Friday, May 1, 2009

HOUSE NEWS

Sorry, folks, no Food Friday today--I've been too scattered and off-routine lately to experiment in the kitchen. (Well, I did throw together a candidate for this space last night, actually, but it needs a lot of work!)

This infernal house saga is finally at an end. We are accepting a best and final offer that is $15K below the appraised value, but is as high as we're going to get in the current market. We're still getting over a half-a-mil for a two-bedroom house. This is not chopped liver.

As usual in matters financial, this achievement is bitter-sweet because of Steve's initial reaction to it. He was ready to abandon the whole enterprise and wait "a few years" until the market turns around and then try again. I had to tell him that doesn't work for me. One thing that passing the threshold of 60 did was make me acutely aware of the passage of time. In "a few years" I'll be closer to 70 than to 60. The line in the horizon ahead is more and more visible, and I want to cram as much joy as I can into whatever time is left. Living in limbo, looking at an uncertain future for "a few more years" is the opposite of joy. Once I explained that to Steve, he relented. This is now a less-than-joyful conclusion for Steve, but least I know him well enough to realize he'll come around.

Life will not be perfect. It never is. We will no doubt face financial challenges in the time ahead; the issue of health insurance for Steve as he approaches unemployment is huge, but we'll make it work. Maybe Uncle Sam will finally see the light and let me put Steve on my policy. Wouldn't that be something!

At last we can move on. Today we're having a conference call with our builder to discuss possible savings on construction. (I called him to give him a heads up on our situation and he says he already has ideas for saving $12,000! What a guy!) Tomorrow we'll come closer to finalization on extension of the pier. I'm starting research on cat-friendly house rentals in the area of Deep Creek Shores, North Carolina.

I should be full of news and more news over the next few weeks!

19 comments:

Linda - SE PA said...

Congrats!

Whew... one segment complete - onward to the finish line!

Anonymous said...

Hi Ralph,

I totally understand the 60 threshold thing. It changed my feelings about lots of things. And, you never know what nasty little events might transpire while you're waiting a few years. So, bravo for standing strong. I hope things move along quickly and smoothly now.

Linda in Chapel Hill

Ralph said...

My two dear Lindas, thank you so much. We've talked to our builder. The $12,000 in savings were all excellent ideas, all merely cosmetic, and a few downright improvements that happen to be cheaper. We were afraid we'd have to give up rooms or other space, but the builder likes the house and wants to keep the integrity of its design. So Steve's looking up already.

Kat said...

Ralph,
I am thrilled for you and Steve. Now you can exhale and breathe normally again! I am happy for both of you!

Ralph said...

Thanks Kat. As you can see from the comments, the news has only gotten better as the day has progressed. Next hurdle: engineer's inspection. We have nothing to hide, certainly, but you never knpw what they'll find....

Peewit said...

That is wonderful news, Ralph. I've not commented for a few weeks as I have been very busy at work and we were up in Scotland for a week but I have been reading regularly (even from my brother in laws computer!) I look forward to the next chapter in your unfolding story

Ralph said...

Peewit, you go to the coolest places! Thanks for checking in. There's more to come, for sure!

Cuidado said...

So many decisions to be made with these housing situations during middle age. My aunt and uncle are going through similar challenges too and I have been for years.

Ralph said...

At least we're headed for happy decisions for a while now, Cuidado....

Zoey and Me said...

I think it's a good offer. I would think that the hard part is ahead, getting the offer to close in today's market as banks are notorious for last minute demands from buyers. Crazy crap prevails and in a way Steve rendered an accurate opinion of the market. It will probably be much better once the financial dust settles and the crooks on Wall Street do what they're good at, stealing more money from the unsuspecting hard working stiffs here in the U.S. and elsewhere. Right now it's a mess out there and even though I'm happy to be booked with house showings myself this weekend there is no great feeling for me working in an environment of total chaos.

Good luck and keep showing the property till the equity check clears your account and the cats are in the car!

Ralph said...

LOL! I'm afraid the "under contract" sign is up, Z&M. She was pre-approved, the appraiser is well known in the industry--I'd be surprised if financing becomes a problem. (But of course I've been surprised before!)

Jenny said...

Great news about the sale! We also took about $19K less than our asking price last year when we sold our place and we are fairly certain we would not even get a nibble on it this year after all the bad financial news, so we're thankful it sold at all. And what you got for a 2 bedroom house floors me. We had 5 bedrooms and 27 wooded acres and felt lucky to get $230k! Location, location, location. While we lived in a beautiful place in Kentucky, it has always been economically depressed, culturally deprived, not so great schools, etc. I have had the "time's running out" feeling for a while now, so I encourage you not to put off your dreams.

Jenny said...

We're having a Derby Party tomorrow--wish all my friends with Kentucky connections could be here to join us for a mint julep. Short notice for you, though!

Ralph said...

The invite is very tempting, Jenny, for the company as well as for the great Pacific NW scenery!

Yes, we are floored by this much money for 2 bedrooms, but we aren't complaining, just grateful! The way things are jumping around herem I tbhink this place will re-coup it's mid-00s value in a few years (there was a time when we'd have commanded over $600K!), but that's a few too many as far as I'm concerned.

Mim said...

Ralph
Congratulations and never a dull moment at your house.
Your builder sounds superb and I love the way he is eagerly working with you to cut a few bucks.

Nan said...

Very happy to read this post, Ralph. You will certainly be busy for some time, and then things will settle in again. Days of transition...

LONELY RIVERS said...

Great news on the first of MAY!
Congratulations! Have been checking in daily to be sure your sale was on track. My friends roll their eyes when I update them about "my guys who are selling their house." Isn't it strange how we get caught up in stories of people we've never met?

Ralph said...

LR, I can only smile very big at what you say about "people we've never met." Whoever said that computers would atomize and alienate us had it completely wrong. My life has been immeasurably enriched by you friends "whom I've never met." It would have been impossible without this keyboard and that big thing quietly humming next to me. Thank you so much for being there and caring, and for the lovely, wonderful-to-read snapshots from your own life.

Eclecticity said...

Wonderful news. I am happy for you guys. E.