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Old 01-23-2012, 01:00 PM   #1
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Road Trips 2012 & Real Estate

For the last couple of years I have had threads on our road trips. But this year is frustratingly different.

We have made no plans for travel in 2012. Because we are trying to sell our house ourselves, we plan to stay close to home or be easily reachable by cellphone or internet. I want to take a trip and am frustrated by feeling tethered here.

The first year we had our house on the market, we spent 8 weeks on the road to Alaska and back, but we had a realtor. Last year we started out taking short trips because we hoped we would finally get an offer, but the trips got longer as the (non)selling spring and summer season went on and on.

Our problem is we love to travel and enjoy our Airstream. Winter is too long only because it stops us from taking the trailer. Otherwise, we like winter.

We let the contract with the realtor expire last Oct. 1. He did a good job for us in 2000 when we were looking for a house, but selling seems not to be his strong point. We had to take the photos, proof read the listing (numerous spelling problems and things left out) and write the blurb. But there are few realtors around here with a good reputation.

It is has been a relief not to have to worry about whether some realtor will call and surprise you with a visit in 20 minutes. There’s a difference between a clean house and one ready for a showing. A house has to be unnaturally uncluttered for showings. It has been nice to have a vacation from that.

But it is time to get serious.

I’ve gone through a book on selling it yourself. The book was pretty simple, but had information on websites where I can get the property listed at very low cost. We decided to offer a one-year home warranty to attract buyers. I will take new photos of the house with the new camera. We will list it on a log home site—the realtor said it wasn’t necessary, then he agreed to list it there, then never did; that sealed his fate. Instead of trying to sell the adjoining 10-acre lot separately from the house and 27 acres, we will package it as house, outbuildings and 37 acres (and the buyer can sell the lot later and make money). If we can sell both, it saves us a lot of trouble and means I’m not paying taxes on the lot forever (there are too many lots on the market around here). I can do the legal work myself, but have to make sure I’m up to date on any changes since I retired.

I am glad I will be able to do showings because I know more than any realtor about the property, and am very glad I can do the negotiating. I did negotiating for a living, so why should I trust anyone else to do it? And I can save a lot of money on commissions enabling us to offer the property at a lower price and make as much or more.

But, I want to drive!

Well, we went to Santa Fe (sans trailer) on Jan. 6 and spent 6 nights. We found 3 new restaurants—Tecolote (Sp.: owl) is very good for breakfast, Chocolate Maven is good for lunch and has lots of cookies and cakes to make you fat and happy (too hot upstairs, try to get table downstairs), and Lulu’s Chinese restaurant. SF is big on Asian, not so much on Chinese. Lulu’s was good if a little differently spiced, and much better than another Chinese restaurant we tried a couple of years ago. We also went to Blue Corn Café and had an excellent dinner (the one near the plaza is better than the one on the south side of town) and Zia is great for huevos rancheros. Chocolate Maven is not easy to find and parking is not easy either, but the food is good. SF is like that—hard to find places and hard to park.

We looked at some more houses and prices keep dropping. There are more foreclosures and short sales now and I think once we start looking for real we can find something that works for us. We had breakfast one day with the realtor and dinner on another. We enjoy getting to know her—she is not the typical one dimensional middle aged blonde suburban woman realtor. She is blonde, but is a former fine arts professor who decided to try something else and is successful at it.

Weighing on us is the fact that Barb’s parents and other relatives keep getting older. Two broken bones in the past month have put us through changes—do we go there to help? What is going on? Everyone eventually goes through this and no one is fully prepared.

Trailer is sleeping now. About an inch of snow on top—was about 3, but melting fast.

Last year we found that packing and unpacking takes about the same amount of time for a 3 night trip as a two or three week or longer trip. But I think we are limited to short trips for the foreseeable future. I want to go to Newfoundland! I must control myself.

Gene
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Old 01-23-2012, 07:53 PM   #2
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Well, good luck. My fingers and toes are crossed for you.

Hope that 2012 brings you a sale and more road time in your Airstream.


Maggie
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Old 01-23-2012, 08:36 PM   #3
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Gene:

I have enjoyed your threads and travels (a vicarious enjoyment), and seriously would hate to miss out on your adventures. I hope you sell soon (pure selfishness on my part) in order that you will continue to share your and Barbs travels with us. Oh... yeah, also so you and your chainsaw can travel my way. That huge oak is still laying on the side 40 waiting to be cut and removed.

Terry.
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Old 01-24-2012, 09:27 AM   #4
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Thanks Terry, but compliments will not bring me and my chain saw to Tenn. I have a pile of wood I got from a friend and brought here last month waiting to be cut. Fortunately it snowed last night and I'll have to wait to do it for a few days.

I called the title company and got some information from them including closing fee ($390) and possible title insurance fee ($1,480). Ouch. This is not a surprise, but it still hurts since both of those are usually paid by the seller in Colorado. The good news is they don't charge double for 2 lots. Sometimes it is possible to get a discount by asking for it, so we'll see. One way to get rich is to own a title insurance company—very few claims, high premiums, they all are close in premiums so little competition. Also tried to reach our homeowner's insurance agent to find out about home warranty coverage, but he was out sick.

I have printed every possible form recommended by the state real estate commission. I've read these forms plenty of times, but they change from year to year and I have to go over them again. They are really boring. Some legalese excites me, but not these. I'm also starting to collect all the documents from the purchases of the property and a boundary adjustment we did so I can have files ready for a buyer and for closing.

Today I start checking out websites of companies that create websites for us and get "for sale by owner" (FSBO) people on the MLS.

The trees are covered in snow as is the trailer. It is very pretty out. I'm hoping Barb will decide to pick up a snow shovel.

Gene
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Old 01-24-2012, 10:57 AM   #5
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Hey Gene:

I understand "Some legalese excites me", as advances in the pharmaceutical field interests me (an R.Ph). As for the oak, too many commitments last year to attend to it, and now we've had too much rain this fall/winter and that area of our property is purely clay (read: slippery & muddy). Funny about Barb & the snow. Last year we did get quite an amount of snow and Natalie came out and helped me shovel off our drive (about 200') and then the neighbors using standard flat ended shovels. Consequently, we went out and bought a snow shovel (after being here 17+ yrs.) and haven't used it yet. Maybe a good sign. Again good luck on your pursuit.

Terry.
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Old 01-24-2012, 11:30 AM   #6
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Question "Some legalese excites me"

Gene,



I too was curious....is there such a thing as "explicit legalese"? If so how do I subscribe? I'm thinking oxymoron.

Hope you'r successful with the sale. Is Santa Fe the final destination?

We also have been kept in our area by Family concerns these last few Seasons, I know how frustrating it can be. Hard to come to terms with the guilt if something should happen and you weren't there to help.

Best to all, keep us posted.

BUFF Bob
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Old 01-24-2012, 11:34 AM   #7
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I don't know why Barb wouldn't want to shovel three little inches of powdery snow. She says she's "sick". Yes, she caught a cold, perhaps in Santa Fe, and then she gave it to me, but now she seems to be having a relapse. Snow shoveling makes you strong! It cures colds! I had to do the back so I could sweep the snow off the dish. Now I'm going to moan for a few hours, say I'm sick again, and maybe she'll feel sorry for me and do the front.

We had 3" when we were both sick and no one shoveled it and it melted and came back as ice, so we need Terry to come here and shovel snow and cut my wood pile. Terry is much younger than me, so I would think he'd care about the elderly. In fact, he could buy our house and then he'd be shoveling his own snow and he can have the wood—we still have about a cord of cut wood too. At the least, he can FedEx that oak tree here. By the way, owning a shovel does not prevent snow—we have two for snow plus others for dirt—and it snows here anyway.

Yesterday I figured out our heating costs and though our central heat is electric, our costs were far less than US averages for natural gas. I found the national averages last week and was surprised how close gas ($724) and electric ($957) were. Fuel oil was $2,298. With electric I had to compare months without A/C or heat with winter months to get some sort of number. I came up with $430 for heating. We burn a lot of wood (the finished basement doesn't get the benefit of that since the wood stove is on the first floor), but even of we didn't burn wood and heat cost was 50% more, it would still be less than the average for natural gas.

The mass of the house holds heat for a long time. The logs are big—as much as 12"—and only were debarked, so the outer layers—much less dense—are still there. That means more air pockets to act as an insulator. The roof was superinsulated by the previous owner and all the windows are low-e, double pane. The orientation of the house promotes solar gain in the winter and deep eaves keep out the summer sun. So all these things to cut heating costs do make a difference.

All through the sickness period, I've been 2 days behind Barb. Last week it was a typical cold and not a very bad one. Bad enough to tire us and cause some coughing, but we could still function though at a low level. Living in a somewhat isolated area, and not having kids and not working, we are not exposed to colds or flu very often. When we do get something, it lasts for a day or two and then we're done with it. This has made us feel superior to those people who get long miserable colds—every time I feel superior I get my comeuppance. About 2 days ago, after feeling good for a few days, she said she had a headache and then she had stomach cramps. This was not like either a normal cold or flu, so we wondered if she had something bad to eat that I didn't eat. As I've been typing, I've started to feel a headache. I am not happy about this. I'd better bring her the shovel before I have to spend an inordinate amount of time on the throne.

It is snowing again.

Gene
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Old 01-24-2012, 12:05 PM   #8
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Gene,

You wouldn't believe Buffalo so far this year...5in TOTAL. 35 and rain today.
I think Al G. is responsible.

Let us know if you need help...got a few of the Forever's left, I could send a generic get well.

Gotta go...now where did I put that shovel ?

Bob
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Old 01-24-2012, 12:38 PM   #9
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Bob, I remember a winter in the '70's where flowers were blooming in December, but a few years later, 199+" of snow and the next year, 165". There's always a payback.

The good thing about a cold is I get to rest for a while, but the bad thing I can't enjoy it.
I could catch up on reading, but I don't care enough. I may feel miserable at times, but no one gives any sympathy when you have a cold. I can't stand spending a day in bed, but I don't get much done anyway.

But there is the Forum's winter babble as evidenced by crazy and/or funny threads like Sex in an Airstream and the resurrection of The Argue Thread. I am not responsible for anything I have posted there because I am sick.

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Old 01-24-2012, 01:00 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by ROBERT CROSS View Post
Gene,



I too was curious....is there such a thing as "explicit legalese"? If so how do I subscribe? I'm thinking oxymoron.

BUFF Bob
Umm, yes, this would be my thought. I thought legalese was designed to be non-specific!


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Old 01-24-2012, 01:05 PM   #11
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Hope y'all are feeling well soon.

If it is any consolation, Doug and I both contracted something from the last visit with the grandbabies. Cold-ish virusy thing that felt almost like allergies. Intense but short-lived.


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Old 01-25-2012, 11:25 AM   #12
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OK, Gene thinks he is funny! Gosh Gene... you misjudge me, I do care about the elderly, that's why I'm in the profession I'm in and said elderly "monopolize" a lot of my time, which I graciously give. I primarily deal with "the elderly" - term used loosely, noting & considering all the piss, moaning & groaning your doing of lately, LOL (your not as old as you sound/portray, recall - we've met.... you've got a lot of years to go, and it takes a lot to get my sympathy), soccer mom's w/ sick kids, and drug addicts. Ergo I rarely get sick, guess b/c I'm constantly exposed to....., you name it. As far as really caring for the elderly, I can't tell you just how much I do care. In fact, when Hurricane Lee blew thru (Labor Day weekend) and took down aprox. 1/2 dozen trees or so on our "god's little acre" which fell on opposing lot lines, one neighbor (late 70's - early 80's) came out and helped me clear "his" side. After his chain saw broke (actual or not) I GAVE him my spare one (see I do care ). As far as helping you....... Well, here's food for thought. You and Barb are welcome to come out to TN and roam this side of the US. The Blue Ridge Mts. and Appalachian are worth the trip in and of themselves. You could even bring your little sports car and tour the "tail of the dragon" (or perhaps, I'm sure Natalie won't mind letting you use her G37S). You are also welcome to use our house as your primary base on this side of the US. In return, Natalie & I will house sit for you and act as your proxy should an interested party to your house & property arise while your out & about! Just let me know when to put in my vacation time & pack the AS (we made it to Albuquerque in 2 & 1/2 days), I'm at about 10 weeks now! Which, considering my schedule, equates to about 5 months off.
Hope your feeling better soon. In fact, if you need to spend a day or two in bed, spend them in the AS and let the rest of us know what you come up with......, in the "sex in an AS" thread of course, .

Regards, Terry.
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Old 01-25-2012, 01:12 PM   #13
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Legalese is meant to be either specific or vague depending on the situation. You are not supposed to understand it. Hobos and teenagers have jargon, so do we.

Terry, who are the pretty girls next to the car? The photo is too small to see well. Glad to hear you are helping old people; we really need it. I do remember meeting you, though in then next few days at the rally, I never saw you again. Since there were 100+ Airstreams, I guess that doesn't mean you were exclusively gathering data in your trailer for the Sex in an Airstream thread. Just too many of us to find anyone again. Watch out or I might just show up in Tenn.

The cold is less evil today and Barb seems to be much better. She did clean the front steps and around the truck yesterday, so I'll keep her. I'm reviewing websites for FSBO. I found one for luxury homes (a rather broad definition it appears since one I looked at was hardly a luxury home) that may be useful and is only $99 for a permanent listing. I got through several websites before my headache came back. Today I hope to do better.

My tentative plan: list house, sell house soon, move to rental house in Santa Fe, settle in a bit and check out market, take some short trips around NM—nice state parks there, look harder for a great house sold cheap probably needing a lot of remodeling, buy, settle in, take longer trip—maybe N. Cal. and Oregon, remodel new house. All this should be complete by November. This may be unrealistic, but you gotta have goals.

Gene
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Old 01-25-2012, 01:56 PM   #14
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gene your story sounds alot like ours. we decided to downsize from the house i built for us that just ended up being too big. we moved down out of the permafrost into town. the realtor we hired was real good at pointing out all the little piddly stuff that he felt was preventing him from selling the place. i think he showed it to one or two people that were really just out looking to kill a little time and that was about it. the realtors contract ran out (6 months i think it was) and we went on line to some site that we listed the house on ourselves and put up a for sale by owner sign about two weeks later some guy was driving by and called me and within a week i sold it myself (cash deal)....we got really lucky, i know. but it can be done! and i think in this market people are more willing to keep the middle man out of the deal to save some money. by the way we never got any bites from the online site either. at any rate good luck

p.s. the realsnake agent that couldn't sell my house later showed me a commercial property. i could tell that the guy who was leasing the bldg. for his small business was surprised when we showed up to look at it. i went back later without the realsnake and found out the guy had no idea the owner, who was the parents of the main realsnake in that viper pit. were trying to sell the place and they were trying to use me as his eviction notice! so away i walked. don't want that on my karma. needless to say, i don't hold them realsnakes in very high regard.
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