Earlier this month we drove with the kids to a fancy stucco office complex to sign papers and finally close the sale of the house. Eight months, two buyers and one kitchen fire after becoming debt free (except the house) we are no longer homeowners.
Now we are completely debt free!
The selling process isn’t something that I will remember fondly. We had a fantastic agent, but showings, price negotiations, inspections and appraisals aren’t fun to deal with. Living in an apartment the last 5 months of the process helped reduce the pressure of having a clean house for showings, but I felt like I had a part time job with the amount of time required by checking up on the house and managing the flow of paperwork between the insurance company, mortgage company and contractor.
The house didn’t stay on the market very long before we had an offer: three weeks the first time, and four days the second. But the under contract phase came with added stress because we had so many expectations built into the house selling. Our speech was riddled with the phrases like “When the house sells” and “After we sell the house.” We had subconsciously put our life on hold until the sale completed and any hiccup in the process would result in an emotional catharsis.
When the closing date was cancelled due to a paperwork snafu at the mortgage lender we were back in the waiting game and since it was affecting our travel plans it also affected our emotions. We were anything but full of joy. We realized what we were doing and decided to find joy in every situation, house sale or not. We let go of our travel plans and trusted God’s timing.
Thankfully the house closed 5 days after the missed closing date and funded the next business day. We learned a valuable lesson of holding loosely to our plans and instead holding tightly to God.
Reason for selling
With the prolonged process we had plenty of time to revisit our reasons for selling. “What are we doing?” “Is this a mistake?” “What if we hate travel?” were all doubts that ran through our head.
We are selling the house so that we can focus all of our time, energy and money toward being digital tentmakers and slow travel as a family. We think it will be easier to leave town for months at a time if we only have a small apartment that we can lock up before taking off.
In going from 2,400 sq. ft. of living space down to 1,400 sq. ft. we’ve reduced our expenses and the amount of stuff we have to manage. We no longer have shelves full of stuff we never use sitting idly taking up space. We’ve become minimalist to the point of being able to live with just a backpack and a laptop if we chose.
Relief or Regret
A former colleague said that after a big decision is made you either feel relief or regret and that lets you know whether the decision was right or wrong. After the house sale was complete we felt an overwhelming feeling of relief! I’m talking a dancing with my hands in the air like I just don’t care kind of relief!
We’re not trying to say that owning a home is bad. For most people it’s a great choice. For us owning a home doesn’t represent the kind of life we want to lead right now. Last weekend I helped friends move into a 3,500 sq. ft. house and it reinforced in me that I prefer our smaller space and the lack of maintenance it represents.
Will we buy another house?
People have asked us if we’ll ever buy a house again and our answer is “Probably, but not soon.” When we do buy real estate again we are going to try and do the 100% down plan. I never want to ever deal with another mortgage company ever again. And I never want to have so much of our financial life wrapped up in one transaction.
For now we are very content. We love our apartment. We love the location. We love that we’re across the street from a movie theater and that we can walk to a several stores and pretend to be urbanites. There’s a possibility that we won’t renew the lease and become totally nomadic, but that is a future decision.
For now we’re excited about this new chapter of life and even more excited to be traveling soon!