SELLING THE HOME
SOLD!!! And it is Bittersweet.
Although have wanted to move for many years, something always happened–the housing implosion, and then a foreclosure in the neighborhood that after 5 years is still affecting prices. But this was the year that there were actually Buyers and an offer–an acceptable offer.
Moved to The Lake fifteen years ago as always wanted to experience Lake Life. I found a new PUD–Planned Unit Development–which meant I had a lot of input, i.e., house design. Mine was the 3rd house to be built-in an HOA of 14 homes on 500+ feet of Lake shoreline.
Loved The Lake, house, people, HOA (more about that later). Even got used to a 20 minute drive to the closest full-service grocery store and two-hour trips to the Twin Cities (TC) of Minneapolis/St. Paul. Found there was a reliable shuttle service to the TC Airport which cost about the same as parking at the airport but was a lot less nerve-racking; no worrying about traffic delays as Road Construction is another name for Summer here in Minnesota. And winter road conditions are always iffy. Life is good.
Time to Make Changes
So Why in the World Would I Move?
The move to The Lake fifteen years ago was exciting as had planned and planned for it. I made this my year-round home so designed it with 4 bedrooms, 2.5 baths, four-season porch, in anticipation of lots of visitors, e.g., children visits. That didn’t pan out exactly as planned. Marriage, children, their own life, and a two-hour drive time soon chipped into the number of visits. And, my friends have their own Lake homes.
Have acquired five grandchildren since I moved here and they are now participating in sports. A two-hour, one-way, trip for a forty-five minute T-Ball game isn’t particularly convenient.
Then there are the activities in the TC I want to be involved in; participation that requires overnight stays.
Have become a Snowbird, plus like spending a month in San Francisco where one of my children and three Grands live. That means the house is empty for several months. It’s time to make changes, and Change is Good.
Selling Lake Real Estate
Lake home real estate sales in out-state Minnesota are a different animal than in a town/city. So selling lake homes presents challenges.
- Selling period is short–March to July. Buyers want to be on The Lake by Memorial Day. After July, they don’t have the sense of urgency as seasonal lake homes close up after Labor Day.
- Most are second home sales so buyers are looking for a bargain, even a fixer upper, and/or a cabin for weekend visits.
- The effects of the 2007 housing market crash are still felt in the second home market and even for year-round home owners who are typically older, retired.
- A foreclosure in the neighborhood is still, and will continue, to affect home prices.
- My house is:
- large–good (little do they know their kids aren’t coming every weekend either 😎)
- in a HOA–Bad
- on a popular fishing and recreational Lake–very good
- valued well over $200,000–very bad. No matter the location, homes priced over $200,000 are more difficult to sell
Hope springs eternal so have been putting my home on the real estate market every March for the past couple years. Everyone loved the house, hated the price, hated the HOA.
Simply put, HOA’s are anathema to the independent Minnesotan.
‘I can do that.” is the typical response to paying for lawn mowing. My response has always been,”What does it cost you?” Their response, “I already own a lawn mower.” My response, “How much does the lawn mower, gas, oil, maintenance cost?” Their response, 😖.
Must say the increasing prevalence of HOAs in Cities, has educated Lake home buyers to their benefits.
To my surprise, and my realtor’s joy, received an acceptable offer with a 90 day close, and I was homeless.
Where to Move
Am not a stranger to moving as was part of the Corporate Migratory Culture in the mid-sixties when people were transferred to further their career. Sometimes the moves were as frequent as six months, and then later, every time I got pregnant. I swear Corporate Office knew without telling, “His wife is pregnant; time for a transfer.” Had four Doctors with first two, then insisted on remaining behind until birth of third and last.
Housing design is important to me. Light and space, both inside and outside, affect my mood.
The Hidden Ways that Architecture Affects How You Feel Read more…
And am an Mid-Century Modern aficionado; not the most popular housing style. The clock was ticking and moving in with the kids was not a choice–my choice!
My first choice was to rent in Downtown TC and try out an urban lifestyle. Turns out there are many issues, but certainly appealing.
- Tons of rentals available
- Rates are double, triple what I was expecting, plus may be extra HOA and parking fees
- Even a two-bedroom is only 1000-1200 square feet
- No room for a Baby Grand piano–not ready to let that go
- It’s a Hot rental market–nothing available even three months out; well, nothing I wanted.
Second choice was to look at the Burbs:
- Lots of rentals
- Rates are ‘more’ reasonable
- Still small square footage
- More likely to include parking spaces
- More apt to find Townhouses with direct access to outside
In the end, decided I just couldn’t tolerate the confined apartment space with either no direct outside access, e.g., long hallways from parking garage and ‘balconies’ that would fit a chair but not with a body on it. I grew up on a farm and have lived in suburbs with large lots, and then on The Lake, so a Vista/View is important, preferably not into a neighbors living room.
Decided living in the same town as the Grands was the best choice. Happily, it is only forty-five minute drive to Downtown Minneapolis plus easy access to public transportation.
I did ask the Grand’s Parents if living so close by would be ‘comfortable’ for them. They immediately put me on the approved pickup list at the school; guess it’s OK. However, it’s a good question to ask before willy nilly showing up on their doorstep, so to speak.
Luckily, the housing market is also Hot in this essentially bedroom community and found a home to purchase with a quick closing date.
This home is 1000 square feet smaller than existing home, clean and well-maintained. It’s a typical suburban house with the current housing favorites–gables and a three-car garage. It’s on a cul-de-sac, has a decent sized yard and an open-floor plan. A big plus–walking distance to baseball field and school. A deck and patio will keep me from claustrophobia.
The house needs a few updates–flooring and paint. A roughed-in bath needs to be completed. And the neighbors have a direct view into the living areas; plants should help. All of these projects will keep me busy, at least for the summer.
For the first time ever, will not have a mortgage. Yes, mortgage rates are still low and leveraging is a good idea. However, I do have other investments and just feel good about not having to make that monthly payment.
Am thinking this house will be a bridge to an even smaller space in the near future. Taking baby steps is a good way to go even if it means downsizing to a home that would be a typical ‘starter house’ for a young couple. How bad can it be? Am already gone for the winter and planning a week or so at a Lake resort for next year.
Am saving the packing boxes–in that three-car garage.
I have the best of all possible worlds.