Weekend Wanderer: Becoming an Expert in Selling Real Estate
In the 1950s, Indy bought a property in Maryland.
Indy never built anything on the property. While the rest of the neighborhood is dotted with homes, Indy’s land is dotted with feral cats and listing trees.
Two years ago, Indy and Willie tasked me with selling the property, which we’ll call Westeros.
Because selling it has been an epic saga.
With fewer naked people than Game of Thrones.
And, like, two fewer murders.
Before I could list Westeros, I needed a PERC test.
I didn’t know what that meant until I spent a year with my entire life’s happiness hinging upon that PERC test. All I wanted was that PERC test. Not Timothy Olyphant. Not chocolate. Not Ted Lasso’s apartment in London. Just the PERC test.
PERC testing evaluates a property’s soil for its ability to support a septic tank.
And that is just about the sexiest thing I’ve ever said.
The first step in PERC testing is notifying the county. I don’t know why. The county doesn’t conduct the PERC test.
They just want to know about it.
I don’t know if the county drinks like Tyrion, but they sure like to know things like Tyrion.
The county supplies you, the daughter who was 20 years away from existing when Indy bought Westeros, a list of engineers. It is the engineers who conduct the PERC test.
The engineer I hired from that list planted —
Huh. I don’t know what he planted. Things? Yeah, things. That sounds right.
He planted things all over Westeros. If this really were Game of Thrones, the things he planted would have been rumors and assassins.
But it’s Maryland. So the things he planted did something with the soil and water table.
For almost a year.
See, PERC testing can only be completed during the wet season. And I — well, I had just missed the wet season.
So the engineer’s holes sat for that year. They sat until one brilliant day in spring the wet season arrived. It was time, the engineer said, to conduct the PERC test. It was time to hire a backhoe.
Is that — is that a thing people do? Hire backhoes?
What qualifications should a backhoe operator possess? Owning a backhoe is probably a good start. Or is it? Airline pilots don’t own the airplane. Is there a guide on hiring backhoe operators somewhere? Hiring Backhoes for Dummies?
It turns out the county has a list of backhoe operators. The same county with the list of engineers.
I don’t know why the county didn’t give me the list of backhoe operators when they gave me the list of engineers. Probably because the universe is a mean little weevil out to ruin my life.
Littlefinger. The universe is Littlefinger.
I hired the backhoe operator with the coolest name because, well, I had to start somewhere.
And it worked. Not only was his name cool, but he was also cool. Which I’d imagine you’d have to be if you drive a backhoe. I don’t think they give backhoes to uncool people. Like, Ramsay Bolton doesn’t have a backhoe.
But you know Jon Snow does.
So the engineer and the cool backhoe dude worked their alchemy and conducted my PERC test. I passed, which I think is good because the county allowed me to list the property.
The hard part was done.
Except not so much.
In five decades of marriage, Indy and Willie never put Willie on the deed to Westeros.
You know, the thing about Indy and Willie is their aversion to administrative tasks. Do you know they didn’t file the paperwork for my birth certificate until I was 28?
Which is to say I was the one who filed the paperwork for my birth certificate.
And I was the one who filed the paperwork to put Westeros in Willie’s name when Indy went to Marion’s bar in Nepal.
And just in the nick of time, too, because one of Indy’s Westeros neighbors wanted Westeros.
I mean, doesn’t everyone?
That was about the time I made a gruesome discovery.
Oh, wouldn’t it be great if it was a body? Or, like, a bloody ax? Ooh — or a diary with sordid confessions?
You’re funny. It was none of that because, you know, I have Willie. And Willie’s machinations are about as outrageous as any plot twist in Game of Thrones.
Willie hadn’t paid the taxes on Westeros.
In over seven months.
The county had the property on tax sale.
“Tax sale” joined PERC testing and hiring backhoe operators in the catalog of real estate knowledge I have acquired in my quest to sell Westeros. It’s exactly what it sounds like — a property set for sale by local government after failure to pay taxes.
Getting a property out of tax sale takes about four hours.
And two phone calls.
And three texts, $500, one cashier’s check, one trip to the post office, two glasses of wine, and 12 cookies.
Now the sale is pending, the deed transfer is pending, and I’m thinking I can see the end of this journey.
I am Daenerys, standing before the Iron Throne.
And look at what happened to her.
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