Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Update on the house sale.

Well, here it is November 29th. I submitted the paperwork on Nov 12, but Cendant mucked around with the audit of our sale. They found out a sewer was being installed in the neighborhood, so they waited and investigated that for about 10 days. During that time, the counselor I'd been working with quit. So I had to start working with a new one, but she's been really helpful and nice.

Finally, I get a semi-maybe-kinda offer from Cendant, but they say they're going to hold back $5,000 from our final offer because of the sewer hookup. Now I'm upset, because we don't have to pay for a year (or so I was told), and it wasn't going to be $5K, it was going to be more like $1,300. So we go back and forth some more.

Finally, today, I hear from them again. Turns out it was closer to $5K and we'd have to pay the bill by the end of June, but Cendant apparently decided they could resell the house by then, or that it shouldn't be our responsibility, or something. So they made us an offer without taking out the $5k. Hurray!

Then I get a call from our agent back in Virginia. I thought she had stopped working for us, but apparently not. I don't know. I'm confused. She said our house was being shown for the third time to the same couple today and they were all excited about it.

-If- they made us an offer, and -if- it didn't fall through, and -if- it was for the full amount, we would have made an extra $6,000 or so on the sale of our house compared to selling it to Cendant. But our Cendant offer expires on Friday. We talked about if we should wait or not. Took about five minutes to come to a decision. We sold it to Cendant. So they should buy our house officially tomorrow morning and we'll be somewhat rich!

Saturday, November 12, 2005

We sold our house

Finally, we sold it. Not to a prospective house hunter, sadly. We took our safety net option and sold it to Cendant, our relocation company. Part of the relocation contract with NASA was the offer for them to buy our house if we couldn't sell it to anyone else.

Originally, we thought we wouldn't have any trouble selling our house. This was mid summer and the housing boom was booming away. When we first met our agent, we were hoping for a mild price increase of $60K over what we bought our house for. She suggested $140K, causing our jaws to hit the floor. Cool!

One reason we wanted to sell it to another buyer was that Cendant offers an incentive of 3% of the value on top of the sale price if we sell it to someone else. So we went to the trouble of updating the bathroom and keeping the house spotless until we moved.

However, we weren't getting many showings, so we dropped the price, then after a month, we dropped it again, to the appraised value. That was still a nice chunk of change, but disappointing after we thought we might get so much more.

Well, we waited and waited, but nothing. Bob told us that none of the other houses on the street have sold either. What's most frustrating though, is that 10 minutes away, townhomes are selling for $325K. Why buy a townhome for $100K more than a house, especially when the townhome is in an area that's getting horribly congested?

So Thursday we threw in the towel and sent off the paperwork to Cendant. While we won't make that $140K in profit we initially hoped for, we're still pretty happy. We might even be able to pay off our house here in Texas in full with the profits. Not bad for living in a place for three years.
I know I should really update this thing more often. I always thing about it, usually when I can't get to it, like at work, or when I'm off to the gym, or out shopping. When I get home, there's always a video game calling my name, or projects to work on, or other interesting things.

Lately, I've been on a home improvement / painting kick. I took two weeks off work to stay at home, burn up some use or lose leave and genally relax for the first time in eight months. Last year I was traveling 3 weeks a month to Alabama and couldn't really take any time off. Then I applied for and got a new job, which meant packing up and moving halfway across the country. Then I felt like I couldn't very well report in and then take a week or two off from my new job, so I wanted to wait a month or so. And then we had Hurricane's Katrina and Rita to deal with. Blah!

So the end of October came and I said enough. The temperature finally dropped below 90 degrees, allowing us to open the house up. I love have the windows open as much as possible, or I did until I realized our neighbors have a hound dog that howls at anything and everything. God I hate that dog. Now I know why people poison their neighbor's dogs. I wouldn't do that; I love animals too much. But I do yell at it. And grumble at the neighbors.

Anyway, I was in a painting mood. I took an old bookcase and painted it ivory, then scuffed it up and distressed it, then stained it brown. Gave it that old, country cottage look, and I think it turned out quite nicely. I was on a roll and decided my other bookcase needed something, but what? I thought and thought, and visited a half dozen different stores and lots of websites looking for ideas. I thought I could paint it a Moroccan theme, or Mexican, or put petroglyph paintings on it. I debated mosaics or decopage. Finally, I found it. In an import store, I saw a beautiful antique cabinet and decided to copy it. The bookcase was a plain dark wood, nothing fancy, but pretty and in good shape. I painted the entire thing a bright (shockingly so) turquoise blue. Then I sanded off as much as I could without tearing up the grain. After several sheets and pads of 60 grit sandpaper, I had most of the paint off and the remaining paint was nicely settled in the grooves of the wood. I like it. I think it's quite pretty. Now I just have to repaint the room it's in so it doesn't clash so badly.

Civilization 4 also came out while I was on vacation. I lost a good 4-5 days to that game. I've always loved sims and city-builders and this one didn't dissapoint. It's got a few bugs still to work out, like the fact that nukes do practically nothing to your enemy, but I'm sure they'll put out a patch or an expansion pack.

And last weekend, we went to the Texas Renassance Fair in Plantersville, TX. It was nice. It was probably a third larger than the Maryland Ren Fair. The weather was nice, althoug a tad on the hot side. It's the first weekend in November and the temperature was around 90 degrees. Sheesh. We saw Tartanic, a bagpipe rock group, and I picked up their CD. We watched the Mud Show, which turned out to be a very entertaining half hour of them asking for donations. We wandered around for several hours, snacking on empanadas, alligator bites, cinnamon pecans and various sundry faire food. The parade at noon was fun, and I saw some really nice costumes, along with some really bad ones. One lady had a full-length peacock feather cloak, and another guy was wearing a gorgeous red leather armor outfit.

Monday morning came, and after two weeks of sleeping in, the last thing I wanted to do was get up at 6 am. I gave serious thought to calling in sick, but ultimately dragged myself into work to accomplish a few things. Next week - Texas Recycles Day. Then off on another vacation to visit the parents for an early Thanksgiving. They're going to forget why they hired me.