Monthly Archives: May 2017

We got an offer on the house!

It’s official: We got an offer on the house last night — May 28.

This sale was not without drama. Stepping out and looking at the situation objectively, we went into the situation wearing rose-colored glasses. Both financially and to meet our travel plans, we needed an immediate sale. Since the Seattle housing market is so hot, I believed we would get that immediate sale, and so I didn’t really make a Plan B.

Last week, after missing our May 20 departure date and as we approached one month on the market, our realtor pushed to drop the price. This annoyed me for several reasons, not the least of which was that we had gotten ZERO push-back on the price of the house. The push-back was about distance from town, not price, something we couldn’t fix.

Jay and I talked, and we talked about what would happen if the house didn’t sell. What finally sunk in was that by doing this huge remodel, we had thrown ourselves from having a mortgage and no other debt to being BURIED in debt. If we didn’t sell SOON we would have to move back in. Could we afford it? Yes, but it would take all of our monthly income just to cover the debt and expenses — with nothing left for unexpected things, and that’s not a comfortable way to live.

The problem was lowering the price would eat the profit we were counting on — so much so that even going to Mexico was at risk. Basically, we were looking at drowning in debt or being broke. Not a great choice.

We lowered the price.

I wasn’t happy. This wasn’t what I had planned. I wasn’t trying to bankrupt my family. I didn’t want to give up our home and get nothing for it.

“Let’s pull it off the market,” I told Jay. “I want to go home. We’ll try again in a few years when we have more equity and have paid down some of the debt.”

He agreed. But it was Sunday evening, and we didn’t want to both our realtor at home. “Call him in the morning.”

We didn’t get a chance. That was yesterday, and last night he called us with an offer. Jay crunched the numbers. We could make it to Mexico. We would be close to broke, but debt-free, and we would be in a country where we could probably bank a lot of savings.

We accepted the offer. If all goes well, the house closes on June 28, and we leave for Mexico on July 28.

It’s… bittersweet. After deciding to go home, I was sorry to get the offer. (I know that sounds weird.) The excitement has gone out of the plan, at least for now. But Mexico will enable us to rebuild our safety net, and “debt-free” is very enticing.

There’s much to do, but I’m pretty sure we just overcame the biggest hurdle standing between us and our life of travel.

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So what’s next?

What’s next? Excellent question! I wish I had an equally excellent answer.

We are going to travel — that’s a given — and we know our first stop is San Miguel de Allende, Mexico. What we don’t know is when we get to leave. Because of some… particulars… about finalizing our temporary residence visa in Mexico (and a need to return to the US at the end of July), we either leave by May 19th or we cannot leave until Aug. 1. Whether we leave now or then depends on when the house sells. We need, at bare minimum, a strong offer by next Thursday, May 11, or we officially set the move date for August.

In the meantime, we’re moving forward like we’re leaving on May 19. That means we’re working hard to get rid of nearly everything we own. Initially I’d envisioned having a giant yard sale, but that was ultimately impractical because:

  • We don’t have tables to display everything in the yard, and renting tables would cost more than we’d make in the sale.
  • The house is too small to display things, particularly since the things we can’t get rid of until last minute would be front and center.
  • We can’t guarantee a sunny day for a sale, which means even if we got things into the yard, we couldn’t guarantee they could stay there.

I nixxed selling more than a few things online. That’s a LOT of work, and it means strangers coming by the house constantly — or constant trips out somewhere to meet strangers. No. In the end we decided to share some things with friends, and then to donate the rest. Honestly, after selling the house, the tax write-off would likely be more beneficial than the ready cash anyway.

I’d hoped to find a charity who would come in and pick up everything. There are plenty of those out there, but apparently only one — Habitat for Humanity — does pickups wayyyy out here in the boondocks. The downside is that they don’t accept everything. The upside is that they’re willing to make more than one trip.

Our final plan:

  • Go through everything in the house. Divide into donate, keep, give away, and throw away piles.
  • The donate pile we have to further divide into what Habitat will and won’t accept.
  • We’re gradually dropping off things Habitat won’t accept at places that will, and we’re meeting up with various friends to give them the things they want.
  • We recognize that we want to hold on to more than we can realistically take. So we’ve given ourselves permission to be lenient in the first cut, and then when we have the trailer, we’ll make another cut. Our hope is that we won’t have to store anything.
  • On the very last morning, we’re going to hire some guys with a truck to come get the last of everything. They’ll likely have two stops to make — one last donation drop and a final trip to the dump.

We’re not getting rid of anything we’re using yet, since we haven’t decided exactly when we’re leaving. (Although, to be completely honest, I’ve given some things away to friends that I’ve needed. I’ll probably need those things in Mexico too, but I should be able to replace them down there.)

I’m rather overwhelmed at the prospect of leaving in less than two weeks, but at the same time, I’m very, very excited and more than ready to start our traveling adventure. I really hope an offer comes in!

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