By Carly van Aart, June 5, 2020
By Carly van Aart, June 5, 2020
Laura and her husband Bryan were dear friends who I’d met while helping them purchase their first Portland home a few years ago. They loved their cozy space and I loved spending late nights there with them getting crafty, overstuffing myself on his delicious grilled snacks and enjoying a well made cocktail. In late December I met Laura’s parents for the first time when my mom and I joined her family, visiting from Montana, to view the festival of a million lights. The display was stunning and her family was just wonderful and they mentioned that some day they would love to relocate to Portland and all live together in the Portland countryside. Flash forward just one day and we found ourselves enjoying a most wonderful tour of a property in the hills off highway 30. Even in the blustery winter storm the beauty of the land was undeniable, the fruit trees, gardens, pond and outdoor kitchen were exactly what they sought and the way in which the house and garages accommodated the various live and work needs of all four family members was amazing. Although the property practically dropped out of the sky and into our laps none of us had any idea how much would happen between it’s discovery and the moment that Laura, Bryan and her parents could finally call it their own.
Laura and crew were on a country drive and upon seeing a “for sale” sign on the main road they took a moment to detour slightly to see what it was all about. Although none of the balls that needed to be in motion in order for them to purchase had yet been put into play they contacted me about a taking a look. They could tell it was a special one. Seriously special. The property’s history was sordid when I researched online. The listing agent explained to me that it had nearly sold over the summer but the purchase had fallen apart due to an unremedied lawsuit with a neighbor who claimed to own a very small portion of the lot and the house had not been marketed since. A court date was set for late February to address and settle the dispute after which time it would again be back on the market. This was great news for Laura and Bryan as it meant they would have plenty of time to prepare and list their own St Johns bungalow and have a shot at purchasing this lovely new property while it was unknown to the greater public.
I’d not been feeling well during our initial tour and sure enough, just a couple of days later it was determined that I had an acute form of blood cancer and I was immediately admitted to the hospital where I stayed for the duration of January. Not the greatest timing for my sweet clients and their interesting dream house situation but I was full of faith knowing that my trusty partner, Sean, would take them to the finish. They signed listing documents for their cute St. John’s bungalow immediately and then tossed in an offer which was accepted in a bumpable format. Sean, Laura and the family worked furiously through January to have their existing house polished to perfection for listing the first week of February. Timing seemed to have been working out well until the Coronavirus came rushing into town.
The sale of their home was both quick and more profitable than anticipated however the trial date for the lawsuit on the new property was postponed…and then postponed again due to the global pandemic. Fortunately creative solutions were not hard to come by for this entirely cooperative buyer/seller combo. Both parties having found themselves in equally unfortunate situations, the sellers with a vacant property that they were barred from closing due to an egregious lawsuit and buyers without a roof below which to rest their heads during an impending viral outbreak, decided to take a large and unusual leap of faith and allow for Laura and Bryan to rent the property at a reduced rate until the lawsuit was complete. While I continued to spend my time between my bed at home and one in the hospital Laura and Bryan settled into their new rental/almost home of their own. As Murphy’s Law would provide the septic tank failed within weeks of move in and bugs had to be fumigated from a garage but these challenges only worked to bring buyers and sellers closer as they communicated directly and worked together to overcome the obstacles in their revised roles as tenant and landlord.
Although the sellers had given their graces to Laura and Bryan to make small improvements to the house to make it their own, confident that the sale would close eventually, they were chomping at the bit to begin remodeling in earnest. By May, the two parties had developed a bond and spoke almost daily. With the June trial date soon approaching but very much in question the purchase of the property on the hill took yet another interesting twist when the sellers and buyers agreed to seek an alternative approach to wrap things up officially regardless of the suit. Through attorneys they negotiated for the seller’s to carry the loan for the buyer until everything was settled and within days of closing the kitchen remodel had begun!