Wednesday, July 1, 2009

one down, two to go...

wifey and i drove up to north ga. monday to close the sale of my son's former house up here. the transaction went smoothly at the attorney's office tuesday morning, and the money is now in the bank. it was a losing proposition; we paid cash in aug. '05 (and moved son up here on katrina weekend; scary!) with some of the proceeds from the sale of our business and investment properties in fla. the plan was for eric and his fiance to buy the place from us and have us finance the sale. well, we financed it all right, but problems between his fiance and him kept the actual sale from ever happening, and eric moved back to fla. last year.

we put the place on the market then with an agent last june but that was just as the financing bust was busting big, and the people who were interested in a 170k house couldn't get a mortgage without perfect credit and a huge down. so a few months ago, i put it up fsbo, offering to finance the sale for a buyer with decent credit and a decent down, at a price that reflected my not having to pay 12k in realtor fees. almost immediately we got a call from an agent who was handling the sale of a widow's house in a town an hour away, and the widow wanted to be nearer to her daughter and son-in-law. she would pay cash (awesome!), but it was contingent on closing the sale of her former home which in the new world of real estate wasn't a done deal until this past friday when her first sale closed. the agent settled for a flat 4k commission and the buyer assumed all the closing costs.

so even though we lost about 20k all told, it beats having the place sit empty and paying upkeep, plus at this point what was investment capital is now needed to pay off credit lines, etc. that we have had to use in the past year to live and help set up a new business. and thank God the real estate market in this area has remained a hell of a lot more stable than in fla...losing ten percent of our investment is bad enough, but right now homes in central fla. are selling for one-half or less of what they sold for a few years ago at the height of the bubble.

so all in all, we're happy that it's done. now we have another house near this one to sell (it's under lease-option to the original agent for the first one; the plan is for them to complete that purchase next year), plus the home in sebring, fla. where we're back to living fulltime will be sold too when (if) the market there recovers somewhat (400k paper value during the boom is at best 250 now) so that we can buy a place around ocala or gainesville.

and we couldn't have had better timing for our trip up to no. ga...fla has been insufferably hot and humid for the past two months, and here they've had a lovely cool snap that has brought the 50's and 60's overnight and far less humidity. we decided to drive another half hour up to blue ridge and rent a cabin with a view for a few nights before heading back to hades...i mean florida. and right now i'm sitting on the porch overlooking miles of mountaintops and damn near chilly from the delightfully cool breeze. my sweetie and i will head into downtown in a little while for her to browse the antique shops here in blue ridge, and then come back to the cabin to grill a few steaks and enjoy the tranquility together over a couple glasses of wine.

life ain't perfect and never is, but it could sure be worse.



Bob said...

While the rest of the US retires to Florida, native Florida Crackers tend to retire to the North Carolina mountains, where they are roundly cursed by the local hillbillies for driving up prices and also for driving slowly on mountain roads.

Gainesville is my birthplace, and my first 17 years were spent in that part of Florida. A nice little town to investigate in that area would be Keystone Heights in Clay County; it's still a small town in a rural area low crime rate because of the demographic mix, and with lakes nearby both small and large; lakefront living is very pleasant, as I can attest from firsthand knowledge.

the pawnbroker said...

thanks for the tip, bob, we will definitely take a look at keystone heights.

as far as "floridiots"...that's what they call them in the mountain region of north ga-western nc-eastern tn...there'll be a lot less of them (us?) heading for those hills because they can't sell their fla houses. that hasn't made the hill folks happy though, because their income stream has taken a direct hit (several conversations today with shopowners in blue ridge, ga which is spittin' distance into nc...lots of tales of woe).

also, while a bunch of fla natives have headed to nc and surrounding areas to escape fla, the majority that have been buying property there have been so-called halfbacks; snowbirds who retired to fla years ago and went halfway back to be nearer relatives but with less ice and snow than "home". i suspect that most of the slow drivers fit that mold.