Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Mixed Emotions Milestone

The other newsworthy event is that we finally sold our old Iowa house.  

Family, friends and long-time readers might remember that we had tried to sell the place when we moved to NC but it fell through.   Luckily we were able to get it rented out and under the watch of a local "property manager."  However the series of unfortunate events related to that property, which began around Spring 2008-ish, just kept on coming, and we soon realized that being out-of-state landlords was not a great gig.  

So a few months ago we listed it on Craigslist as For Sale By Owner & As Is.  We got several inquiries.  A few people went out to see it, one or two stayed interested.  However most of them had houses of their own that they needed to sell first.  Or they were more interested in renting it than buying.  Seemed like we'd lost all our leads, but then our property manager mentioned that there was a local guy interested, someone the current renters were friends with.  He turned out to basically be a kid (as apparently were the current renters), only a few years out of high school, but we figured if he could get financing, then who cares.  

Queue more of the back & forth bullshit that you can't get away from, even if you sell-by-owner.  Lots of forms emailed/signed/scanned/emailed, etc. (our property manager acted as a broker).  Also again with the something seems fishy us-getting-screwed crap.  But we carried on, resigned to just get the hell out of it.  Finally the closing date came, our mortgage showed as paid, and the meager remaining proceeds posted to our account.  Woo hoo right?!  

Yes, overall it's a woo hoo!  However my/our emotions are mixed about this milestone.  Mostly it is a good thing.  It will be nice to put it behind us and move on, but it's always going to be a sore subject.  A grudge that will stick.  Several people have been added to our shitlist over the past 4 years, that's for sure.   

There are a lot of memories tied to that house.  Some good, some bad.  Primarily good ones, with a bad aftertaste.  It was definitely an experience to go back through our photos from that time period...

Overall, the main thing is that it was the perfect sprawling/boxy size for us, like around 2200 sq. ft.  And it had a lot of quirky 100 year old farmhouse charm.  And potential.  Plus 7 acres of yard.  It had felt like a place that could be a home.

Squished as we are now into this 1200 sq. foot brick shoebox rental, it's never felt like home.  But here we still are, three years later.  Sure, now we feel better about moving on, mentally/financially/physically...  We're starting to size up our options.  Look around.  Of course, we're very leery now of real estate dealings, which is probably for the best.   Lessons learned and all that.  Yet finding suitable rentals is really hard to do.  Plus there's the whole adage, why rent when you could buy?  Except- with buying, comes- which? where? Semi-pricey newly built cookie-cutter house with a tiny yard?  Or another cheap older farmhouse... 
Isn't it cute?  But needs a lot of work. Probably not a good idea. :(

We looked at one of latter on Sunday.  Just a few miles away, same school district.  Large yard.  1870s historical farmhouse w/ 1970s kitchen addition.  Yet as big and charming and cheap as it was, it would likely be another money pit.  Easy to get into, but hard as hell to get out of.

So while it feels good to be out from under the Iowa house, it also feels a bit anti-climatic.  And the outlook of quickly/easily finding something to call home again is fairly depressing.

I'd hoped to be moving into a bigger place before this summer, but that's probably too optimistic.  Better face up to getting rid of more of our clutter, and dealing with a few things our own landlord needs to work on.

And might as well set the big pool up again...  you never know, reverse psychology might work in our favor.  Just as we get the pool filled, we'll probably find the perfect place.


  1. I loved your photo slideshow of the Iowa house. Sounds like it was a pretty rough go though, getting out of owning it. And I should probably not encourage you but WOW that historic farmhouse looks *amazing* from the outside. Do you think you are going to stay where you are for awhile? I mean the NC area? I've never been a big fan of the "why rent when you can buy" because I think there are LOTS of great reasons to rent. But.... if you are staying put and you can afford it.... it's nice having your own place too. Good luck with it all!

    1. The farmhouse really does have a lot of charm to me, I always admire them from the road... on the inside though, there were a lot of things that would need updating/repairs before we even moved in and/or they are issues we could live with, but would be problems upon resell (sort of what happened with the Iowa house). Plus it is a foreclosure and has certain home improvement requirements wrapped into its financing deal. Bleh.

      I agree, there are lots of reasons to stay renting. Just wish all the bigger houses weren't double the rent we're currently paying!

  2. i totally hate cattle guy after visiting your photostream. I can absolutely see why you bought it, it could have held so many happy times there. unless a house is new, it is such a constant struggle to maintain. Part of our house is a hundred years old, and the rest of it is add-ons - done mainly by handy-men which is NOT good when they weren't that handy. Best of luck, I see why you have mixed feelings about it, getting screwed about is unfortunate, but it was a lovely place.

    1. Thanks for contributing to the cattle guy hatred. We're really hoping karma bites him in the ass at some point.

  3. I looked at every slide...your lives in Iowa seemed so ideal until the feed lot arrived. I'm impressed by the number of skills you picked up during your stay there. We have tenants and I know only too well how costs can add up...

    1. The wear and tear done to a house is just something that never occurred to me until the first few tenants came and went. From the other POV, I can totally see how much "fixing up" the landlord is going to have to do to the house we are renting now when we move out.