Thursday, March 28, 2013

Selling everything (including updating and selling the house!)

There is so much to do when you are downsizing your life from a three bedroom house to a few suitcases.  We have spent the last few months working full time on this!

We held our last garage sale, craigslisted, freecycled, donated, got the house ready for sale, put it on the market and are now into escrow.  The garage sale was great.  Like the last one, we priced everything to sell, not to make money.  I want our former stuff in a home where the people want it.  Here's a shot before the garage sale of some of the stuff that we sold during it:




Even the shelves that we had everything on sold.  The day before the garage sale, Scott's former director came and bought ALL of his power tools.  Really remarkable if you know how many he had! 

In 2009, we updated our kitchen to a gourmet one and needed to bring the rest of the house up to the standard we'd set in order to make the most money on the house sale.  We spent about a month working with Joe Ryan, an excellent general contractor, on doing just that.  He allowed Scott and I to assist instead of paying for his crew whenever possible.  He did bring his guys in for painting and some other detail work that we are not professionals at doing.  His nickname during this project became "Incredible Joe" due to his versatility and knowledge in all areas of construction.

Here are some of the changes:

Entry door with little curb appeal
Much better curb appeal!
Joe also put in a gas fireplace insert where our wood burning one had been.  Our agent had suggested removing the wood burning insert and reestablishing as it as just a normal fireplace as well as replacing the green tile (dated) with granite.  Well once we had the wood burning one removed, this is what we had left:
That would not do!  Scott and I drove around to fireplace shops looking for a quick gas insert solution.  Everyone had a 6-8 week timeline to have one installed.  Joe told us that if we could buy an insert, he could install it.  Yippee!  Incredible Joe came to the rescue several times and this was the biggest one!  We showed up at the Energy House in San Carlos and presented our "sob" story to Frank.  He had an attractive insert available and we could have it within a week.  Sold!
Finished gas insert in use!

The granite around the fireplace is a story unto itself.  We bought it at Terico's in San Jose and Joe picked it up on a Monday and drove to our house.  We had to choose to either have it fabricated for us by someone or fabricating it in front of our house with Joe's experience and expertise.  We chose the latter (sounded like more fun and we'd get to help!). 
  
Fabricating granite in front of our house

There were some hairy times and one broken piece of granite (no issue though as we had enough to make up for it) but it all turned out great.  The broken piece did give us all a huge scare though as we were inside eating lunch when a wind gust occurred.  We heard a crash and all had a look of terror on our faces - "did the big piece just fall off of the truck?" kind of a look.  Thank goodness it was just a small replaceable piece that had fallen over.  Back to lunch and a good (nervous) laugh. 

Joe also remodeled our bathroom that was original to the 1961 home.  It had gotten so bad that we quit using it about 4 years ago.  With just the two of us, we had no problem living with just one bathroom.  However, the house could not go on the market the way it was.  Here's the new bathroom for those of you who knew our old one:
What a difference!
To illustrate just how tight our timeline was, our house was being staged on the same day that we were installing the mirror in the bathroom.  Incredible Joe came by to assist. 

The house went on the market on March 15 and sold in seven days for over asking!  We are excitedly awaiting the April 12 closing date.  Almost everything is packed or sold.  The house is very empty but it is thrilling that we are so close to moving to Ecuador!  Extremely exiting times in our lives!

Finally, an update on our previous list:

  1. Sell or donate all furniture in our house.  Update:  Done
  2. Complete the few portions of our house that still need remodeling:  Master bath & entry way being the two biggest. Update:  Done
  3. Hire realtor & sell house.  Update:  Done
  4. Find a new home for our cat, Cleo.  Update:  Done 
  5. Obtain and have apostilled our birth certificates, marriage certificate, police records, etc.  Also need them all translated into Spanish but we can do that in Ecuador if necessary.  They all need to be within 90 days of applying for permanent residency (cedula) so until we have a date, I'm putting this off.  Update:  We still don't have a firm date so still putting off.  However, we do need to drive to LA to obtain a copy of our marriage license.  The wait times for mailed requests are ridiculous and wait times for in person are hours.  One of the disadvantages of living in a state that is almost bankrupt!
  6. Sell my car.  Update:  Daughter & son-in-law now own the car :)
  7. Go through the paperwork filling the office & shred or scan into electronic form. Update: Done

Until next time,
Emily

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