Blog,  Personal Story

We Sold Our House and Moved in With My Parents

After that headline, I’m kind of wondering if I need to write a post. That kind of sums it up. Clear, concise and the gist of the story.

We bought our land in December, 2020. At the same time we still owned a home, and we had planned to stay in our current home until our house was built on the farm. We figured we would have about a year to prepare to move and that we’d be moving straight into the new house. I’m laughing just writing that sentence.

I’m sure most of you all are aware of the craziness that has consumed the housing market. Houses selling in hours, bidding wars and so forth. I mean there’s a pretty healthy meme genre devoted to it all.

I was watching the craziness in amazement as Seller’s were making record profits. I started to have this nagging feeling we should jump into those shark infested waters sooner rather than later. But where would we go? Of course we could rent, but that market was pretty tough too. Rental houses were going quickly and at elevated monthly rates. We were going to end up having to pay more per month for a rental than our current mortgage, and that just didn’t make sense. That’s where things get interesting.

After the land purchase we had jokingly told my parents we’d move in with them. Jokes on us.

The Seller’s market just kept getting better, but there was no way the housing market could sustain those levels forever. We might miss our opportunity, and so I called our trusty Realtor Rebekah and asked her what she thought we could sell our house for and if the price I had in mind could be attained. She was very optimistic about our house and the price.

Now, I was getting cold feet.

I have to be honest, as excited as I was about the prospect of owning and living on the farm, I absolutely loved our current home. I mean LOVED it. I could have seen myself retiring in that house. I loved my kitchen, my walk-in pantry, beautiful backyard that overlooked woods and golden sunsets. Our small pool and friendly neighborhood, were also wonderful benefits. I knew we were going to have to say goodbye, but in a year. I had planned to have time to adjust to the idea of leaving. But this was going to be painful, like ripping off a very well stuck on bandage (you know, the type that rips out a bunch of hairs as you pull it off and try not to cry).

Even as I talked about selling and Rebekah was sending me the listing agreement, I was having second thoughts. Should we really do this? Can I really leave the house I brought my children home to, where I had designed the kitchen and hosted many many parties over the years?

Even after I signed the listing agreement I kept thinking, can I back out legally? (Sorry Rebekah, did I mention I love my house?) I never voiced these disturbing thoughts to Michael because he was more than willing to leave.

He had held a grudge against the house ever since we had unexpectedly had to replace the septic system and put a giant hill in our front yard for the new drain field. Every time he drove into the driveway and saw that mound of dirt, the resentment resurfaced and he was ready to say “Au revoir” faster than he could remember how to pronounce it. I had no inkling the depths of his grudge against the house until he joyfully signed the listing agreement.

I still was able to hold it together for awhile, because while we had signed the listing agreement, it wasn’t on the market yet. It wasn’t real yet. There was a delay for a couple of weeks in officially putting it on the market, and I actually felt relieved.

However, the day finally came.

Fortunately, we had coincided the date for the listing to go live with our beach vacation. After no vacation in over a year, and even longer since I had been to one of my favorite beach haunts (Apalachicola and St. George Island), my mind was occupied with the trip.

Side note, putting your house on the market while your out of town is a great strategy if you’re still living in the property, especially if you have young children. The thought of having to keep the house “show ready” with a 2 and 4 year old anytime a prospective buyer wanted to see the house was terrifying. Since the majority of showings happen the first few days a property is on the market, being out of town meant we didn’t have to worry about cleaning up or picking up between showings.

Being out of town worked perfect, because before we were even home we had a couple offers on the house. It was under contract before we even pulled back into the driveway with two extremely cranky children, who were tired of being in the car.

That’s when reality truly set in, we were leaving. It had all been a dream until that point. I held off on packing, still in denial. That first day back to work, Michael brought home empty cardboard boxes and bubble wrap and started packing our china, singing gleefully no less.

Finally, I had to face the reality, because I didn’t think the buyers were looking for a family of roommates. I started packing, but with less gusto than Michael. However, by the time we finished packing I was ready to say “Je m’en vais”(“I’m out of here”), because packing is for the birds. I had forgotten how much I hated packing and how exasperated you get at all the junk you realize you’ve been harboring in every nook and cranny. When we cleaned and closed the door for the last time, I was finally okay. I was ready to leave.

We sold our house, and we had made double the profit than we would have just six months earlier. That was pretty satisfying, and gave us a much larger nest egg for the new house and farm. Plus we paid zero closing costs and made minimal repairs. No one is asking for a new roof (or other major repairs) in this market.

Now, we’re living with my parents while we work out the details of our new house and work on the farm. It’s really not that bad, because my husband and I have always gotten along with my parents. And it’s every grand child’s dream to live with their grandparents. When my oldest daughter wakes up, she runs to Grammy and Grandy’s room…not ours. On a couple of occasions she’s asked me when we’re moving out. I tell her we’ll move out whenever the new house is built. She says, “no mommy, when are you moving out? I’m staying with Grammy and Grandy.”

I think our arrangements working just fine, if only a little too well.

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