Adios, Sayonara, Arrivederci, and Goodbye to Our Old House

Our old house in SE Texas has finally sold!

The irony was that it didn’t move at all in the beginning, but things happened fast in the last three weeks.

People were FIGHTING over the property at the end. Unfortunately, we had already accepted an offer from the man who jumped at it first, so the others were left trying to finagle a new deal. We had backup contracts in case the first guy defaulted, but his wife wanted the property, and you know how that is. When a wife wants something, she’s going to get it.

The only thing that mattered to me is that we had enough to pay off our current house. As of today, we are completely solvent, not beholding to anyone.

This will make the fourth house we ever paid off. Unless we decide to downsize, this will also be the last house we pay off.

I have waited a long time for this day.

The weeks leading up to the sale is why I had been so frazzled as of late. We had to empty the house and workshop and be done with it once and for all. That took many trips back and forth. Then we had a massive dead pine tree that could’ve fallen either way. The bad thing was, it was too big even for us to handle. Somehow it fell neatly in the best possible place in three chunks. I think God took pity on us at that point and let it fall without hurting anyone or anything.

timber
The fallen tree was so long I couldn’t get the whole thing in one frame.

We had several offers come in at once. Some were low-ballers, others were legitimate. The person I had hoped would get it needed the property rezoned but the city turned her down. She wanted to build a seniors center complete with a park, several gardens, and walking trails.

Another buyer had his attorney write out a contract with a lot of verbiage even our realtor didn’t understand. We countered with a simpler contract and without all the stipulations he had requested. He said he had to think about it. That’s when another guy showed up with a cash offer and signed a contract on the spot. We took it.

Apparently, there was a lot of back-end tongue wagging between these last two buyers. The one who had to think about it wanted the property badly, but the one who signed said his wife wanted it and that’s all that mattered. He plans to bulldoze the little house that’s on it now and build her a mansion. I hope they live a long and healthy life there. It’s a beautiful piece of property–one of the few left with that much forested acreage intact.

Greg saying goodbye
Greg saying goodbye for good.

It had been our first homestead. We raised chickens, ducks, rabbits, hogs, rheas, and emu. We weathered hurricanes and a terrible fire that took the lives of two of our dogs.

When we bought the place in 1986, the woods had been so overgrown you could get lost. (I did get lost once!) We tamed it with nothing but machetes and chain saws until we could afford a tractor.

We bought the property from a good friend, an English lady who somehow never lost her lovely accent even though she had lived in the US for 40 years.

She had wanted to homestead there, but time slipped away and she and her husband grew too old. She knew we could make it and she wanted the place to go to people who could pick up where they left off.

I learned how to garden there and my neighbor taught me to crochet and bake pies. (My pies were never as pretty as hers.) It was a good time to grow up in the country. But it’s not country anymore. What was once the backwoods is now a full fledged city with paved streets, a library, a police department, and several schools.

It had changed with the times, but I think I’ll always remember it the way I saw it 30 years ago. For two young people, it was a pretty neat place to put down roots.

I think I want to rest now for a couple of weeks. I’ve had enough excitement to last me a while.

What’s been your wildest real estate venture? Weren’t you glad when it was all over? Good or bad, the experience wears you out.

 

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36 Comments

  1. WHOO, congratulations! I know you’ve waited a very long time for that place to get out of your hair, and also DOUBLE congrats on paying off your current place at the same time. Our only debt is our mortgage, and Mr. Loper’s layoff last year would have been much less stressful if we hadn’t had the worry of potentially losing the house if he wasn’t able to find a job that paid as much.

    It’s amazing to see how things change over time. My grandparent’s neighborhood used to be surrounded by farmland. Now it’s all shopping centers, and even starting to get built up more the further east you go from town despite a lot of that STILL being farmland. It’s sad.

  2. Congratulations! That’s got to be a huge load off your minds – even though you’ll be parting with a home chock full of memories. :hugs:

    My first home was long before I got married and when I was ready to leave it, the bottom had just fallen out of the market. I ended up working a deal with someone who needed a house, but couldn’t get a mortgage – in a kind of ‘rent to own’ thing. It worked to get me out of Michigan, but I would never do that again.

    Buying this place was super easy, but finding it was an arduous journey. We actually paid for inspections on 4 homes all together, but for one reason or another the other 3 fell short. We almost bought a different house about 2 hours from here. If not for a butt-in-ski realtor who wanted us to sign stuff our lawyer told us not to, we’d be over there. I ought to send that witch a thank-you card. We’re so happy here.

    • BE: I’m glad you’re still happy with your choice. Nothing worse than buyer’s remorse–especially on such a big purchase.

      We looked for nearly a year for the place we have now. We put money down on a different place, but something made me back out. It was a queer feeling, like I was making a mistake. It was odd because the house was gorgeous, but I couldn’t sleep at night after I signed. The realtor sensed my apprehension and advised me to turn it down and keep looking.

      I’m glad I did. This house was a much better choice–and 80 grand cheaper.

  3. Rebekah: Thanks! It was stressful to have it hanging over our heads and constantly going down there to make sure the place was mowed and the house occasionally aired out.

    re: farmland
    I hear this story a lot. The Dallas suburb I live in before this place was like that. A neighbor told me it was all farmland 30 years before. Had he known how fast it would turn into a popular city he would’ve invested in property when he was a young.

    • It’s even more sad that those of us young people who want to invest in land now can’t because it’s so expensive. The best way is to inherit it, but in my case, 75% of my ancestors have immigrated in the last 150 years, so no one ever farmed much.

      • Rebekah: I guess it’s all speculation. Farmland is just farmland unless it’s nearby another big city that’s growing. Eventually you’ll get the spillover population.

        If I were speculating right now, I’d choose a place on the outskirts of a near-booming city. It might take ten years, but if I plan to resell the place, that would be ideal.

  4. JackieBCentralTexas

    What a wonderful 2-for-1 Maria, both loads gone in one fell swoop! Congratulations to you both.

    Our wildest real estate venture was 2 acre plot we had bought in South Texas with plans to develop it to move onto, 1-2 months later we moved so years later tired of paying property taxes plus hiring someone to mow it we put the land up for sale.

    The realtor had a six month contract and it expired, 6 months later out of the blue she called to see if we would accept a cash offer on the land.

    We did of course and next time we were in that area went to see what the new owner had done. For sale sign still there and no one was living on land but a 70 or so foot single wide mobile home was set up surrounded by grass and weeds so tall you would say it was probably abandoned.

    We later heard the man and wife divorced after losing their jobs and had sold the property.

    Glad the deal was done, you bet!

    • Marlene: I never expected another homesteader because the city had evolved too much.

      I think the buyer was really interested in the seclusion of the forest, which I don’t blame him. You can hide a big house back there.

  5. Congrats on selling the house! It is stressful isn’t it? Especially with all the different offers that come in and having to evaluate is it a good one, etc. We did make low ball offers on houses but then we also went the other way and were in some bidding wars that we eventually said “no” to.

    It sounds like your house went to the right people. I too hope they have many happy years there.

    And it is great that you no longer carry a mortgage on your present house! A good feeling.

    Our last house was a bit of a nightmare at closing, as you probably remember. This will more than likely be the last house we will own. We put a lot down on it so our monthly payments are very minimal. We’ll probably not pay it off in our lifetime.

    betty

    • Betty: You know better than most, huh? I don’t know why house sales are so stressful. Even the ones I thought would be easy give you gray hair. 🙂

      I’m just glad it’s over. Now we can enjoy our retirement in peace.

  6. Angela L Brown

    Congrats on getting the sell! It’s time for you to rest and relax a bit, even if for just a day. You and your honey have worked hard for this day. Enjoy it to the utmost 🙂

  7. Darke Conteur

    Congratulations! It seems like yesterday that your husband moved back with you. Ah how time files, eh?

    When we went to buy our first home, there was a beautiful small Victorian era home up for sale in the village close to us. It was in our price range, but it was a real fixer-upper and the garage had an industrial size oven (I kid you not) but not hooked up. I still have no idea why it was there. Anyway, we talked them down to a more reasonable price siting a list of things we’d have to do (and there was a lot including a ‘wow’ that just…well made you say wow), and they were just about to sign the contract when they got an offer for the full price. Our agent said they’d still sell to us if we matched, but I said now. Honestly, it wasn’t worth the full price. A few weeks later we found a second place and fell in love with it. We stipulated that the septic tank had to be inspected and oil tank had to be full when we took ownership and the woman went on a rant about how she wasn’t going to pay for the inspection and would add the price of a full tank of oil to the bill, until both our agent and hers informed her that she is required to pay for both. I’m not buying a rural home without knowing how well the septic tank is or the bed. Anyway, we got the house.

    • Susan: My whole life I wanted to be completely debt free from the big debts in life. We’ve tasted it only a few times, but this time it’s for good.

      I hope you’ll be able to downsize. As much as it may mean to the kids, you should live the way you want now. It’s time to make new memories. 🙂

  8. Congrats on the sale and being debt free. Sounds awesome.

    Our wildest real estate adventure was having our current home built. Those builders were the worst. If we had waited another year, we probably could have found a better place/deal, but I really wanted out of our one-bathroom home. Oh well, it is what it is.

  9. Anne Gallagher

    I almost feel like crying. I know you needed to sell the house, but it’s so sad to say good-bye to a place you once lived and loved. Still, I’m happy for you and Greg. Now you can rest. And maybe take a vacation.

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