Don’t Count Your Chickens Before They’re Hatched But Make Sure to Build a Coop

a black and white photo of a newly hatched chicken
Image by David Goehring / CC BY

Well, that didn’t take long. I worried it’d take a long time to find someone who wanted to buy my house, which is in a great location but 100 years old and not without its idiosyncrasies.

Turns out it was extra credit worry.

After a flurry of activity and interest regarding my newly listed house, we have accepted an offer on it. A really, really good one. Not just full price but above asking price. Lightning quick.

How about that.

It makes everything — the weeks of back-breaking labor to update and renovate the interior, the frustration involved in teaching myself DIY skills, the hours of dirty sweaty gardening and landscaping to give it curb appeal — feel very worthwhile.

Traditionally buyers and sellers don’t have much, if any, contact during the process (it’s easier that way, makes negotiations fairer and helps lessen the emotionally difficult parts of selling/buying houses, less awkward). But between a letter the buyers sent with their offer and a conversation they had with my current neighbors, I’ve learned that they’re really excited about the house. That they’re in love with it.

Which feels really good. That’s what you want, when you’re leaving a house that you love that has been good to you over the years. It feels better to leave knowing that you’re giving the house to someone who’s going to love it, too. And since I love my neighbors, it feels good to give them new neighbors they’re excited about living next to (since their chat with the buyers apparently went really well).

Now, everyone knows that there’s a difference between accepting an offer and actually closing the deal. Lots of things can go wrong. In a study Trulia did of 2016 home sales, 3.9% of home offers fell through.

A 3.9 percent failure rate is not zero percent. True, the vast majority of sale offers stick. But there’s no guarantee. You never know what’ll come up on inspection. What can happen with financing at the bank when they really dig down into the buyer’s finer financial details.

And of course, there’s good old-fashioned cold feet in the mix. Because we’re dealing with human beings.

So while the offer is very exciting, I’m trying to leave emotional room for the deal to fall through. To have to re-list the house again. Resume scheduling showings. Bugging out in a variety of locations.

I’m trying not to count my chickens before they’re hatched, you see.

But it’s difficult to not think about the chickens at all. Because there are a ton of things I need to do to prepare to leave. The buyers specified a desired date to take possession that’s pretty darn close. And I can’t leave all of those loose ends until the very last minute.

So I’m working on getting ready to leave, all the while knowing that nothing is a sure thing. It’s always an odd state of affairs, that balance. Planning and preparing in the face of uncertainty, while never knowing exactly when or how that work will be applied.

While you don’t want to count your chickens before they’re hatched, you need to build a coop. Because even if none of these chicks survive, you’ll have a safe place ready for the next flock.

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Books by Page Turner:

Dealing with Difficult Metamours

A Geek’s Guide to Unicorn Ranching

Poly Land: My Brutally Honest Adventures in Polyamory 

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