Clear Signs that the Woman Who Sold You a House is Crazy…or a Genius

This post is about helping a friend get her new place ready to move in.

No, wait, it’s about moving out the previous owner so the friend can move in.

This post is about patience.

Usually, after a buyer closes (takes ownership, gets the keys, the address is hers, she owns a mortgage—you get the idea) on a home, she gets to move in. This is what one of my BFFs (Tara) thought. It’s what we all thought when we made plans to help her strip 1980s wallpaper and paint. Painting Party!

Was Rome built in a day?

Did I write my masters thesis in a semester?

Can you harvest carrots a month after planting seeds?

Can you pack up and move out an entire house and two-car garage in less than a day?

No is the answer to all those questions. A big fat NO.

Last Friday, I brought lunch to Tara and my hubby and another friend who were supposed to be hard at work preparing the rooms for the painting party on Saturday.

The looks on their faces said something was going down (and I don’t mean the popcorn texture of the ceiling that was all over the floor). The stuff Tara was taking out of the linen cabinets and packing made me think I was in rewind mode. Why was she packing stuff into boxes? Someone had pushed a rewind button—it was the only explanation…

Then I noticed the strangers in the master bedroom. They were also packing……….


Had the previous owner made an agreement at closing to have a few more days to pack?


This woman also managed to pack her purse (that’s another story), so she didn’t have any money to buy more boxes or get a hotel or…

Buy a brain? (Did I say that out loud?)

Sheesh. She was squatting. The place wasn’t that big, but the entire living room floor was covered in her junk. The two-car garage was filled with stuff and boxes waist high.

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Photo courtesy of Tara

Wow. Just wow.

“Thank you so much for helping me,” she said to my husband and our friend.


They weren’t doing it for you, honey.

Tara gave me a tour of her cute new home. Really, I had to look beyond the 1980s-dated décor, but still super cute, just like Tara (who is, by the way, one of the most patient and generous people I’ve ever met).

“Here’s the powder room with the gaudy red ceiling that has to go.” Tara flipped on the light. I think she did, but the light was so dim it was hard to tell. “Oh, she took the light bulbs. There were bigger, brighter bulbs in here earlier.”

Really? The light bulbs?

The bulbs must have held some very sentimental value to her, because they were packed.

Either this woman was clueless about her behavior, or she’s more clever than we gave her credit for. Maybe it was her master plan to wait until there were people who would pack for her so they could get her out of the way. It’s not easy to strip wallpaper and sand ceilings with strangers and stuff under foot.

She had no one to help her, except her useless, unshowered boyfriend who thought the guys were just hired workers and was shocked that they would do all this work for a friend.

Corrections: The woman really had no one to help her. Also, Tara is family.

Perhaps she knew Tara and I would buy her packing boxes because she didn’t have any money (even if she could find her purse that was hiding in a box somewhere in the moving truck—or in plain sight…).

As procrastination goes, this was the epitome of procrastination, a supreme case of total lack of planning, an estimation of work that went horribly wrong, a case of not knowing the rules of engagement.

OR, it was the ultimate devious plan to get assistance. (“Gee, Brain, what do you want to do tonight?” ~Pinky)

Either way, Tara had to serve her with a notice of eviction to be out in three days or the sheriff would take care of the rest.

I’m glad it didn’t come to that.

How long it takes two people (OK, one and a half people) to empty a garage?

Three. Exactly three licks. Oh, wait, that’s a Tootsie Pop. 😀

It takes a few days, not a few hours. Don’t wait until after the closing date to start packing. That was one of the many life lessons we learned that weekend. That’ll have to wait for another post. Yep, lessons learned and blue phones that match the tile grout…Stay tuned.

Your turn to share! Have you ever had an unbelievable experience with moving or renovating? Maybe it was a lesson in generosity, patience, and tough love?

24 comments on… “Clear Signs that the Woman Who Sold You a House is Crazy…or a Genius”

  1. What a nightmare. The worse I experienced is helping move my grandparents out of their house that they had owned forever. Spent way too much time packing boxes and too little time loading the truck. It was horrible and equally forever.

  2. I thought my home-buying/moving story was bad, but nope. Tara wins, hands-down. What a nightmare! To arrive at your new house, ready to start fixing it up and making it your own, and find the previous owner wandering around saying, “Um, I haven’t finished packing yet …” I have to tell you that y’all were a lot nicer than I would have been. 😉

    My horror story (which I only thought was bad til now!) occurred when we bought a house from the biggest jerk on the planet. He threw a fit when the appraiser said the house was priced too high and fought us on our offer, he threw another fit when the inspection revealed the HVAC unit for the second story would have to be replaced pronto, and then demanded we give him 45 days after closing to vacate since he was building a new house and wasn’t sure it would be completed on time. Like idiots, we agreed to it. Turns out his new house was completed before closing, but he was so ticked at having to come down on the selling price and replace the HVAC that he refused to hand the keys over. No, Mr. Arrogance planned to hang onto them for the entire 45 days. Luckily, we’d sold our other house to our next door neighbors who were really sweet and understanding about the whole thing. Finally, after driving by numerous times and seeing our new house just sitting there empty, my husband and our realtor found a clause in our contract that said while he had 45 days to vacate, after 30 days he would owe us $100 per day “rent” until he vacated. We had the keys the next day, although we never got the $300 he owed us in rent. We later found out he’d made his own realtor cut her commission to cover what he had to pay to replace the HVAC. But while it was a nightmare, it was nothing like Tara’s!

    • Diana Beebe

      I dunno, Juli, your story is pretty crazy. That guy must have been going through some serious issues to treat everyone like that. Thanks for sharing it.

  3. Oh my stars! I’m furious for Tara and I’ve never met her. I would not have been so nice, your friend certainly is the queen of patience. Wow! Just wow! That takes some huge cajones to be that lame. I’m glad she’s out and I really hope Tara changed all the locks. You just never know when she might turn up again and erroneously believe the bedroom is still hers.

    • Diana Beebe

      Yes, the locks will be changed and the window they used to get it when they didn’t have a key will be fixed (it’s secure for now). Crazy, huh? It’s a good thing she’s moved out of state.

      Tara is amazing. I learn so much from her about being kind and not putting up with unprincipled behavior at the same time.

  4. Holy freaking cow. Nothing that has happened to me could compare. I’ve lived in some dives when we were in college, but wow. Just wow. I’d have called the cops. Wow.

  5. Diana, I LOVE this snarky, sarcastic side of you (I really do, it’s endearing)! Can we say together…”Meow”? (smiles). Tara has the patience of Job, that squatter’s behavior is just every kind of wrong. BTW, your hubby is one awesome guy (not a newsflash, yes I know) and I’m sure glad you found each other and we’re family!

  6. Wow, that’s the craziest moving story I’ve ever heard! I agree with everyone here – you guys were all super nice and patient, and your friend deserves a medal. 🙂

    My parents bought a house in Ohio a few years back, and I traveled back to Connecticut to help them clear out their old house and get it ready to go on the market…just before the economy crashed. So they weren’t able to sell the house and instead have two houses, and now, several years later, you can’t even tell the one house was ever emptied because they’ve replaced everything times ten. I’m just waiting for the day when I have to help clear it out again…ah, well.

    • Diana Beebe

      Moving years of accumulation is not an easy task. I can’t imagine doing that for two houses. Yikes! The housing crash caught a lot of people in your parents situation. Things seem to be moving in the right direction now. Good luck with future packing!

  7. Hi everyone – it’s Tara! Diana describes the day and the day after and the day after…(you get the idea) perfectly – and with a twist of ironic humor that we all had to maintain so the audacity of it all wouldn’t bring us down. What an unbelievable experience!

    Thanks for sharing your stories of equal amazement – especially the one about having to wait 45 days! And thanks for your kind thoughts 🙂 I think I learned that, dealing with someone like this woman, I could have gotten hopping mad, but what good would it have done? None – but make me look like a fool right along with the seller. Instead, she needed support and help – still does, I must say! But my part of giving that to her is complete.

    Throughout that first day, Diana and I kept looking at each other, saying, “That’s going on the blog!” So stay tuned for more revelations!

  8. Can I also say how grateful I am for Diana and family??? They are absolutely amazing. Diana, Hubby, Mockingbird, and Armadillo have all held screwdrivers, scrapers, moved ladders, slept on drop cloths late into the night as others kept working… Talk about learning lessons on generosity and kindness. They live these qualities every day. Thank you, thank you, thank you!!!

    • Diana Beebe

      Tara, you know we love you, and you would do the same for us.

      You’re welcome, you’re welcome, you’re welcome!!!

  9. Ugh! That’s one crazy move-in story. One for the books. Thank goodness Tara got her out. We’ve never had to deal like that, but I’ve heard of one someone similar. I am always taken by surprise when I hear things like it. I can’t imagine putting other people through that. I guess it takes all kinds. Too bad they don’t provide write ups on the owners when you’re looking to buy so you know what your potential escrow may be like. ;D

  10. Pingback: The Previous Owner Must Be Crazy — Part 2 | Diana Beebe's Blog

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