Wednesday, January 27, 2010


Selling my parents' Florida condo has been a long haul. It started with the pain of cleaning up the apartment after my mother died last June and my father moved to residential care. Then my sisters and I had to confront the agony of the Miami real estate market. The prospects for a quick sale appeared bleak. We weren't expecting miracles.

Our realtor, while realistic, was surprisingly enthusiastic. One reason—we were selling the unit furnished and she loved my parents' taste. She convinced us that buyers would feel the same way and that we should price the apartment accordingly. We decided it was worth a try. We could always lower the price if it didn't sell in a month or two.

All the while, maintenance costs had to be paid. During the next several months, we had exactly one nibble, which didn't pan out. We lowered the price. Still no interest. An air conditioner drain broke and water began leaking into the bathroom ceiling. When we had it repaired, the air conditioning serviceman warned us that the entire system was old and could fail at any time. By then, we'd lowered the price still further and were asking substantially below what my parents' paid for the condo less than two years earlier.

At its bargain-basement price, the apartment began to attract some interest and, finally, we received and accepted an offer. After what seemed an eternity but in fact was only about a month, we closed on the apartment yesterday. I'm happy that my father will actually receive some proceeds from the sale and relieved to have finally achieved closure on an unhappy chapter in my parents' life. While my mother always intended to repaint and re-carpet, her health never permitted her to undertake those projects. But with a little TLC and my parents' nice furniture, the condo could be a lovely home for the new owners.

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