much to JP.
“I don’t want to downsize. I like my yard. I like my garage. I like washing my car in the driveway. I even like washing your car.” My Detroit-born husband puts a high priority on car care.
“But don’t you want to be able to walk everywhere? That’s the new big thing. We’ll move to a new condo or apartment with a high “walkability” score.” I told him, visualizing romantic evening strolls to trendy bars and restaurants.
““If we want to take a walk, we can do it in our own neighborhood. I like sitting in my own back yard, not with strangers in a shared courtyard on an apartment or condo roof. Our house seems perfectly fine to me.”
Versions of this conversation have played out for the past few weeks. I continue to declutter and donate, to empty shelves and cabinets, to get rid of law school books and obsolete electronics . My husband stays out of my way – he doesn’t stop the going-on-the-market-soon process from going forward – but his distinct lack of enthusiasm hangs heavily in the air.
So I venture off like Goldilocks to find just the right place to move to – that will convince him we should sell once he sees what a terrific new apartment or condo I can find. Our realtor is confident our house will sell quickly. Very soon, she predicts, millennials will be swarming by the dozens to buy our home so they can start a family here – just as we did as young marrieds.
Speaking of millennials, did you know that real estate developers are rapidly building new apartments seemingly targeted at them?
This week I visited several of these new apartment communities that are springing up around us – all deliberately called “communities” – because they market themselves to entice you to sign a lease asap so you make new pals with whom you will soon be exercising in the spiffy gym, mingling in the modern club room and sitting around the community fire pit in the evenings.
These “communities” feature incredibly peppy sales reps who show you floor plan after floor plan as they exuberantly describe the many amenities “your new community” features:
- bike storage in the basement!
- weekly “yappy” hours for you and your canine friend!
- fun events with local bars and restaurants!
- free craft coffee in the modern lobby!
- “Wine Down Wednesdays”!
- “Breakfast on the Go”!
- And more!!!
Pretty good, huh? Yes, if you are under age 40, my husband comments when I show him the glossy brochures one night after he gets home from work.
“We already have plenty of friends, we have our own coffee and wine, we have our own bike storage (it’s called our garage)…our dog doesn’t get along so well with other dogs, you know that – and he loves our fenced back yard – and what do I need a fire pit for?” he asks.
He makes some good points but I resist – pointing again to the photos of the shiny new, albeit tiny-size, kitchens and living areas in the floor plans. 942 square feet sounds much larger than it is.
“Where would we host our family and friends and have our holiday dinners? I don’t see dining rooms in any of these floor plans, do you? The small tables they show barely seat four people.” JP continues. “Just three small closets. How would we manage?”
Rest assured, I tell him – all of these new apartment “communities” offer extra storage spaces we can rent (for an additional monthly fee, of course.)
“Have you failed to notice,” he responds. “that we already have our own free storage spaces? We have a big basement, not to mention a tool closet and a cedar closet. Why should we move someplace much smaller and then pay extra for storage?”
His tone ups its’ sarcasm quotient as he shakes his head.
And where would we park our cars? We each have one, remember.”
Again the car thing. To say that JP is hung up on car care underscores the obvious.
I have the answer to this one. “They offer underground parking. $200 a month. For one car. You have to pay an additional fee for a second car.”
“I can park for free in my own driveway. So can you!” he retorts. “Why do we want to uproot ourselves to move? You are not very convincing.”
Perhaps my advocacy skills have slipped since my lawyering days. I must marshal better arguments to persuade him.
We are now at an impasse; the realtor’s Listing Agreement sits – unsigned – on our kitchen counter.
*****TO BE CONTINUED*****