The most daunting task in my life was the selling of our home and all its contents. I don't know where we found the courage and know I could never do it again. First we had to get the house ready to sell. In my mind, I knew that even if we weren't doing the cruising thing it was time to sell. The house was too big for the two of us and we no longer had the energy to put into it. My heart didn't quite understand it that way though.
Many things needed to be done to the house that had been neglected and/or put off during our two years of working on the boat. The more work we put into the house, the more I remembered how much I loved it. I hope to never make the mistake again of waiting to do things to a home until time to sell. By the time it was ready for the real estate market, I knew my selling price. It was 20K more than houses in the area were selling for and Bob thought I was crazy. Bob has final say on most of our decisions but I wasn't backing down from this one. I was in such emotional turmoil about selling and I knew the house was worth the asking price. We put it on the market the 1st of April, knowing that we didn't want to move until July. By the 12th of April we had a contract for my selling price with a backup contract for $500.00 over that. To top it all off, they didn't want to move in until after school was out in June - perfect timing.
With things all set on the house, we began the task of deciding what to do
with all our belongings. We had lived in the same house for over twenty years
and had combined two households before that. We had collected far too many
things simply because we had so much space to store them. Imagine having to
"do something" with every single item that you've acquired over a
lifetime. The decision had to be made for each item as to:
1. Put it in storage.
2. Sell it.
3. Give it to charity.
4. Give it to a family member/friend.
5. Move it to the boat (very few items) .
This was a task that took the months of April through mid-June. It required much prayer on my part. I wanted to be sure not to let go of anything I'd regret later. If there was a doubt, I kept it for storage or ask my family to keep if for me. To avoid conflict, I assumed responsibility for the house (except Bob's office) and he took charge of the garage and yard equipment. At least that was the plan. Bob didn't quite live up to his end of the deal but at least we didn't have a single disagreement during this demanding task.
After everything was separated, what wasn't donated, given away, stored, or taken to the boat, had to be priced and labeled for sale. Many people that go cruising leave this task to companies that handle estate sales. We didn't want to go that route but I did spend time at several estate sales to see how they work and get some idea of good prices. Since we were selling everything, we had to wait for the sale until very close to our closing date on the house. The week finally came for us to place an advertisement for our sale.
Things don't always work out the way we think they will. We had panned our estate sale for the last two weekends of June. Four days before the sale was to begin, the buyers changed their minds. After months of having a contract, we were back to "selling a house'. That meant in order to enhance the appeal of the house, we had to unpack much of what I had packed away .
The task was completed and a week passed. The buyer then informed us that they "might" go ahead and buy the house. What a mess; we didn't know what to do. The real estate agent was no help in the matter - all new territory for him. We finally contacted an attorney who told us that the buyer couldn't change their minds, although she wasn't really sure how to force the issue.
We continued showing the house, had our estate sale and went to the closing not knowing what would happen. The papers were all in order and the check made out. I'm not sure what happened after that but it appears the problem was then between the buyer, the mortgage company, and the real estate agent. I later saw on the internet that the house sold again the same day for 10K more than we got. Anyway we made our move to the homeless suites to begin the downsizing. About two months later we moved aboard Escapades.
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