Thursday, April 28, 2011

To Sell or Not To Sell

Well, really, we are going to sell, the question is what offer will work. Or, now that we've had two offer negotiations turn out to not work out, will we get any more offers? Should we have gone with one of those?

We reduced the price of the house down to the bone - the minimum amount we felt like we could walk away with, which is a sad, sad, paltry amount for having lived here for 10 years and putting in bamboo floors and fancy-shmancy triple pane windows that cost us a fortune while living here. And that brought in offers - two. However, both wanted us to pay all of their closing costs. And one of them also offered under asking, wanted a home warranty and our washer and dryer. We tried to negotiate, but it pretty much came down to they had no more money and we didn't want to be empty handed when all was said and done.

Now, we've decided to up the price, but also say upfront that we'll over a certain amount of closing costs. We'll see how that goes. Interest has continued to be there. We had someone come look yesterday and another showing on Saturday. It's less than the first week after we first did the massive price drop, but still, people are looking.

We're really hoped that we'd have an offer in the bag before I left for China, but that doesn't seem to be what will happen. So, I've left a power of attorney for Anthony so he can accept an offer while I'm gone if he thinks it's a good one.

So, the China thing. Yeah, I'm off to China for two weeks with two of my best high school friends. Being able to go is thanks to my parents who a) took care of my plane flight and b) have come to stay with my family while I'm gone.

It's hard for me to do stuff like this for myself, as I feel somewhat guilty that I'm spending money and it's just for me. It does make for mixed feelings as the date draws close, but I'm trying to just be excited.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Keeping Busy!

We've had a lot of action on the house, including one offer, but no sale yet. The one offer was from the family who looked last weekend, but we were really out of their price range, so their offer was not very good. We did counter offer, but it wasn't enough to make it workable for them, so it was a no go.

However, we had another family look on Saturday, another scheduled showing on Monday (although it appears that one was a no show), yet another scheduled for tomorrow and our realitor has spoken with another realitor about having a showing later this week, but we haven't heard from that person yet. So, lots of interest and we're feeling like an acceptable offer will come our way in the not too distant future.

Meanwhile, we're doing a little looking around for the move. We're interested in these places. They'll be ready for move in in August or September, so if we go that way, we'll definitely have to find an interim place to live, which will be challenging with all of the animals. In light of that and feeling like our cats aren't getting the sort of care and attention they deserve, we're looking for good homes for most of them. It's hard because we love them, but we do think it's best for them.

Davan's Tic Toc show kept us very busy over the weekend, especially combined with the various home shows! This is the first day we're not at Do Jump in a week. Whew. The 100 Echos show was great, though. Davan had a ton of fun doing it and loved spending so much time with her friends. She was in a lot of the pieces for the show and really enjoyed the hustle and bustle of it all. She got to do a lot of acting, which was fun and pretty new for her.

Additionally, we've been trying to get out and enjoy the last couple of days that have actually been sunny! Spring is late in coming here in the Pacific Northwest this year and we've yet to have a truly warm day. The last couple have been sunny and knocking on 60, though, so that's been nice.

Friday, April 15, 2011

House Stuff

One of the big things that has happened this year is that we've decided to move. I've blogged about wanting to move before. We've gone back and forth on this for a long time. Looking at houses the time we ended up here, we looked both here in Gresham and in SE Portland, but there were a variety of reasons for ending up here - mostly Anthony's needs in regards to size and having a garage. I didn't hugely object, so here we are.

And, really, it's been fine living here. We like our house quite well. Our neighborhood is nice. There is a park just a couple blocks away. Davan's best friend when she was 4-9ish lives about a quarter mile from here. We can walk into downtown Gresham, which I do frequently, to visit the library. We live in a good place to start long out of city bike rides. We had a great homeschool Girl Scout troop which met just a couple miles from our house for many years and provided us with good friends.

However, there are the down sides, too. Anthony's commute takes him 1 - 1.5 hours each way by bike, bus or MAX (our light rail). I hate yard work and no one else is willing to step up to it, either. The house is larger than our current needs. Most of Davan's interests take us into SE Portland, which means a lot of driving. I really like urban living. I'd love to live closer to downtown. I want to be able to ride/walk most anywhere we want to go. It's really windy here a lot and that actually goes away just 10 miles to the west of us - our target area.

All-in-all, we decided we were ready to move - to heck with the cost and inconvenience of moving. Of course, just now is a bad time to be selling a house. We put the house on the market in October, having invested several months in sprucing it up. We started with too high an asking price - $198,000.

Just after we put the house up, a house nearby, not nearly as nice as ours, went for $168,000 and we were shocked by house cheap it was. It should have been a sign to drop our price significantly. We did drop, but not that much.

Shortly there after, about a dozen houses in our immediate neighborhood went up for sale. Mostly foreclosures. Prices dropped. We've been steadily dropping.

We're now down to $165,000. If we'd started out at $175,000, we have no doubt the house would have sold. It's a bummer, to be sure, but we are so ready to move that we've just bitten the bullet and we're doing it.

The light at the end of the tunnel is this. We dropped the price to $165,000 just on Wednesday evening. Thursday, we got a call from a realitor wanting to show the place that evening. It was a last minute thing for me, not having gotten the call when it first came and ending up with a 25 minute window in which to make the house presentable and put away the groceries I'd been out buying when I finally noticed the message waiting.

The realitor called right after showing the house, wanting to set up another time to see it the next day (today). She said, "The wife is ready to go, but wants the husband to see it to make sure. He got called away at the last minute today."

So, this evening, while we're off taking Davan to her dress rehearsal for 100 Echos, the couple will be looking at our house. We're trying to not get too worked up - who knows if the husband will like it? Who knows if they'll make a reasonable (to us that means full price right now) offer? However, we are really hoping this will be it. Really hoping.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

I'm Back (Again!)

We've once again got internet service at home. I've missed blogging and am planning on posting semi regularly again. I was hemming and hawing about what I should blog to start with, but decided that if I waited to make it a good one, it might not happen. So, it just is what it is.

When I was last regularly posting, it was about a year ago when Anthony was facing the set backs at work. While I posted for a while from the library, and then sporadically there after, it was all pretty hit or miss, so a brief update from the year is in order.

Anthony continued with his reduced hours into the fall, but we did fine with budgeting, didn't really suffer much in a financial way and enjoyed having him home for a three day weekend every week.

Because we were doing okay with money and the dog wanting continued, we adopted Ranger at the end of July.

Actually, as I see when I look the picture folder, July was a busy month, with a foreign exchange student for a few weeks:
(On the very hiking trip shown above, I lost our camera to the stream. It was very sad - it just rolled right down the bank and into the water. We lived without for many months, then bit the bullet and purchased another. This picture was off of our student's camera. )

Several day hiking trips - this one is to Castle Craig, which was very cool:

Two back packing trips - one was very laid back with doing 9 miles in three days up to a favorite spot - Elk Meadows:

While the other was much more hard core - 5 days and 48 miles in the Bull of the Woods area. Just to make it more challenging, Davan was sick for the first couple of days on this one:
And, last, but not least, Davan's first away camp. She was gone for a week. She loved the camp overall, but there were food issues (short version - they said they were fine with accommodating vegan, but it wasn't true):

And that was just July! Actually, most of the other months this year weren't quite so packed and some highlights I've already posted here.

We did do a fair amount of camping and hiking this summer, but that was fit around Davan's heavy camp schedule. She pretty much taught a camp or participated in a camp or sometimes both most weeks over the summer. She did several Do Jump camps, an AWOL camp, the above away camp, and then taught younger kids at Do Jump as well.

In the fall, she started up with Zig Zags again and, also, by jumping on the opportunity when a couple of kids pulled out of Tic Tocs (the younger performance troop at Do Jump) at the last minute, has been doing Tic Tocs this year as well. She's been quite busy between both troops, two adult classes at Do Jump, a class at AWOL (just in the fall), starting dance (jazz in the fall, with the addition of two classes of ballet a week this winter), a winter class at Night Flight, and teaching at Do Jump. Whew.

We've been able to pull all this off money-wise by both her and I doing work at Do Jump for work trade. She is teaching and I am doing office work. This has allowed us to pay very little out of pocket there.

Davan is into her performance season. She has a couple of dance competitions (one past, one yet to come), the Tic Toc show - 100 Echos - this weekend with last weekend being packed with extra rehearsal for said show, the Zig Zag show - Seeds of Hope - coming up for two weekends in May, plus, of course, extra rehearsals, and two dance recitals in June. One of the dance recitals will be similar to what she did in December, but the other is a whole show - Alice in Wonderland. She'll be dancing with her ballet class, but also got a part as the Jester, for which she gets to do a solo and a group dance. The solo is being crafted for her as a dance/cirque type piece and she's really excited about that. Extra rehearsals have started for that already, so we're fitting that in, too!

I've decided to do a triathlon again this summer, so I've been getting out on my bike and swimming regularly in addition to running with Ranger. When Ranger first came to live with us, I pretty much gave up bike riding in deference to taking her on walks and such, but I missed it and wanted the tri challenge again, so we're making it work.

And now, on with regular posts!