Next we had to set about selling the house and figuring out how to do that. As it turned out, we were in the position of putting the house on the market at a time, for the first time in years, that house prices were going DOWN. Hard to believe. We figured that house would have gotten 660K, maybe more, the year before. We thought about putting it off; maybe waiting to see if the prices started coming back up. But that would surely take a year at least for them to bottom out, and more than that to turn around.
We just couldn’t wait. Brother Steve was scared to death that Joan would somehow get herself out of the place she was and go back up there to that house. I suppose we could have just let her do that and she could have cooked her own goose. But to brother Steve’s credit and ours too I guess we didn’t want Joan to die inhumanely. So we decided we had to unload the house and pretty pronto since prices were still tilting downward. Another reason being that if we managed to sell within the 2006 calendar year, we would still be eligible to use WB’s capital gains exemption and that along with Joan’s we figured would pretty much protect the profit after bills to the state and to the bank were paid off.
A real estate dealer was on the scene as soon as she heard about WB’s death. She contacted us, I think, and offered her services. She knew WB and Joan having approached them on several previous occasions to see if they were thinking of selling. They weren’t, but she already knew the house and from the web page of the firm she worked with it was clear they knew the area—Valley Center—really well, knew what was selling, and what wasn’t. What was hot and what not. In any case, I spoke with her on the phone and she impressed me with her knowledge of the area. She knew all the adobe houses too and what they were like and how they were moving.
We settled on 620K as the asking price in “as is” condition. That meant we were not going to pop a lot of money to get stuff painted or what not to make the place look better, and it didn’t look as good as it could have. During the last years, WB hadn’t been up to his usual work standards and the place was looking pretty ragged around the edges; some blocks were coming off the patio walls, and there were dinks and dents in the walls inside from where they had hit them with their ponderous electric wheel chairs. And WB had tried to build a sort of porch thing off the kitchen door that looked like the construction of a madman, all shambly and falling down.
But they had four acres. That was good. The acres might attract people who wanted to run horses. There were a goodly number of horse people about. But the house was on the small side with just two bedrooms. Not exactly a family house. But the walls were adobe and 14 inches thick. There’s nothing like 14 inches of adobe to moderate the heat; and the roof was red tile, and when the big fire had come through a couple of years before, the abode was untouched while the regular frame house a couple of hundred yards away was burnt to the ground.
That’s the "court yard," I guess you could call it, of Delridge on a foggy day.