Moving

We drove away from our home for the last time on Wednesday night. I had lived there for over 11 years (five for Honey), so the tears flowed easily for both of us. It didn’t help matters that we were both dog-tired from having emptied the house and garage in just over 24 hours.

When I listed the house earlier this spring, I specifically requested 30 days from closing to get our belongings moved out. When our buyer made an offer and my realtor faxed the paperwork for me to sign, I didn’t read the fine print. Particularly, the part that said something about “immediate possession unless otherwise noted.” My realtor apparently didn’t read it either, because he was completely flabbergasted when I called him in hysterics Tuesday afternoon to tell him that the buyer had given us three days to get everything out. Long story short, we rallied the troops, worked our tails off, and I learned a valuable lesson about trusting someone else to manage the details.

Moving our furnishings into the new place has added a sense of familiarity and comfort, but I will admit to still feeling some regret about leaving the little house where Honey and I met for the first time, where I grew to love Mrs. J, and where I felt completely safe. Then I remember that despite all the wonderful memories that I have of the place, there are also many horrible ones that I would like to forget. Well, maybe not forget, but at least leave them in the past where they belong.

This new house is a fresh start; an opportunity for us to begin anew on this journey we call “life.” I’m just thankful that no matter where I lay my head at night, I can rest in the knowledge that the love we have for one another can make any house a home.

Seller’s remorse

Although I love our new home, I have been experiencing an emotion that I didn’t really know existed – seller’s remorse. We spent several years getting our previous home like we wanted it, so it is easy to look around at everything that needs to be done to the new one and wonder if moving was a mistake. I also feel some regret over leaving Mrs. J, even though she’s only five minutes away.

Turns out these feelings are fairly common, especially when parting with large items like houses and automobiles. A search engine provided me with some insight into what I’ve been feeling and what the repercussions of backing out of a sale might be. Here’s part of an article by Julie Garton-Good:

Before you make that “I’ve changed my mind” phone call and hear the screaming on the other end of the line, understand your legal obligations and penalties under the purchase agreement. Decide if you’re prepared to handle the worst case scenario and evaluate what you’ll be giving up if you do back out.

First of all, understand that getting cold feet is normal for both sellers and buyers. Usually this malady hits buyers first, in part because they’re writing the check for the earnest money deposit, applying for the loan–things that deal directly with parting with money.

Sellers, on the other hand, usually have a major case of cold feet when they start to make arrangements for moving or when they start to pack things up. And, unfortunately, this is often late in the transaction, causing the buyer’s response to be anything but understanding. That’s why it’s very important to know what recourse the buyer could have against you if you don’t complete the sale.

After listing all of the legal and financial obligations that a remorseful seller might encounter if they cave into their feelings, Julie concludes her informative article with some direct advice:

If nothing else, this should be enough to convince you to complete the sale and move on with your life.

Point taken.

Heaven on Earth

We have been working out at the new house almost daily since we closed over a week ago. It is exhausting work, but the results are typically immediate and satisfying.

The weather has been mostly gorgeous over the past week, so it isn’t hard to get lost in the environment while toiling in the yard. I’ve discovered countless types of trees, shrubs, and flowers – left here by the elderly folks who passed on. When I see a familiar plant peeking up out of the soil, I find myself saying, “Thanks, Bessie!” and feeling like somewhere in the universe she must be feeling my gratitude.

It almost feels to good to be true as I look around and tell myself that these are now my trees, my shrubs, my flowers. I am so blessed to call these 4.6 acres of rolling hills and nature home.

Here’s a photo of the old barn that sits on the property. Honey thinks it’s an eye-sore, but I find it both beautiful and charming.

barn1

Real estate update

stjosephkitWe are closing on the new house today, and I’m feeling a mixture of excitement and trepidation. Things would be much less stressful if we didn’t still own our current home – which we finally got around to listing on the market last week. I’ve lived here for just over 11 years (five years for Honey), so even typing that feels really strange.

This is the first time I have ever tried to sell a home, and I’m expecting the unexpected. I really, really hope that it is a fast and painless experience, but given the current market, I am worried that we might have to sit on it a while. Making the payments on both homes shouldn’t be too much of a problem, but our plan is to use the equity that we have built up in the current home to make improvements to the new one. Things like a new roof, new appliances, and new central HVAC unit. At least paint is inexpensive.

My friend, Ruth, suggested that I purchase a St. Joseph Real Estate kit. She swears by them, so I hurried out and bought one at our local Christian bookstore. The kit includes a small statue of St. Joseph that one buries in the yard of a home they are trying to sell. After St. Joseph helps sell the home, he is dug up and placed in a new home for good luck.

I know it sounds wildly superstitious, but it can’t hurt to try.

Comfort zone

I held my breath; I stepped outside and let the change begin.
I took a step and with new strength I’d never felt before,
I kissed my comfort zone goodbye and closed and locked the door.
– from a poem titled “My Comfort Zone,” author unknown

Change is never easy, however, I would be hard pressed to point out times in my life when I’ve taken a risk and not been rewarded in the long run. Knowing that still doesn’t make those first few steps any easier. In fact, the older I get, the harder it is to make potentially life-altering decisions.

comfort_zoneWe are currently in the process of buying another home. Moving was the last thing on my mind a couple of months ago, but I apparently got the fever after looking at the house I discussed in an earlier post. I discovered one that looked much more promising on a realtor’s webpage, figured it would be worth a drive-by, and promptly fell in love.

I couldn’t wait to tell Honey about it, and he also really liked it. Although it is only two and a half miles off the highway, it feels like it’s in the middle of nowhere. It sits on over 4.5 acres, has no close neighbors, and there’s even an old-fashioned red barn! I would be living the same distance from work, but we would be a bit closer to the city where we drive for church and leisure.

Although this house won’t require near as much remodeling as the first house we looked at, it will need quite a bit of updating. We love the floor plan, but the interior is still sporting a 1970’s look – complete with pink tile in the bathroom and floral print wallpaper in the kitchen. Nothing we can’t correct with enough time, money, and willpower.

As excited as I am about the possibilities, it feels a little bittersweet knowing that we would be leaving our wonderful neighbors. Even though Mrs. J no longer lives alone, I was terribly anxious about breaking the news to her. We procrastinated as long as we could, but we wanted to make sure that we told her before our current home was listed and a “For Sale” sign went up in the front yard. We told her Monday evening, and she took the news surprisingly well. We assured her that we would only be 5 minutes away and available anytime she needs us.

In the meantime, I’m sitting on pins and needles. I’m excited about the prospect of buying a fabulous piece of property, but I’m also apprehensive about the changes that are going to take place in our lives. Honey describes his feelings as “unsettled.” I’m sure we will both feel that way for a while, but trust that we will come to love and cherish the new home just as much as the one we have now.

Facebook has an application called “Gods Wants You to Know…” that I have seen several of my friends using. During the process of making the decision and negotiating all the details, I decided to try it out for the first time. This is what it said: “On this day, God wants you to know that all is well. All is going according to plan. Trust that there is a bigger picture. Trust that life is unfolding as it should.”

As cheesy as it sounds, somehow that made me feel better.