Just over a month ago, we decided to put our house on the market. My husband and I had been tossing around the idea of moving back to the area where we grew up, which is only approximately 40 minutes from here. Of course, Los Altos is a great place to live and there is much to offer, but we are feeling like we need a little more breathing room.
I will miss the shops in town where the owners are hardworking people who truly care about their customers, regardless of the contents of their wallets – shops like Present on Main Street and Cranberry Scoop on State Street. I will miss the family-run restaurants where the owners are there to show appreciation to their patrons, many of whom they know by name. And I don’t know who I will trust to work on my car like I trust Jeff and Eric at Reitmeir’s on First Street.
Back to the sale of our house: Within three weeks, we prepared to list it by completing work we had been meaning to do for years. It took some effort and help from our real estate team (Kathy Bridgman and Linda Smith), good contractors and a lot of patience, but now our house feels fresh and we are enjoying the updates. Why didn’t we do this years ago when we could have enjoyed it for more than a few weeks?
Shortly after buying our house, we gutted the public area and created an open plan with a beautiful kitchen, but we never finished the rest of the house. The thought of shopping around and choosing finishes, doors, paint color, etc., was daunting after a big remodel. We had also considered reconfiguring the entryway and adding square footage to the back of the house, but we never felt settled enough to follow through. We kept thinking we would wait to do any work until we knew exactly what we wanted to do for fear of making a costly mistake that would be permanent.
And then one day, about a month ago, it hit us. We were trying to figure out a way to piece something together that in the end simply didn’t suit our needs. Not only that, we had nothing tethering us to Los Altos. My husband’s office is in the city and we have no relatives here. That’s when the three-week transformation began.
I have had numerous conversations with people who are in the same situation: Do we remodel, rebuild, look for another home or move out of the area? My advice would be to refresh your house by getting it ready to go on the market. Clear out things you don’t need or want and recycle or freecycle as much as you can. Make a list of things to do and contractors to call and then go for it. Pretend you have one month to get it done. You’ll be surprised by how quickly new flooring or windows can be ordered and installed if you just ask. You don’t have to put your house on the market, but if you do, it will be ready. There is no reason to wait and go through all of the hassle and inconvenience just to let new owners enjoy your hard work.
I have loved our house and Los Altos, and they have both served their purpose. Our family has enjoyed a safe community and the ties that a small town can provide. Our friendships are strong and everlasting. Our new home will be in a similar setting to Los Altos, but with a bit more room to spread our wings. And we’ll hear the words, “Go Bears!” a little more often. I like that.
Thank you for reading my column and thank you to those who have written to me with kind words that make my day. The Rockey Road has always been a bit less rocky because of the love we feel from our very good friends. You know who you are.