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Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Closing the book

I just received the news that our home in Washington has been sold. It sounds easy enough. Find an agent, list the home, and sit back until a buyer comes along with an offer.

Well, it did seem easy...too easy. After a couple of days on the market, we had a full price offer. The next step was to get the house inspected. After the inspection, the buyer retracted the offer. It was a mystery as to why this happened. A week later, we had another offer. After the inspection, we were given the inspection report. OMG! The crawl space under the house was invaded by rodents. It was damp under the house. The plastic underlayment under the house was improper. The windows were leaking. The furnace was broken. The circuit breaker box was recalled...etc., etc., etc. 

Our realtor managed to get an estimate for the repairs. The rough estimate was over $30,000. We countered with a lower offer and the buyer quickly retracted the offer. Now what?

We received several low-ball offers (vultures), but we made up our minds to get the repairs done and rent the house out again. Our realtor stepped up and reassured us that we could sell for a good price and the $30K repair estimate was a bit of an overestimate. This turned out to be true as many of the items were not valid. The second inspection occurred on Friday-the-13th and I suspect the inspector was enjoying the irony of the whole thing.

Our third legitimate offer was the charm. Both realtors did a great job at coaching both parties to hang in there. After the third inspection, the Jacuzzi decided it wanted to leak. Why don't you put me out of my misery? What else could go wrong? The gutters need to be replaced. Thanks. Anything else? The exterior paint is peeling. Okay, so...Your former tenant is suing you because she fell through the deck. Wow, that's a good one. I'm numb, so give me some more stress (I replaced the deck before the house went on the market). You need to go to Fukuoka to get the closing paperwork notarized. When? By May 18th. I called the American Consulate and the soonest we could see them was on May 22nd. Another delay.

So, last week we closed up shop and took a trip to Fukuoka. We hired a dog sitter and we left the house at 6:00 to catch a bus in Yufuin. Travel time by bus is much quicker than by car. It took 2 hours to get there. We arrived a bit early, so we had a bite to eat and then proceeded to the American Consulate. I was expecting all kinds of things to go wrong. The signing went well and we thought we were "home free" (sorry for the pun). Well, we scheduled for the documents to be picked up when we got back from Fukuoka. Nope, that didn't work out. The driver showed up at 9am and our dog sitter called us. Erika had a fit! She was yelling at the UPS representative. The driver wasn't supposed to show up until 15:30. The driver didn't even have the proper size envelope for our documents as promised. She demanded to speak with the manager. After some heated discussion, it was decided to go to the Yufuin branch of Yamato (a sort of Japanese UPS) and drop the documents off in person. The supplied envelope was way too small, but we just shook our heads and tightly folded the 18 pages of closing paperwork. Who knew what would happen next...

Nothing! The paperwork arrived in Seattle on time. The house closed on the same day.
This is the end to a much longer story which started in 2010. This is when we tried to sell the house the first time. That was a nightmare that has lasted until today. Today is a day for celebration!! We can get on with our lives! We won't celebrate until this weekend as a bottle of really good wine (Thank you, Yoshikun) is waiting to be opened. Are we happy? No. Are we relieved? Yes. We needed to close the book on this part of our life and...we did.      George

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