March 11, 2015

My Word "Move" Becomes Literal

houses.com

One of the decisions that Betty and I have been struggling with over the past year involves moving...not just in the sense that "move" is the word I want to focus on for 2015, but literally moving to another house.

We have lived in the same area for thirty years. Our daughters went from kindergarten through college while living in three different houses, all within a few miles of each other. 

We have been in our current home for fourteen years. Just about half the size of the house we occupied when both girls were high school and college age, it has served us well. Betty has done her usual amazing job of taking an older, smaller house and turned it into our home. The backyard has been transformed from a huge space with nothing but grass into an inviting oasis, with outside dining areas, a fire pit, and enough shade and seats to make it everyone's favorite part of the property.

Our church and friends are close, our doctors within walking distance, and shopping and hospitals are 5-10 minute drives. A tremendous neighborhood park is a 12 minute walk. The highlight of Bailey's day is chasing gophers that scamper everywhere in the park.

Unfortunately, it is a two story house, which as our knees age will become a problem. At times we creak up and down the stairs now; I don't want to wait until one of us can't make the trip without several aspirins. The large yard is a joy, but more work than I am willing to continue to support too much farther into the future. Our daughters and grandkids live between 25 and 45 minutes away. The frequent drives to see them are becoming more of a trek than either Betty or I want.

So, after much agonizing, we have put the house on the market. It has been repainted. The title and grout have been cleaned and sealed. The cabinets have been scrubbed and stained. We generated enough trash and junk to partially fill a rather large junk truck. The insides have been cleaned so thoroughly that the cleaning people have little to do. The timing turned out to be not the best: the same day the house went on the market was the day my father died. But, we pulled ourselves together and told the real estate agent to proceed.

Spare moments, not spent watching our daughter's new puppy, are spent looking at house listings on the Internet and driving around town with our agent. There are a few areas we like that are much closer to our kids.

Because we don't have to move right now, we have set an aggressive schedule for this house to sell. If we don't have a firm contract by the end of next month, we will pull the house off the market until early fall. Our plans to be away this summer are so locked in that cancelling or changing them would become a tremendous nightmare. Having the house sell anytime after April 30th would not allow enough time for all that happens when a house is sold and another bought before we leave for the summer.

The best scenario is we sell quickly, find a new home we like, buy it, and have everything completed before mid June. If that happens our daughters and son-in-law have offered to unpack and set up our new home so when we get back in early September almost everything will be done. Since we have helped each of them move a half dozen times, this is the perfect payback.

If the house doesn't sell within our time frame, we have a very clean, nicely freshened home ready to re-list when the time is right. We will have no regrets about staying and second-guessing about trying. We will move, when the timing is right. 








26 comments:

  1. I am sorry for your father's passing, but hope that his departure has reconfirmed that there is no time like the present for being active around the younger parts of your family. We don't regret our choice to move closer to our children either.
    My prayers are with you as you say good bye to your dad.

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    1. Thank you, Janette. I am still waking up each morning with thoughts of him. Betty and I spent last night removing everything of importance from his apartment. In a few days I will turn in his keys and that phase of my life will come to an end.

      Moving and interacting with the rest of the family more frequently is a pleasant thought, especially now.

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  2. Bob, even with the recent passing of your dad, I believe things will fall into place for you, Betty, and your family. It seems that when we lean on our faith, the good Lord takes over and orchestrates life for us. I'm really excited to read about how the details play out in the weeks ahead. Blessings on you and yours!

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    1. I like a neat and orderly home and having a home on the market guarantees that. Betty even has me hiding away the toaster each morning to keep the kitchen looking cleaner.

      The nice thing about this potential move is we don't have to sell and we don't have to move right now. So, a lot of the pressure is gone.

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  3. Sounds like you and Betty are in a great position - sell if the timing and offer are right, or easily stay put if they are not. Sounds like your home would be desirable to many in that market, so even if the window is too short to sell it this time around, it should go fairly easily when you have enough time to accommodate a decent amount of lookers. Best of luck.

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    1. Feedback from agents is that the house shows very well and is quite attractive. The backyard is a big draw, the tiny kitchen not so much. So, we make everything look as nice as possible and don't worry about what we can't change.

      You are right: traffic eventually equals a buyer. Our home is a bit different from most Phoenix/Scottsdale area houses - we have a front porch and the house isn't covered in stucco. Bu, someone will fall in love with the woodwork, the charm, and the warmth that has kept us quite content for 14 years.

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  4. Maybe the threat of interest rates going up by mid 2015 will prompt some potential home buyers to get in gear. Best wishes!

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    1. Rates are quite attractive right now.

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  5. Well, from what I hear on the grapevine, there is a NEED for "For sale" homes in the Phoenix area!! Yours is so well cared for and attractive,I bet it sells VERY quickly!! TWO friends of mine here in Pine are moving back to Scottsdale/Gilbert and BOTH of them took longer to find homes than they thought-- there are multiple bids on houses right now !! One of them is going to Eastmark, a planned community out in Gilbert area.. one to Scottsdale,an older fixer upper. JUST the right thing will happen for you two..and I am sending prayers and good thoughts that loving thoughts of your Dad replace the grieving., in time..

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    1. It is interesting. The houses we have looked at so far either get snapped up quickly or are on the market for 100, 200, even 300 days.

      We will see with our smaller, somewhat unique, clean and cute home.

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  6. I think you're doing exactly the right thing for all the right reasons. I'm sending positive thoughts for a quick sale and peace of mind for both of you.

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    1. Thanks you, Linda. I'd love for this to wrap up in the next 6 weeks and not have to re-do everything in September.

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  7. This seems like the perfect scenario. I'm sure it is easier, now that you don't have to worry about your dad. Being almost 2hrs away is a lot more difficult for Dave, but sadly I don't think dad has a good sense of time. I hope everything falls into place for you guys. You've earned it!
    b

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    1. If I had my druthers and no relationships I would move to either Maui or the beach at San Diego. But, family is here so this is my respite.

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  8. We sold our smaller home last year and downsized to a condo, which we love and works so well with our RV lifestyle. When the sale sign went up 3 days later it was sold and we had to be out in 30 days, so lot of change and emotion became very real (something to pay attention for). Downsizing/getting rid of so much "stuff", although some things filled history/sentimental, has been so freeing for us. We learned our kids were not interested in the passing on of some items and we just had to accept that.

    We are still close enough for our church and daughter and family, yet the comfort of knowing we have a place as we age/stop RVing is very reassuring. We do miss some of the flower/garden stuff, but are finding ways to support that. We leave in 6 weeks for summer workamp jobs at a state park in SD 6 hours away and don't have to worry about all the house issues, again very reassuring.

    Knowing your strong faith, you will be find with God's support and love.
    Peace and blessings,

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    1. Our original thought was a condo/townhome for all the reasons you cite. But, the more we looked the more we just felt a condo wasn't going to satisfy our need for a little land and the ability to decorate inside and out like we want to

      Also, I have never lived under the thumb of an HOA and wasn't sure I could tolerate some of the restrictions those quasi-governments can impose.

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  9. After almost three years in a patio home, we are moving back to our old house. Now glad we didn't sell, but the market was way down at the time anyway.

    The patio home was nice, but not so the HOA -- some small minded people with big egos and little common sense. So I applaud your decision.

    Like you, we're looking forward to a yard again, as well as the privacy and independence. The house is a single story, so stairs are not an issue. But if it were two stories, we'd do the same as you. .

    Best wishes! Your place looks very nice - you should do well.



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    1. The idea behind an HOA is a good one. But, in Arizona HOAs have way too much unbridled power over a very expensive purchase. Some of the homes we are looking at are in an HOA (hard to avoid in most of Phoenix) but with low monthly fees. That tells me they aren't terribly active and bothersome.

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  10. The first part sounded so great I wondered how you could live. The second part - yeah, not so good. My children live 30-45 mins away from me for the first time and I do not like the trek. The stairs can be a problem but a friend of mine just installed an electric stair seat. It was very expensive but was cheaper than the move and a new house. I'll be reading to see how this all works out.

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    1. If the house doesn't sell this time we are quite happy to stay where we are until we try again in the fall. It is nice to be in a position of not having to sell.

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  11. Me too, sorry to hear about your dad. I remember a similar phone call very vividly, even though it occurred 13 years ago. You've got a lot of changes going on in your life. Hope all goes smoothly with the house and the move.

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    1. The death of a parent and move = two of the biggest stressors in life. Betty and I are making a conscious effort to keep any additional hassles to a minimum.

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  12. You are right to be leery of buying into a powerful HOA situation. We lived in one for 20 years. Now we are in a neighborhood where the HOA has a very low fee ($30 per year), only a few general and sensible rules, and primarily hosts a few social events. The change has been a very good one for us. Good luck with your move.

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    1. There are a few housing arrangements we have looked at with an HOA charge of $1,800 a year. That is enough money and power to cause some serious mischief.

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  13. It sounds like you have done all the planning and strategizing that you needed to do before putting up the "for sale" sign. It is hard to move, but having a one-floor house can be a real blessing. It has been for me. Good luck.

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  14. A brave decision that too many people put off for too long. I hope the house sells easily so that you can find another you feel you can call "home."

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