It has been a busy few months. We had set a goal and we meant to finish it. We are not the type to put off deadlines, so Rochelle and I tackled our goals headfirst. We had just returned from our sailing trip aboard Karma with Captain Nancy Erley, then taken a week-long trip with our friend Mark to Moab, Utah, to visit Arches National Park and do some 4-wheeling at the Sand Flats Recreational Area, so by the first week in May, time was of the essence.
Back in early February, we had invited our realtor, Colleen Nickel, to the farm to do an assessment of our property and give us an estimated value. Colleen has worked with us and our extended family to buy and sell several homes. She has always done excellent work for us, so we brought her aboard to sell Thirteen Cedars Farm. We bought the property in 2014 with Colleen's help. It is really hard to find ten acres near a city in a rural setting without a matching huge price tag. After a couple years of searching, Colleen happened upon this property that was yet to be listed. When we drove up the driveway, I said to Rochelle, "We are going to buy this". It was perfect and priced to sell fast, so we put an offer in the minute it was officially listed the next day.
Upon her visit eight years later, Colleen was taken aback by all the awesome upgrades we made. She gave us a value and I thought it was a bit low. Nowhere can you get ten acres within three miles of town with a perfect view of Mt. Rainier. I told her my valuation and said if it doesn't sell, then that's on me. One of the things we appreciate about Colleen is that she listens. The price was set.
Back from Moab, with just 19 days before the property went on the market, we scrambled to spruce up the house, greenhouse and property, and began liquidating physical assets via Offer Up. It was a very tight schedule; not only were we getting the farm ready to go on the market, but we also had JOBS. Rochelle was preparing for her last day as Human Resources Director at the Attorney General's Office on May 31st; I would resign my position at the Department of Social and Health Services once the house sold.
I became quite the Offer Up entrepreneur! I sold almost everything that we had that I thought had value. In past years, everything would have gone to Goodwill and Habitat for Humanity, but with the new tax structure, the standard deduction went from, I believe, $3,500 per person to $12,000. For our two-earner family, that is $24,000 before anything would count. I'm not blaming the tax plan, but I used to actually have fun cataloguing the donations in order to build a decent tax cut. Gone was the fun--no way we could ever exceed the standard deduction now, so I moved all the effort to Offer Up & eBay and made a tidy sum at it. I took a simple approach, charge 40% of what it would cost to buy the item new today, then I'd add a few dollars so the buyers would feel good about getting me to knock the price down. I dusted off some items from my childhood, like my set of First Edition Advanced Dungeon & Dragons books. Bought for around $20, I sold them for $450! I found that some things just don't sell such as sport card collections, anything computer related, anything bone-China, and nice furniture. Still, about half of what we had, sold!
The farm went on the market on schedule on May 19th. We had many visitors that first weekend, and many liked the place, but many were also confused about things we would consider smart, like having a cistern for water, or having a generator for power outages, or the charm of trains a mile away. We did get a low offer that we promptly ignored. We waited another week and had heard that a couple from California was flying up to see it. In the meantime, a man from Portland visited and found the farm to be exactly what he had been had spent two years looking for. The problem with some realtors is that they really don't know the property. Our property is unique, and it takes someone that knows it explicitly to sell it. Luckily, when the Portland man arrived early for his showing, I had not yet left, so I was there to answer his MANY questions about the property. We spoke for 30 minutes before his agent arrived. Later, after my security cameras alerted me that people had left, I returned, only to find him still roaming the property. We spoke another two hours and that night received an offer: a solid, above asking price offer that we were happy to accept. That was June 1st.
Today is July 1st. So many things have happened in this whirlwind of a month. Rochelle and I have finished our work for the State of Washington. We have moved out of the house and are just about to close on the deal--only a few more days to go! I have gotten to know the buyers quite well. He and I are kind of kindred spirits, as my wife labeled us. He sees what I saw eight years ago: the unique beauty and potential of our property and the quality of the improvements we made. He shares my motto: "If it's worth doing, it's worth overdoing". He was not scared by the cistern, the generator, or the train horn. No, those were welcome additions, and the 1500 square foot greenhouse is what sealed the deal for his wife. No more Portland crime for them, now it's just peace and quiet on a single lane dirt road just outside of Tumwater in the shadow of Mt. Rainier.
We plan to move aboard Karma permanently very soon; just one thing needs to happen before that, and that is we need to pay off the loan on the boat. Apparently, boat lenders don't want you to actually use the boat you have bought. No worries! Once the house closes, the boat will be paid off. I don't know, I'm not a banker, but they are missing out on a great opportunity here. It's not the liveaboard boats that are sinking, it's the ones that are left un-maintained for weeks at a time. A broker once told me that boats that have people living on them don't leak, period. I find that true.
I think that this is all there is to say of July 1st, it has now gone by and ... well, you'll need to read my next blog post to hear how it all turned out. Until then, Rochelle will likely put together a wonderful post of her experiences over the last few months, too. And then, it will be all about Karma and her adventures!