Tag Archives: selling a house

A Bit Untethered, but Happy and Excited

22 Apr

While living in the gloriously big house that Walter now doesn’t want to leave with my awesome, frequently jet-setting in-laws has been fantastic, it’s not easy for me to not have my home base. When I want to settle down or escape, I don’t really have anywhere to go that is mine, except maybe my car. I was even having difficulties living in the small room with our cat, who I am allergic to — long story –, until my brilliant husband suggested I take a Claritin, which thankfully worked. So at least I have that space too again.

The good news is, the finish line is within sight. We sold our house! It went under contract the first day of showings, and the buyers were great. I’m jealous of our old neighbors.

We also bought a house! I feel ridiculously lucky to have found the house we did. It’s a 1965 ranch-style that has previously had one owner, sitting on half an acre of gorgeous landscape.

IMG_20160414_171304306_HDRDay of closing: happiness.

It was very well-maintained, but dated. But that’s the best part! We get to do what we want with the space! No one else has done some costly, generic updating. Mostly it is painting the walls, changing light fixtures, and refinishing floors, but we also get to redo the kitchen from scratch!

IMG_20160418_162936242_HDRYep, that’s our kitchen. Walter thought it left the house on its own.

I already feel like it is my house, even more so than our old house, not just because I’m on the deed of this one, but because I picked it out knowing that I want to live here for the next 30+ years. We have only three weeks until the movers bring our stuff, but oh what needs to be done before then!

IMG_20160422_094949Our wonderful helper!

 

IMG_20160418_205801862_HDRWallpaper was clearly invented by the devil.

IMG_20160421_170823349I needed to paint by myself, and when I was ready to go, I found him like this!

It’ll be more than great to be home again, which is why we’re working round the clock to get things done. We have been blessed by the help of Dave’s dad, who has spent several days doing electrical work at our house and puts Walt to bed so we can go work in the evenings, and my mom who has kept Walt while we get stuff done. I worry about him. In the end it’ll have been a 3 month move, and moves are not easy. Sometimes he isn’t really clear about what’s going on, but he’s a trooper. I’m real proud of him.

Advertisements

The House

10 Apr

It’s like an episode of Love It or List It, and for now, we’ve decided to love it.

We took our house off the market and plan on doing some upgrades, mostly cosmetic like light fixtures and paint, some necessaries like a new roof, and then a really fun idea: possibly finishing out the gigantic attic.

The good houses in our neighborhood sell like hotcakes (for instance a house in our price range got multiple offers in 24 hours a couple weeks ago). For the life of me I will never understand why our house didn’t sell during the 7 months we had it listed in the last year, but that’s OK. We’re going to make it work to stay here and enjoy it and our neighborhood.

I already walk around with a new sense of joy in my surroundings.

Now, back to work so we can afford our mortgage.

Benjamin Franklin and I have a bath date

3 Feb

It’s a rare moment of calm in the house. The house is exceptionally clean since we just had another showing. My mom took Walter with her after a delicious lunch at Stone Soup Kitchen, since he was singing “Mimi’s house Mimi’s house Mimi’s house” all morning and destroying anything I had just cleaned. The dog is sufficiently walked. The cat is sleeping and not meowing. I have a cup of hot raspberry leaf tea, the Hozier album is playing, and I’m contemplating relaxing in a tub with Isaacson’s Benjamin Franklin. What an amazing person. Reading that book is opening my mind, and I’m so excited to learn more. Because of this book I’ve already put several more books on my Amazon wish list and a few free ones on my phone’s Kindle.

I just bought a St. Joseph statue off Amazon. Comes with a pre-packaged prayer, which I’m interested in reading. I asked my realtor to look into the tradition, and he sent me back a link about novenas. This is getting serious! I’m glad at least that we have a good relationship with our current realtor, both in buying our new house and selling this one. He’s the only one so far that has been able to work with me, to put it bluntly! But the statue is a good, fun break in the monotony and work that is involved in selling this house.

At a party recently a friend told me about how he and his wife sold their townhome in 8 days, and to be honest it made me incredibly jealous. Another friend said it took them a year, but they were able to move out anyway due to job opportunities that took them to another state. That still sounds like a better situation than living in constant readiness of a showing with a toddler, a dog who sheds like a maniac, and a cat who walks all over the counters devil-may-care. I’m managing to stay calm without too many breakdowns, but this morning I was ready to hail an Uber to send Walt to Nini’s.

Dave and I are taking a six week parenting class entitled Parenting the Love and Logic Way, and so far we’ve learned how to diffuse the situation for arguing and begging kids. That was great advice, but I need something to use on someone who isn’t logical yet. Smart as hell, but also quite emotional, demanding, adventurous, and charming. What a great kid!

IMG_20150125_175253041
He’s getting really tall already.

IMG_20150129_155908508~2
She plays with this thing almost as much as Walter… and usually while he’s sleeping. It isn’t quiet.

IMG_20150127_123407959_HDR
Wait, who’s the baby?

I should just go take a yoga class and remember to live in the moment. Because if I’m not mistaken, I’ve got it really, really lucky. Lots of love, laughter, shelter, food, and warmth in this life!

What I think of the Real Estate Market in East Atlanta

31 Jan

As my dad so elegantly puts it,

“Don’t tell me what ‘the market’ says. I tell you what the price is.”

And also

“Buying a house is easy. Selling a house is hard.”

And boy have I learned a lot about that in the last year. I thought moving would be easy, but it’s a racket if you aren’t rich or live in a posh neighborhood. And somehow we live right on the fringe of a posh neighborhood.

Our house is one of the most expensive on the block, because it is really nice, but so many of the houses immediately around us were foreclosed on and flipped right after Dave bought his house. Because David paid “full price” it is much harder to sell for as cheaply as the the competition, even though he’s the one who worked hard during the recession to not cut and run (or get forced out by the banks). He didn’t buy the house 20-30 years ago when the neighborhood was dirt cheap. We’ve been here seven years, and the money and sweat equity we put in to this house doesn’t seem to matter too much, at least yet. We’ve gotten lots of activity but no offers; however, it’s only been about six weeks and a lot of that time was over Christmas and New Years.

I believe that the way realtors get paid is detrimental to everyone who isn’t really rich or about to make a ton of money on a great purchase.

My husband and I don’t dislike our house by any means; this house is beautiful, and we enjoy keeping it up. But with our lifestyle it makes sense to move out to Marietta with the schools (and room to home-school) and land and sprawling split levels. I love in-town living, but I’m ready to move back out to the suburbs. I grew up there. David grew up in Ansley Park, moved to Chattanooga for boarding school, was a Marine in N.C., and then lived at our house. Longest place he’s ever lived. But now he’s terribly excited to move out of the Perimeter. I think one day I could even see myself living in a very rural location, but for now (and maybe forever), East Valley. It is an incredible house that I would love to live in.

I hope this transition is smooth. Current house needs new roof, floors refinished, a new light fixture for the foyer, a fence, and the master bath tile re-glazed and cabinets painted. A cool gray exterior would really make the decks pop! New house needs new flooring in lower levels, new back doors, insulation, garage spring safety cables, railing, shelving, light fixtures, fans, kitchen faucet, bathtubs, re-wallpapering the guest bath to truly bring out the tacky tile, all new appliances… the only part that is perfect is the outside, which is what I am dreaming of! And the extra space of course for my growing family. I think I see a baby kitten in our future… Petra better get ready!

 IMAG0554
Our stager wanted me to artfully place plants around the house. Petra, however, eats them.

Living in a staged house isn’t quite like Arrested Development, but close.

22 Jan

IMG_20150110_175909877

The house is certainly the prettiest it’s ever looked, but all my books are packed away and most of my crafts placed inconveniently in the back of the guest room closet. There are barely any personal photos to find around the house and the garage is about to burst with “extra” furniture.

I left my sewing machine out but I either have to use my knee or one of my hands to press the foot pedal since it’s on an end table (that used to be Dave’s craft table when he was Walt’s age). I wanted to make some place mats for us to use at the kitchen table (to tie the room together!), and I must say that my little ones were quite helpful.

IMG_20150116_110127196
Sensing that I needed to accomplish something…

IMG_20150116_110134512
…Petra pre-warmed my fabric. While there was a sewing needle in it.

IMG_20150116_110137784_HDR
And Walt tried out the pedal for himself.

But yeah, the place mats did turn out great, and I got some chuckles in the process!

The Dreaded Facebook Syndrome

7 Jan

facebook_like_thumb

Lately I think I’ve been bitten by the evil Facebook bug. The one that tells you that everyone else has it so easy (even when you know that’s not true). If I were telling this to my mother she would tell me that I was having a little pity party for myself, and that is true. But it doesn’t change the fact that sometimes it can be hard to look at the good tidbits of 150+ friends and then *gasp* compare them to my own life. And since I can barely handle my Facebook newsfeed, you can imagine the anxiety that The Daily Planet inspires in me. Evil is lurking around every corner these days, did you know that?

Dave and I have been trying to get pregnant again for the last 9 months. A lot of women have spoken up lately about how difficult it can be to be miscarry, and how they need to grieve. But what do you grieve when there never is a baby? How often are you allowed to feel grief? Every month? That gets exhausting and I don’t need to be depressed every single month. So then, is it only if you ever get pregnant and something goes wrong? Some months I don’t mind Aunt Flo but some months, the months that I have hope, that I think I am pregnant again, are the real killers.

Maybe every 9 months of negative tests and your monthly menses you can call that “the missing baby”.

I am so overjoyed when I see friends and family pregnant, but sometimes it feels like the universe is laughing at me. Over the last nine months I’ve had at least 30 friends either have a baby or announce a pregnancy. I know it’s just that time in my life when people are having babies, but sometimes I just want to say “Come on, really? Another one? What about me?”

And then the house. I’m sick of talking about selling our house and continuously working to improve it. To top it off, lots of friends have bought houses in the last year, and it seems to all work out for them so easily. They’re either renting when they buy, their condo sells in a weekend, or their jobs pay for their moves, and yet, for us, I don’t understand why we don’t have a hundred people on our front porch wanting to move in. Or at least one! Most real estate agents want to sell our house but not bring buyers by. They also want us to sell our house for so cheap that we’d be paying people (more) to take it off our hands, when the agents are the ones getting the easy profit. The economy isn’t that bad, folks. This is a great house. This shouldn’t be rocket science.

And to top it off, the thing I was spending most of my spare time on, being a deacon at our church, has turned into such a bad scenario for me, so draining and infuriating, that I no longer want to darken their doorstep. It would be difficult to go into detail and not write a novella, so let’s just say I tried being a very involved member and it’s just not working out anymore. I would say that I don’t even know what I believe anymore, but that’s not true. I think I know now better than I ever have before what I believe. And I love the people at our church dearly, but maybe Groucho Marx/Woody Allen are right: “I don’t want to belong to any club that will accept people like me as a member.”

I’m trying not to lose hope here. I know someday soon that all the cards will fall in to place and I’ll be the person with all the great, happy stories… full belly loading the moving van… but some days, hope is simply hiding under a large, too-heavy-to-move rock. And I cry.

Being able to write this down and share this brings me closer to the constant knowledge that I have it good. Real good. I am amazed by our clean, running water. That we give away cell phones for free. Quick, cheap, and safe vaccinations. Choice. Freedom. My little boy.

Maybe there’s a line in the middle of all this, the line that signals peace.

For Christmas

28 Dec

Truth be told I missed going to service at our church on Christmas Eve, but besides that this has been the best Christmas I’ve had in a long time, and they’re usually pretty good. For the last 11 years (of adulthood) I’ve either been in Europe celebrating Christmas or at home attending lots of family and friend gatherings (usually with out of town visitors too since so many people I met in various schools around Atlanta have inevitably moved out of town again but everyone always comes back in town over the holidays). I like to be social, but it is very hard to party all day every day and still get the work done that I usually need to, take full-time care of my child, and do all the extra Christmas stuff I like to do: make and send Christmas cards, get a unique gift for each person on my gift list, decorate, etc., and also take care of our house well enough to sell it! Don’t look now; it’s still trashed from the present extravaganza this week.

Our biggest wish for 2015: we are trying to move to the suburbs. My/our dream is happening! Space! Schools for Walt (if homeschooling doesn’t work)! A fenced in yard! Plenty of craft space (that one’s for me). Great garage for all of Dave’s tools. We just have to sell our house first, by March 7th. And we’d prefer to not lose a ton of money now that the economy is doing pretty well again. I think. I guess that depends on which news source you listen to.

I had fun this year making gifts for family. Mostly paintings and other framed work.

IMG_20141224_173509060
Dave’s family had this sign growing up in their cabin at Lake Rabun.
So I made a painting of it (the original is wooden) to give to his sister.

Georgia Johnstons
I love established signs, so I decided to make my own. I made copies for siblings with appropriate states (or in one case Germany), names, and dates.

IMG_20141225_184208545_HDR
My favorite! A garden of grandchildren hand prints for Nini!

IMG_20141110_104024399
This was another awesome painting I did for my newest nephew. I love it and plan on making more to sell on Etsy. When I open that Etsy shop I’ve been planning to do for the past year. Maybe 2015 will be my lucky year when everything on my to-do list gets done!

Today was the last day that family was in town, which is sad, especially since work starts back again tomorrow. I can’t say enough how much more I like David being around all week with me and Walter rather than at the office. It’s just been a joy to celebrate the holidays with the many people that I love.

Attempt #2 at selling our house: a little bit more reality

27 Dec

I made this beautiful flyer to sell our house. I thought we might try to sell by owner, but we found an agent with a marketing plan that I hope will accomplish all our goals. And now that Christmas is over, I’d really like to get this show on the road!

House FrontFINAL

 

House Back

My dad is right. He said, “It’s easy to buy a house. It’s hard to sell one.”

The Zillow link to our listing.

I would like to think we’ve learned a little bit about humility from the first time we listed our house (for what we think it is worth based upon the money and labor we’ve invested into the property), but it is always about the elusive “market”. We’ve improved our house (even more), lowered the price, and are very interested in selling because we have a house under contract in Marietta, GA. It will be quite a big change to go from city living to the suburbs, but we are ready for it. Our house in the city is beautiful and located in one of the best neighborhoods you can hope to live in. It is also an interesting neighborhood. One that I will miss. Every day we stay here our roots grow deeper, but I’m anxious to put roots down where I see us living until we grow old.

So if you know anyone looking for a great 3/2.5 in Ormewood Park…

A thoughtful little moment in my life.

16 Dec

I was driving home from my favorite church meeting of the year last night and thinking about how lately I’ve been all “I’ll be happy when this happens” or “Once that gets done I can be happy,” and that’s just not a good way to live. It is putting qualifications on my general enjoyment of life. And while lately it has been very stressful no matter what mood I’m in, I simply need to be happy in the present. I can’t say “Oh if our house sells everything will be OK” or “If I can just get pregnant again I won’t have to worry about that anymore.”

Christmas is just one more time of year that reminds me of what I have to be thankful for. A beautiful, healthy boy. A nice roof over my head. A lovely husband to share my mealtimes and accomplishments and sorrows with. Clean, running water. Lots of friends. The ability to dress as I want and study what I please. An annoying yet cuddly kitten. I could go on and on.

Our church’s Joint Session meeting is always in December, and the deacons and elders meet for supper and sharing of our faith stories. It is an introduction as well as a deepening of understanding among some of our fellow members. Two years ago I shared my story for the first time, and as I had looked around the table there were many I didn’t know. Last night there were so many familiar faces, it was wonderful to know what being a part of something can do to integrate you into a system. I could have stayed on the outside looking in, but being in the mix is much more exhilarating. I believe I’ve made friends for life through this church, no matter where I might fly off to.

For those of you who know me well, you might know that I am a skeptical yet trusting person. Those things might be contradictory, but hey, life is full of the unexpected. When I was a kid I was enamored by the phrase “Expect the Unexpected” (frequently bombarding my family with the acronym ETU). I don’t know what life will bring, whether it be glorious and glittering, or if I will be able to make lemonade with the lemons, but I hope I continue to be both trusting and skeptical. I think my skepticism keeps me on my toes, and I can also use my trusting nature (some might call it naiveté) to make sure I don’t drown in the negativity that is so easy to wallow in.

lemonade

The Magical House Fairy

30 Jul

We pretty much stumbled onto the idea of selling our house. We’ve been happy at our house for the last 6 1/2 years, but earlier this year I saw a house online, and it started this whole chaos. We prepped and prepped and prepped, and now it’s been on the market almost 6 weeks. The first month we had two visitors, one with an appointment and one at the open house we had the first weekend. The way houses of our quality have been selling in our neighborhood this year, I thought we’d be busy and sell in the first couple weeks.

That just wasn’t the case. At least it hasn’t been a hassle to have it listed. I suppose it would be worse to get lots of traffic and no offers. But my excitement at moving out of the city has been slowly dwindling.

Until this weekend. I wished on the magic birthday house fairy, and it turns out, she is real.

house fairy

We had six people come by this weekend, three with agents. Maybe people are simply back in town after the summer holidays, but I have hope again!

We did have some excitement re: the house a couple weeks ago. A very nice millionaire from China contacted us through an agent from Keller Williams, offering us 90% of our asking price in all cash. On the extreme off chance that it was real, we countered back. Never heard from them again. I guess I shouldn’t be surprised that there are scammers in every industry. None of us, including our agent, knew what the end-game was, until Dave did some Google research. The way these people work is they get a contract on a house, then *oops* send a check for way too much earnest money and ask for the real estate broker to send them a check for the overage, hoping this all clears before their check bounces.

Crazy.

I suppose the only thing to do at this point is to continue to wait and see if any of our showings result in some good news. That or bury a St. Joseph statue near our mailbox and really get this show on the road.