The missing months, February, March, April and May of 2012. We had put it off for more than six years but finally we had to do it. We had simply driven away from our house in January of 2006, and all these years it sat, full of a lifetime of things. Now it was time to clean it out, fix it up, put on the market, and sell it. And that was what those missing months were all about.
We actually didn't do anything our first week back. We had found a very nice RV park about 15 minutes from the house, and rented a site by the month. It wasn't that we didn't want to start on the house, but knowing it would take a great deal of work, we preferred to enjoy being back in familiar surroundings while spending time with our grandchildren before rolling up our sleeves.
Reading about most people who decide to take up the fulltime Life, they spend up to several years getting ready for the big change, slowly cleaning out the house, painting, fixing, getting it ready to go on the market, then waiting and hoping it sells. We hoped to accomplish all that in 60 days, and we weren't far off.
We started on Monday February 27, our first stop being to buy a hand truck, something that proved to be a back saver. Understand we not only had a full house, we had more than a full house. In addition to all the normal things you would find in a four bedroom home, one bedroom was stacked completely full of things from my mother's house while another bedroom was stacked with furniture and collectables. Then there was the garage and space above it which beside all the tools and woodworking equipment bought over 40 years, there were boxes and stacks of collectables waiting to be restored or refinished.
Our first task was to start sorting things out. We had a few things we wanted to keep, we had every year's financial records including every receipt, bill, bank statement, canceled checks and etc. for 40 plus years. By the end of the week we had also located an estate sale company that would come in and sell everything. The problem was that we had so much stuff (and after six years on the road it really was just stuff) plus there was the upcoming Easter holiday, so we decided that the three sale days could not be held until the weekend of April 14th.
In the end we needed every one of those days to get ready for the sale. We also enlisted the services of our neighbor two doors away to sell the house. David was also a licensed contractor, and because of problems with dry rot, two of our three bathrooms would have to have major repairs preformed. So while we were getting ready for the sale, David was also ripping out parts of the two bathrooms and rebuilding them. We could have elected not to have that done, but then we would have been restricted to only cash buyers for the house, and we wanted it to sell, not sit on the market forever. It would also allow us to significantly increase the asking price which wasn't a bad thing.
One additional thing we did during this time was to pack a shipping cube with more things than we could use at Retama and have it shipped down there to be held until this winter. Looking back at it now, we don't remember all we put in the cube, though it really wasn't all that much, and we laugh thinking of the surprises and conversations we will have when we unpack it.
The house was scheduled to go on the market a week Monday after the sale, meaning we were going to have to work our rear ends off as soon as the sale was over. Linda scheduled a house cleaner on Thursday and a carpet cleaning company on the Friday. Then we planned to paint all weekend and it would officially list Monday April 23th. Unfortunately we had a major monkey wrench thrown into those plans and it was because of something that had happened during the sale. The result being that we did get the painting done.
A young couple came to the sale and bought several things, including a toy stove I had made for the kids when they were little. They had also been looking for a house in the area for over a year. Long story short, they made an offer for nearly what would be asking price on Friday April 20th, we countered, they accepted, the loan went through, the papers were all been signed and the house was sold. From the day we started working on cleaning out the house to when the money was in the bank, 95 days.
When we bought this house the agent told us we couldn't pass it up because of one thing. It had location, location, location. When we got ready to sell it our agent said he was very optimistic about selling it quickly because it had a fantastic location. And it truly did. As I write this we have a view out the front of our coach that is fantastic. And one of the great thing about the fulltime Life is that if the location isn't the greatest, we don't stay stuck in the mud, we get out of it and move to some place we like.