Monday, April 25, 2005

For Sale

So, today, my house officially went on the market. There is a big old sign in front, letting the whole world know that my castle could be theirs:
As it is today, with For Sale sign

I took a vacation day today. We spent much of the weekend and all morning cleaning and organizing large volumes of stuff. This afternoon, some professionals came through and did an incredibly thorough cleaning. Tomorrow morning the carpets will be steam cleaned. Everything is in order.

I have mixed feelings about this. I love this house; this is the first house I've ever bought. Really, it is a great little house, and I'm not just saying that because I want someone to buy it. When I bought this house, most of the houses now in this neighborhood didn't exist. My house didn't exist either; it was just a patch of dirt:
The empty lot for my house

Laura and I watched the house emerge out of nothing. I still have the notes I made back then on the progress as it was built. We visited the house as it grew -- sometimes driving out there twice a week to see it, in the evening after work.

The footings, sometime in September 2000:
The footings for the house

The foundation, poured at the end of September 2000:
Recently poured foundation

Walls, a roof, and a porch - actually resembling a real house here. I believe this was in October or so of 2000:
Finally looking like a house

We picked almost everything out ourselves, and surprisingly our tastes are similar enough that we didn't even have to argue much over it. We chose the carpeting, the cabinets, the doors, the color of the siding and shutters, the placement of cable TV and electrical outlets. We said no to the wall dividing the living room and family room, preferring the more open floor plan. We said yes to the bay window and front porch -- a fairly costly upgrade. We agonized over whether we made the right decisions, both for our own happiness in the house and for the future "resale value" that we couldn't even imagine. It took about six months to build and during that time I worried about all sorts of things -- would interest rates skyrocket? Would the mortgage company change their mind? Would Bigelow Homes suddenly go under (highly unlikely, I know)? Would my job suddenly disappear?

I closed on the house January 11, 2001 -- two days before my 30th birthday. For some reason, it pleases me that I bought my first house while still technically in my twenties.

Now, four years later, that resale value that we couldn't really imagine matters. This is sooner than I originally planned back in 2000, but I think that moving now is the right decision for us. We haven't begun looking for our new house yet; I don't want to own two houses at once, so I intend to wait until I have a solid offer before making an offer on another house myself. I have a rough idea of where we will end up living, but that's all I can really say right now. We have, though, looked at countless houses online. We've talked to a realtor who will help us find the right house. We have a rough idea of our budget, but I don't want to fall into a trap of setting the asking price for my house based on what I need to buy the next one. That's the other reason I'm not rushing out and making offers right now.

I don't know how long this will take. We are hopeful it won't be too long. Keeping the house as spotless as it is right now will be a challenge for a couple of messy packrats!

I do know that it may be a little hard to say goodbye when the time comes.
House as it is today

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