The last twelve months have been pretty huge for my family. In October, I got a new writing gig that’s going to pay most of our bills. Then in December, my husband and I did a financial reboot, examining our accounts to decide exactly what our financial priorities are – and should be – going forward. But we’ve also experienced some fits and starts along the way. Last September, we had to take our house off the market after six months of absolutely no movement in our neighborhood and plummeting asking prices.
With all the pros and cons of the past few months, I’m really looking forward to what the future has in store for me – for us, really, my whole family. Because what’s ahead of us is even bigger than what’s in the past. It’s going to be a year of big changes, big steps. It’s going to be a big year.
Step #1: Finally Selling The House
We’ve got a concrete plan to make this happen. We learned a lot during the false start of 2012. We learned that houses in our neighborhood are only moving if they’re priced far below market value. So to make this big dream a big reality, we’re looking to do the following:
- Put the house back on the market at the right time, at the right price. Last year, we missed what was apparently the “big buying season” – not because our house wasn’t on the market, but because we were priced way too high at the time. Our plan is to put the for sale sign back in our yard on April 1st (conveniently the day after Easter and spring break in our parts) at $142,000; that’s nearly $5,000 less than what we were asking when we pulled it off the market in the fall.
- Work without an agent. We truly believe that our agent did the best possible job anyone could have done under the circumstances; he thought out of the box, worked to improve the image of the entire neighborhood – not just our property – in hopes of bringing more potential buyers in to see what the community had to offer. Yet, the house still didn’t sell. I firmly believe the reason is it wasn’t priced low enough. By scrapping our Realtor (and his 3% commission), we can afford to reduce the asking price.
- Maximize our resources. Even though we’ll be going it alone in the market, I won’t discount the importance of having an MLS number along with our listing. This will cost us a few hundred bucks, but will allow me to advertise our house in largely the same way an agent would have. I also plan to piggyback on other properties on the market in our area, having open houses on the same days and times as them to increase traffic.
And why the urgency to sell this time? Read on…
Step #2: Moving Out of State
Last year, my father had two major surgeries that hospitalized him and had him out of work for months. My maternal grandmother is suffering from an increasingly problematic case of dementia, one that requires my mother to devote almost all her time to her constant care. I’m my parents’ only child and my grandmother’s oldest grandchildren; I’ve also lived hundreds of miles away from them for the past 12 years.
It’s time for me to go home.
My husband and I have loved living in our adopted home state; we’ve loved raising our children here. But we both realize the importance of family. And, even though my husband is from a different state entirely, he is eager to move somewhere where we can have grandparents and cousins and extended family a few minutes’ drive away instead of half-way across the country.
The plan is to move back to my hometown by mid-August. And why the hard-and-fast deadline?
Step #3: It’s Kindergarten Time!
Five years ago, I was pregnant with my first child. This fall, she’ll celebrate her first day of school, when she starts kindergarten. My husband and I agree this is the perfect time to move, as she’ll be starting at a new school regardless of whether we stay where we are or tackle a new adventure somewhere else.
The ironic thing is that we likely won’t have time to buy a new house before her first day of school, meaning we’ll be lodging with my parents at the time. On her first day of school, she’ll wake up in my old bedroom in my old house; she’ll get on the school bus for the first time in my old neighborhood, and head off to my old elementary school. Heck, there’s even a chance she’ll have my old teacher!
Step #4: Finding a New Job
The move naturally means my husband, who currently works in law enforcement, will have to find a new job. This is perhaps the most nauseating part of the move; my husband’s been in law enforcement his entire professional career, and has been with his current agency for six and a half years. The idea of starting over with a new agency is pretty overwhelming for both of us, but obviously moreso for him. He’s starting to put feelers out with new departments, to try and get an idea of what these agencies are looking for. I have confidence that he’s going to find work, and that it will be a perfect fit. I just have to remember that in those moments when we feel worried and overwhelmed.
And Everything Else That Comes With It…
Of course, making a big move will also mean setting up a new routine, making new friends, learning (or in my case, relearning) about our new home.
It’s going to be a time of upheaval, of transitions, of change – something anyone who is close to me would tell you that I’m notoriously terrible with. It’s true that I don’t do change well; I never have. While I love the theoretical idea of a fresh start, a new beginning, the actualization of those things tends to send me off the deep end. My goal over the next few months is going to be reminding myself that we are moving because it’s the best move for our family as a whole – not just my husband and I, but our kids and extended family too. I also have to remember that this is not a “fresh start” or a “new beginning,” but rather, a relaunch of the life I began in my hometown when I was three years old, a life I put on pause when I moved away to start college.
Do you have any big changes coming up in your life? Or are you contemplating anything major? Please share!