June 2014 – End of Plan B

If you are following Kal’s facebook page you have already heard the news, but June marked the end of Plan B for our travels.  Yes, we have sold the house and are finally homeless.  The day after we returned from visiting William in Maryland, on May 14, we had to quickly clean the house again so it could be shown that afternoon.  For the next two weeks the activity picked up dramatically with a showing almost every day and on Friday we had our first return visit, although they did not make an offer.  On May 30, we had our first offer for the house.  Although I was not surprised, I was disappointed that the first offer was a low ball offer of only $145,000 and they wanted us to pay the closing costs, have the carpet professionally cleaned, and pay for a home warranty.  My initial reaction was to simply reject the offer, but after consulting with Ashley Miller, our real estate agent with ReMax, we decided to counter the offer with our original asking price of $159K and we would pay for only the closing cost.  This was easy to do since we knew we would likely have to pay for the closing costs of around $4K.  They next countered with $155K, but we would still have to pay closing costs.  This would mean giving up over $9K which would make it very difficult to buy both the truck and the RV we wanted.  I was very tempted to just reject the offer, but ended up deciding to split the difference with them by reducing the price to $157K and limit our payment of closing costs to $2K.  They stated their previous offer was the best they could do since they could not qualify for a larger loan and needed the closing costs as they only had funds for the down payment.  Therefore, we rejected the offer and hoped this was not the best offer we would get.  Come Monday morning, Ashley called us to make one final attempt.  If we would accept their offer of $155K and pay the closing costs not to exceed $4650 both agents would give up 0.5% of their commission.  For another couple of thousand dollars we could have a deal, however, it still meant that we were going to be cutting it very close based on our estimates for the truck, RV, and other transition expenses.  They had to have an answer quickly as they were leaving town, so after talking it over for a while we decided to accept the deal and signed the contract for $155K selling price and we would pay $4650 of the closing costs and they were on their own for the carpet cleaning and home warranty.  It took us a while to accept the fact that our lives had now changed dramatically and it was time to get moving on closing the house.

The buyers were wanting to move to Auburn from Arizona as quickly as possible and since we were ready to move out at the drop of a hat, we set a closing date of June 30, 2014.  This left us with less than a month to get everything ready, which turned out to be plenty of time as we managed to watch every game of the World Cup as well.   One of the first thing we did was to visit Gentry and Ware to start the search for a used F350 diesel dually truck.  We didn’t really want a full cab and we didn’t care about the color or interior.  We just wanted a truck with low mileage and as new as we could afford.  We limited the price to $30-$35K and Ronnie Ware went to work for us.  We scheduled the termite inspection for later in the week, which went off without a hitch, and waited for the house inspection.  This was going to be the big test as the buyer would have the option of backing out of the deal if we could not come to terms with the inspection and I was not willing to invest any more into the house to close the deal.  The inspection was scheduled for Monday, June 9, but ended up being delayed until Tuesday.  We waited for a couple of more days for the buyers to receive and review the report and it was very tense, but we were going to wait until we had a firm deal before doing anything else to prepare.  On Thursday we got the report and they wanted us to deal with the first 5 issues on the report: replace roof tiles along the north edge of the house that were damaged and fix a potential leak around one of the vents on the roof, repair some rotten wood around the frame on the back door, fix two outlets that were not grounded, service the heat pump, and fix a slow drain in the master bath.  Once we consulted with Josh Chance about the repairs and getting an estimate of less than $500 for the repairs, we figured we did very well and agreed to the repairs.  We poured Draino down both the bathtub drains since they were both draining well as far as we could tell and had the heat pump serviced, which was just an inspection since nothing wrong was found.  Josh cut out the rotted pieces of wood along the frame, used Bondo to plug the gaps and painted over them.  He also replaced the roof tiles and recapped the vent.  Finally, the ungrounded plugs turned out to be a loose ground wire on one of the plugs causing both problems.  Therefore, the repairs did not cost very much and were done in less than a day.  We were ready to close, so we scheduled a small Uhaul truck for June 25 to move our remaining stuff to my sister’s house in Tennessee.  In the meantime we went through all of our stuff one more time and got rid of a number of items we were not sure of.  We mailed Jenny all of our dishes and pots since she will be moving out on her own and will need them.  William also came for a visit during this time and took a few more tools with him.  Finally, Bill Handley finally got the last chair for the kitchen table he took over a year ago, our old washer and dryer, and all of the rest of my tools, screws, nails, etc.  Everything else was boxed up and ready to be moved except for those items we were going to need when we returned for the final clean up prior to closing the following Monday.

We picked up the UHaul on June 25 we the hope we could pack and get to Tennessee that day.  One note about UHaul.  It turns out that even though you make a reservation with UHaul for a vehicle at a specific location, you can be assigned a truck at any location within some maximum distance which must be at least 30 miles.  Pay attention to the confirmation email you receive, because our UHaul truck was in Tuskegee.  Thank goodness they called a couple of days ahead of time to see if we wanted to try and find a truck in Auburn (which we could not find at that late date).  We drove to Tuskegee at 6 in the morning to be their when they opened and thankfully they had our truck, although the online reservation had been canceled!  They were kind enough to treat us as a walk-in and we got the truck we needed.  Kal was concerned that the truck was not going to be big enough, but she did not count on my expert ability at packing (I least I think so).  After putting the two twin bed mattresses, dressers, TV table, and end tables that Suzy wanted for the new expansion of her house, our boxes and other equipment easily fit in the truck and Mariner with room to spare.  We hooked up the camper to the Mariner and took off for Tennessee around lunch time.

We waited until the next day to unload the truck, which took at lot more effort that you might think.  First, we had to unload the truck to pull out the furniture, mattresses, and boxes for Suzy.  So we put our stuff destined for their storage locker off to the side and proceeded to their storage locker to pull out a couple of items like a sectional couch that they wanted for their new room.  It turned out the storage locker was crammed full of stuff that had to be gone through and we took back about half a truck load of stuff.  This had to unloaded and sorted out at Suzy’s before we could finally load our stuff back in and take it to the storage locker.  We finally got it all done and turned in the truck on Saturday.

Originally our plans were to travel back to Auburn on Saturday to clean for the final clean-up of the house on Sunday and closing on Monday.  However, while we were on the road to my sister’s on Wednesday, Kal got a phone call from Ashley that the buyers needed to delay the closing a week so they could add their mother to the contract and she could not make the Monday closing date.  It turns out she was loaning them the money for the down payment and therefore had to be on the contract.  We also found out that she had enough money to buy the house outright in the first place, so their claim that we needed to pay for the closing costs was not exactly true!  I wish now that I had not found that out as it left a bad taste in my mouth to know that we may have to cheapen our dream so their mom would not have to loan them the money.  In any case, we were now at my sister’s and had a week to kill before we could close.  This gave us the opportunity to celebrate my sister’s birthday on July 3 and the nations’ birthday on July 4 before heading back to Auburn one last time on July 5.

It was strange returning back to our house of 24 years with nothing in it.  Over the last year I had gotten use to the empty bedrooms and having to sleep on mattresses on the floor and sitting in camp chairs. Now even those were gone and we were reduced to sleeping on an air mattress on the living room floor.  A final good cleaning of the house and refrigerator only took a few hours, especially when we had been asked to allow professional carpet cleaners to come before their final walk through at noon and the closing at 1 pm.  This was not a problem since we would be out of the house for breakfast and did not plan to return as we had a number of errands, like turning in the cable boxes and getting a final hair cut at the salon for Kal.  However, after breakfast I realized I had not seen the bathtub curtain in the trash and found out that we had left them along with our towels in the house.  So we did go back one more time to the house and found the carpet cleaners had showed up a half hour early and was glad we could let him in the house early.  The house closed without any further issues and the new owners, the Ruddicks seem to be a very nice couple with a young girl that plan on using the two additional bedrooms and his and her studies as they are both writers.  On a side note, you will notice that the buyers did have the carpets professionally cleaned (which they did not need) which they had originally asked for and they paid for.  They had also asked us to pay for a home warranty, which I refused, only to find out it was included as part of the closing costs which I did pay for!  Once again I did not want to cause a problem since we had agreed to pay for the closing costs up to $4650, which you can bet was just over this amount once you added in the home warranty.  Kal is correct that the important thing to focus on is that we sold the house after trying for a year and a half and it is time to start our new life as full time RVers, but…