Selling a Home Under Construction

Buying or selling a home is often marked by a big life event, such as a growing family or a new job opportunity. Cathy’s major life event that started her on her selling and buying journey was one marked with loss, and it was a journey she wasn’t expecting to take. She so graciously shared her story with us, one that we don’t often hear about but so many face. Despite all she has been through, the overriding theme of Cathy’s story put simply, is one of hope. 

In 2017 Cathy and her husband Andy, were in the midst of a major home remodel, a project that had been in the works for 9 years. They were building a large addition around their rambler that they had lived in for 30 years. It was the home they had raised their two daughters in. The remodel process was slow and they added to it as they had funds available and lived in the original part of the home while the work was being done. They even started demo on the original part of the house by year nine. 

“My husband was a big dreamer,” Cathy said, “And we were living in a wonderful neighborhood, so we decided to do the addition and remodel.”

Original 1988 Home

The original rambler in 1988

A home being remodeled

The new structure of the home in 2018

During this time they received the devastating news that Andy had cancer, and he began chemotherapy and radiation. While undergoing his cancer treatments, Andy passed away suddenly. Cathy was now a grieving widow living in a construction zone – a large framed shell with siding, windows but no insulation. 

“It was really expensive to heat, because the insulation wasn’t in. And I was I worried about issues that could go along with living in a construction zone.”

Cathy was left with the very difficult decision of whether to finish the remodel or sell the home as-is that she had shared with her beloved husband. She was dealing with her grief and trying to manage her husband’s estate while also taking care of her elderly mother-in-law and trying to support her two girls who had just lost their dad. She was beginning to think she didn’t have the funds to finish the remodel.

Home interior under construction

A view of the addition from the inside – 2018

Cathy decided she needed the opinion of a real estate professional and reached out to Dori Glass with the Six Degrees Team for a listing assessment. 

“I was really nervous for Dori to see the place, because we had been living in it so bare bones,” Cathy said. “Dori assured me that was okay, and when she came, she was honest and truthful about what could be done. In the end, she determined it would be too expensive for me to finish the project.”

With Dori’s help and encouragement, Cathy shifted her focus to preparing the house for sale. 

“Dori and her team helped me identify my priorities. If I was stuck, I felt like she was really there to help me through it. Honestly, I didn’t like some of it at times, but it was what I needed.”

The house had to be cleared out and that took Cathy and her daughters time to empty out 30+ years of stuff. Dori’s team took Andy’s dress clothes to Mary’s Place for donation. Dori would come in the evenings to help clean or stop by with lunch for Cathy and the girls.

Home Unfinished Interior

Another view of the addition from the inside – 2018

In the Spring of 2018 as Cathy was preparing to list her home, she was approached by a developer. After careful consideration and guidance from Dori, Cathy declined the developer’s offer and opted to go to market. While Cathy was on a trip to Hawaii with her daughter, Dori listed the house. Ultimately, it received 7 offers and sold $125,000 more than the developer offered her and $50,000 over list price.

“That sale helped me get into the place I’m in now. I love my house. I feel safe and secure here. I was overwhelmed and an emotional wreck when I met Dori, and she helped steer me through the process.”

“I hated leaving the community I loved, but I walked away from a whole bunch of stress. That house had memories and an emotional attachment but not with the shape it was in.”

Cathy’s resilience and perseverance pushed her over the finish line to sell the house and get into her new home that she still lives in today. A “fresh start” doesn’t stop grief or sadness in its tracks, but Cathy maintains such a bright, optimistic outlook in spite of her experience. 

“I tell people that my perspective on life has changed, and I try to not get too worried about the little stuff in life, because there are worse things that can happen. The worst thing happened to me. And I made it through, and I think I’m stronger. And I’ve learned a lot. I’d rather have my husband here with me physically, but he is with us…. we talk about him every day.”

“That first holiday in my new home, we hosted my husband’s family from British Columbia. It meant so much that we could honor my husband’s memory with all of us there.”

Many thanks to Cathy for sharing her story with us!

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