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Thursday, May 10, 2012

A Change of Plans

As I may (or may not) have mentioned, Pete works full-time, and my job is seasonal (April-Oct). During the lean winter months we cut our spending down to bare bones, turn off our satellite TV, don't do any traveling or eating out, and just basically pare down our expenses to the minimum.

When I am also working, we usually do a little more of the things we enjoy, as well as accomplishing something for either ourselves or the house or whatever with the extra income. And this year we were planning to accomplish some savings for our future house-on-wheels. But we've changed our plans.

Instead, we are going to put some money into fixing up the house in preparation for listing it in the spring.

Pete will become eligible for an early retirement when he turns 62 in December. As of now, I plan to keep working even after we move. With technology as it is, location isn't the issue as long as I have a fairly quiet environment with minimal interruptions, and an excellent reliable internet connection during business hours - and I can make that happen no matter whether I'm living in a house or a smaller dwelling on wheels. We will most likely stay in this area most of the time for a while anyway, as I am my mother's guardian and she resides in this town, and we help my daughter with her son as much as we can, and I'm not so sure I can tear myself away from my church family yet. But at least we will be freer to take more trips more often when we want to.

Anyway, this house - actually a mobile home in a nice neighborhood, permanently attached to a foundation, on a private lot - is in pretty good shape but if I want to get a decent price for it I want it to be in GREAT shape. So with my income this year we will do some painting, replace some carpet and flooring, do a few small repairs, get new curtains (I think my parrots would have preferred lace over the windows, and have been working at making that happen! For this reason I never buy expensive window treatments.), divest ourselves of as many of our belongings as possible, and so forth.

We live in a darling neighborhood on a hill that, from the road at least, has a nice little view of Houghton Lake. We're really close to lots of attractions and parks, and this area has year-round appeal as well as being gorgeous all year. We don't have a mortgage or credit card debt, so whatever we receive for our home is what we will have to spend to get started on our new life.

And there's the rub. The housing market is terribly slow, as everyone knows. In our area sometimes houses take years to sell. And we don't have good comparables in our neighborhood, since the last 2 sales - one directly across the street and one next door - both sold for less than half what I paid for this house in 2006! Granted, they were both "fixer-uppers" but still...I know I will have to take a loss when I sell. The question will be how much of a loss I will have to take.

This is why I want to make our house as attractive as possible before listing it. By putting some work (and money) into it now, I will hopefully come out better afterward, and THAT is when we will need the cash, when we make our big move into our new lifestyle.

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