We Sold Our House!
1/22/2005 – 4/18/2012
It’s with mixed emotions that I write that we sold our house. It was our first baby.Long before Varun arrived, I have spent hours first selecting the house and then prettying it up – selecting the colors, the artwork, curtains, updating the landscaping, the list is endless.
We have a lot of memories associated with this place – birth of our son, birthday celebrations, baby showers of dear friends, cooking experiments, BBQ and booze parties…Many a trips were planned sitting on the back patio sipping hot tea and enjoying the warmth from the fire pit. Many a afternoons were spent lazing under the sun-umbrella with a book in hand.
Many a evenings were spent chasing Varun in the backyard as he ran to pluck blueberries from the bushes or rolling in the front lawn. He has seen squirrels, rabbits , horses and even deer on occasion as they ambled down the trail behind the house.
He learnt to walk on the deck and climb the stairs. He learnt peekaboo by hiding across the railings of the stairs. The kitchen and the deck were his play areas during the day.
The loft was our playground in the evenings once the sun went down and the Greenbelt behind went dark. It was a safe place to wind down, snuggle and generally sit up with visiting overnight friends and cousins to gossip.
Why Sell then?
We thought long and hard about selling the house. We were going back and forth between renting and selling. We even put out a rental ad on Craigslist and got multiple offers in 3-4 days. One of them came to see it within couple of days of listing and made an offer to take it. In fact it was probably a week before we actually left the country that we decided to sell the house (more on how we sold it later).
We did a whole lot of number crunching using various spreadsheets to compare rent v/s sell scenario with different rates of appreciation, different monthly expenses, taking into account our new salary, rent that we would have got, our mortgage and insurance dues, housing allowance that we were offered as part of relocation, probable sale price of the house, repairs before sale/renting etc, tax impact in US and in India. The online calculators were more generic so Vipul created a custom excel spreadsheet based some of the online ones specifically for our analysis.
We reached out to a few experts – our financial advisor, 2-3 different realtors, seattle bubble blog community as well as friends who were in similar situation ( had a house, moved to different city and rented) for learnings in hindsight. We got rent management details analysis from the rental agency MS was recommending (Adoba) as well as from CBB property management arm. We explored rental option of finding our own renters and using a 3rd party agency for managing repairs/problems as they are reported – similar to insurance with deductible.
We researched and drafted a rental agreement ( pet policy anyone!), met with contractors, stagers, landscapers, cleaners, tax experts etc to get estimate of costs.
While it made emotional sense to keep the house and rent it, it made financial sense to sell it. Online calculators seemed to indicate that even with a 5% YOY appreciation in real estate we would be better off selling the house. At that point, it looked like, keeping the house around in hopes of prices going through the roof, was more speculative than investment strategy.
What nailed the decision was mainly we didn’t want the hassle of being a long distance landlords. We are really lazy people and don’t really want to complicate life than it is already and this seemed the right decision.
Once we decided to sell, we zeroed in on our agent (Denise Sinkevicius with Coldwell Banker Bain), the contractor for repairs (Donn Keith of WE Contracting and Electrical Services), stager (Lisa Lucas of Lisa Lucas Designs) , cleaner and landscaper ( T Mo recommended by Denise).
As we were going to start the work once we moved out, a project plan was put together of activity, date and owner. Delays if any were tracked and communicated by Denise. There were a few hiccups but we were listed on 3/15. Pricing was reworked at last-minute due to low inventory in Redmond Ridge.
Check this marketing eflyer out – http://vicaso.com/18806 . Amazing, right?!! It made me want to buy my own house all over again.
Luckily, two very busy open houses later, we had two offers within four days for near asking price.
We went with the higher offer, countered, reached mutual acceptance and then waited for the long dance of inspection, appraisal, walk through and finally closed today on 4/18.
It feels weird not to have any house related mails or phone calls to follow-up tonight.Its that empty feeling that you have when something major is completed. There is a twinge of regret, there is part relief but mainly there is a sense of closure.
Now, we have to look for another place and make it HOME.
Psst – Stay tuned for cost breakdown and details of how we sold the house as well as the drama that happened between mutual acceptance and closing.