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Best Things are not Free?
Old 10-22-2011, 05:01 PM   #1
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Best Things are not Free?

Since our progress from inception of where we wanted to move in Northern New England, and the long more than 4 year process to get there has been fraught with temporary roadblock after temporary roadblock that we have had to wrok through..... and we are almost there.... almost.

I would private message anyone all those tribulations if they really wanted to know them, but am wondering if there are others who planned an eventual retirement and had to work through roadblock after road block to bring it to fruition.

How many of you have had to tell yourselves that the universe was NOT TELLING YOU NOT TO MOVE, but letting you know that the best things in life are not free?
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Old 10-22-2011, 05:51 PM   #2
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Tell us your story, Mr. Thoreau! [please?]

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Old 10-22-2011, 05:59 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thoreau View Post
Since our progress from inception of where we wanted to move in Northern New England, and the long more than 4 year process to get there has been fraught with temporary roadblock after temporary roadblock that we have had to wrok through..... and we are almost there.... almost.

I would private message anyone all those tribulations if they really wanted to know them, but am wondering if there are others who planned an eventual retirement and had to work through roadblock after road block to bring it to fruition.

How many of you have had to tell yourselves that the universe was NOT TELLING YOU NOT TO MOVE, but letting you know that the best things in life are not free?
Roadblocks to retirement, or to the move? We decided not to move north after all, after planning it for almost six years. Although for me retirement proceeded as planned without problems, there were lots of roadblocks to that move. We decided we are happy here for now. Retirement is about having no more taskmaster, so we are having fun and enjoying that. Maybe in a few years we might move as originally planned. I think we are proceeding on the "Don't Worry, Be Happy" model of retirement.
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Old 10-22-2011, 07:21 PM   #4
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We love roadblock stories around here. Do tell.

Things went very smoothly for us on our road to ER, but 4 months after we quit our jobs, Sept 08 happened. Then March 09. Our 'roadblock' was a very fast diminishing portfolio, so we decided to go back to work in late 09. With the earned income & the market rebound, we fell good enough to quit again in late '10.

That experience, and a very good visit to CO a year ago convinced us to move here to Denver. Better weather, better access to the outdoors and a lot less expensive than NJ.

I am sure there will be more issues, but that's life.
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Old 10-23-2011, 04:47 AM   #5
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I think OP is correct.

Things, the better they are, more effort, good stuff goes into them. Somebody has to pay for them. The "nice" places have been found and occupied by others a long time ago, it costs to get them to give it up. Often someone else will pay more than market price to get first dibs.

In the world of one who needs few things, there is not much of an expense. Ideas, conversations, admiration of the beauty of the living or of landscapes are often free. Getting to where some are, that can get expensive.

So, what are these difficulties and tribulations?
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Old 10-23-2011, 08:20 AM   #6
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Thought horribly naively that packing up our furniture and stuff after 33 years and selling our house would be a breeze......

1. Couldn’t find a house we liked

2. Made two whirlwind trips to New England, driving 30 hours total, and then 12 hour marathon of house looking in the area we wanted, all in the space of three days.

3. Chose the house we wanted and made an offer. Broker told us that New Englanders didn’t require much more. Five offers down the road, lasting more than 8 weeks, at the point where we were about to just give up, they finally accepted our offer.

4. Had to have the front yard dug up in the spring to put in a new pump and everything, and almost exceeded the escrow to have this done

5. Needed renters to make the mortgage

6. Cooking stove died in the first 3 months,

7. Refrigerator died in the next three months, Hot water heater died. Discovered that our agent was dishonest and was trying to get the renters out of the lease that we were paying him to maintain for us, so that he could sell them a house. We finally terminated his services.

8. Put our country cabin up for sale, and shortly there after the bubble burst on real estate, and no one was interested in a country cabin.

9. Had to lower the price of the cabin to the point that our capital gains tax when we sold it wouldn’t even need to be paid to the feds

10. Our broker was in cahoots with the local septic digging firm. The property was pretty big but nowhere would it pass perk for a normal septic system. Our broker had already known this, but got a rake off from the digger, so we wasted 1400 bucks on a fruitless search

11. Had to pay a soil scientist and a Professional engineer for a preliminary study to put in a drip irrigation system, for anther $1000.

12. Still no takers when potential buyers knew that putting in septic would cost them $40,000

13. Finally sold the property after two years and a new more honest broker for just barely what we paid for the property 13 years before.

14. Continued to renovate the other property, but started in ernest after the country property was sold, and since it was sold for $74,000 less than we’d hoped, it meant that the property we lived in had to be perfectly renovated.

15. In November of 2010, the pump died for the well, and everything including the connection that had to be back-hoed into had to be replaced to the tune of $3000. I got a $100 senior citizen discount

16. Two days later, I stopped to see how the roofers were doing on the house, put the Jeep Wrangler in gear, and put on the brake, started to step out of the jeep, it popped out of gear, brake let go, car knocked me to the ground under it, and I rolled out as fast as I could, and it clipped my leg instead of rolling right over my chest, rolled down the hill and into the side of my house, totally the jeep and causing 3000 bucks damage to the side of my house.

17. Repair guy for the house needed to repair the brick but used gray mortar rather than white mortar, so it had to be torn out
Repairs guy again used gray mortar instead of white, and it had to be torn out again

18. Repair took 6 months to accomplish and I missed the deadline on getting 500 bucks back for getting it done early

19. Second set of renters in the house we bought turned out to be renters from hell. We needed their rent payment to make our mortgage payment, and only two times were they less than15 days late on the rent

20. Renters tried to get us to sign a federal FHA 0 interest loan saying that they were never late on their rent

20.5. Finally put the house up for sale after renovating it to new condition. No one was interested. Had to lower the price $20000 below what was already a way way reduced price from the boom times ----JUST to get people to look at it

21. Finally got a sale, but the buyers hired a crooked inspector who claimed that our deck was old and didn’t have pressure treated wood(he couldn’t tell the difference between green pine pressure treated, and brown douglas fir PT). They demanded all kinds of stuff in a house that we had already renovated to what would have cost nearly $45000 if I had to pay someone. But since there are few buyers in the area, we had to take what they wanted.

22. Buyers wanted us out of the house with our 25,000 lb. of stuff in 42 days---very very hard for a couple of 60 year olds.

23. Informed renters that they needed to get out of the retirement house. Luckily they failed to send their contract back so they were month to month “at will tenants”, and had already told them early in the summer that they might have to leave in the fall. They cried and said they couldn’t leave.

24. Offered them no rent for October if they were out by the 15th, this had little effect on them, they still said they couldn’t find anything to go to

25. Had to contact a lawyer and pay for the start of eviction procedures, including a visit by the sheriff. Still didn’t faze them.

26. Arranged to have our furniture moved by moving company on October 21, hoping the renters would be out by the 18.

27. Renters said they would get out by the 24, after agent told them the horrible things that would happen to them

28. Since closing is the 26th and we have to be there for that, we then had to move all our furniture into a separate factuality to the tune of an additional $650, but since they weren’t going to get out by the 15th, we would use their rent to pay for this additional cost

29. Renters suddenly moved out on the 15th, and we have to eat this additional cost.

30. Since we didn’t trust that the renters would move out(they always lied before), we had to make arrangements to move in with friends with our dog and neurotic cat for period between closing and moving into the house.

31. Have to make two trips to New England in addition to the very very expensive 53 foot moving van traveling 642 miles, to take up the trailer with the snow thrower and the riding mower, and stuff we don’t want the mover to take, and then come back again to bring back a helper for the driving and then drive up again with our sailboat.


32. After a four year odyssey, we hope to finally be in our retirement home on November 14, 2011.


This was just the highlights. Didn't talk about all the tribulations of completely renovating ahouse, the stuff that didn't work, the stuff that went wrong and had to be redone, etc. etc. etc.

Didn't talk about all the stuff everybody has to do to get ready to retire in June of 2010, or the vacation we didn't take in summer of 2010 just in case we had buyers.

Didn’t even talk about the 42 day nightmare packing job and the 250 bucks worth of boxes or the fact that from May of 2010 to May of 2011, we had no evening, no weekend, no holiday, no personal day free that we didnt work on bringing the house up to new condition, adding a whole new bathroom from nothing, a new laundry room from nothing, two whole new rooms downstairs, and a 10 x 40 foot deck all across the back of the house. And my wife of 38 years and I did everything ourselves except for the new roof and the new well system. Aren't talking about living now in an empty house sleeping on an air mattress.

Nothing worth getting is easy we keep saying
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Old 10-23-2011, 08:52 AM   #7
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Thoreau,

That is quite a litany. Thanks for posting in such detail. I am so glad the jeep didn't actually run over you!

We actually have been through nearly everything else you describe, and more; much of it in the space of 4 months, when I was tapped for a job overseas, and the rest at various times during our landlording experiences. And always there are large costs, which always are due right away or there will be further penalties!

Renters and buyers from hell seem to be the norm (and always think they are the victims). This has had the result of making us extremely grateful when somebody actually deals with us in a fair, honorable way. It has also made me determined not to be a landlord in retirement.

Finally, I think many people are only just now beginning to appreciate the potentially life-altering risks that go along with real estate. The people who gloat over how well they've done in real estate, are the lucky ones.

I think the lesson from your experience is to hope for the best, be prepared for the worst.

Amethyst
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Old 10-23-2011, 10:05 AM   #8
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Thanks for sharing the story. I enjoyed reading it, though I'm sorry you had to go through it!
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Old 10-23-2011, 10:32 AM   #9
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Thanks for sharing. I am glad that your ordeals are almost over with and I hope that you really enjoy your retirement and your new home.
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Old 10-23-2011, 11:12 AM   #10
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Thanks for sharing. Hope writing all that down had a somewhat cathartic feel to it.

We knew we were lucky to sell our home quickly and to reasonable people. Now I feel even luckier.

All the best.
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Old 10-23-2011, 11:18 AM   #11
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That's not roadblocks. Roadblocks are things like zoning issues and bureaucratic red tape. What you've been through is a plain old streak of bad luck. It's amazing that you got to where you want to be with all that happening. Hope things get easier now.
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Old 10-23-2011, 11:23 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thoreau View Post
Thought horribly naively that packing up our furniture and stuff after 33 years and selling our house would be a breeze......

1. Couldn’t find a house we liked

2. Made two whirlwind trips to New England, driving 30 hours total, and then 12 hour marathon of house looking in the area we wanted, all in the space of three days.

3. Chose the house we wanted and made an offer. Broker told us that New Englanders didn’t require much more. Five offers down the road, lasting more than 8 weeks, at the point where we were about to just give up, they finally accepted our offer.

4. Had to have the front yard dug up in the spring to put in a new pump and everything, and almost exceeded the escrow to have this done

5. Needed renters to make the mortgage

6. Cooking stove died in the first 3 months,

7. Refrigerator died in the next three months, Hot water heater died. Discovered that our agent was dishonest and was trying to get the renters out of the lease that we were paying him to maintain for us, so that he could sell them a house. We finally terminated his services.

8. Put our country cabin up for sale, and shortly there after the bubble burst on real estate, and no one was interested in a country cabin.

9. Had to lower the price of the cabin to the point that our capital gains tax when we sold it wouldn’t even need to be paid to the feds

10. Our broker was in cahoots with the local septic digging firm. The property was pretty big but nowhere would it pass perk for a normal septic system. Our broker had already known this, but got a rake off from the digger, so we wasted 1400 bucks on a fruitless search

11. Had to pay a soil scientist and a Professional engineer for a preliminary study to put in a drip irrigation system, for anther $1000.

12. Still no takers when potential buyers knew that putting in septic would cost them $40,000

13. Finally sold the property after two years and a new more honest broker for just barely what we paid for the property 13 years before.

14. Continued to renovate the other property, but started in ernest after the country property was sold, and since it was sold for $74,000 less than we’d hoped, it meant that the property we lived in had to be perfectly renovated.

15. In November of 2010, the pump died for the well, and everything including the connection that had to be back-hoed into had to be replaced to the tune of $3000. I got a $100 senior citizen discount

16. Two days later, I stopped to see how the roofers were doing on the house, put the Jeep Wrangler in gear, and put on the brake, started to step out of the jeep, it popped out of gear, brake let go, car knocked me to the ground under it, and I rolled out as fast as I could, and it clipped my leg instead of rolling right over my chest, rolled down the hill and into the side of my house, totally the jeep and causing 3000 bucks damage to the side of my house.

17. Repair guy for the house needed to repair the brick but used gray mortar rather than white mortar, so it had to be torn out
Repairs guy again used gray mortar instead of white, and it had to be torn out again

18. Repair took 6 months to accomplish and I missed the deadline on getting 500 bucks back for getting it done early

19. Second set of renters in the house we bought turned out to be renters from hell. We needed their rent payment to make our mortgage payment, and only two times were they less than15 days late on the rent

20. Renters tried to get us to sign a federal FHA 0 interest loan saying that they were never late on their rent

20.5. Finally put the house up for sale after renovating it to new condition. No one was interested. Had to lower the price $20000 below what was already a way way reduced price from the boom times ----JUST to get people to look at it

21. Finally got a sale, but the buyers hired a crooked inspector who claimed that our deck was old and didn’t have pressure treated wood(he couldn’t tell the difference between green pine pressure treated, and brown douglas fir PT). They demanded all kinds of stuff in a house that we had already renovated to what would have cost nearly $45000 if I had to pay someone. But since there are few buyers in the area, we had to take what they wanted.

22. Buyers wanted us out of the house with our 25,000 lb. of stuff in 42 days---very very hard for a couple of 60 year olds.

23. Informed renters that they needed to get out of the retirement house. Luckily they failed to send their contract back so they were month to month “at will tenants”, and had already told them early in the summer that they might have to leave in the fall. They cried and said they couldn’t leave.

24. Offered them no rent for October if they were out by the 15th, this had little effect on them, they still said they couldn’t find anything to go to

25. Had to contact a lawyer and pay for the start of eviction procedures, including a visit by the sheriff. Still didn’t faze them.

26. Arranged to have our furniture moved by moving company on October 21, hoping the renters would be out by the 18.

27. Renters said they would get out by the 24, after agent told them the horrible things that would happen to them

28. Since closing is the 26th and we have to be there for that, we then had to move all our furniture into a separate factuality to the tune of an additional $650, but since they weren’t going to get out by the 15th, we would use their rent to pay for this additional cost

29. Renters suddenly moved out on the 15th, and we have to eat this additional cost.

30. Since we didn’t trust that the renters would move out(they always lied before), we had to make arrangements to move in with friends with our dog and neurotic cat for period between closing and moving into the house.

31. Have to make two trips to New England in addition to the very very expensive 53 foot moving van traveling 642 miles, to take up the trailer with the snow thrower and the riding mower, and stuff we don’t want the mover to take, and then come back again to bring back a helper for the driving and then drive up again with our sailboat.


32. After a four year odyssey, we hope to finally be in our retirement home on November 14, 2011.


This was just the highlights. Didn't talk about all the tribulations of completely renovating ahouse, the stuff that didn't work, the stuff that went wrong and had to be redone, etc. etc. etc.

Didn't talk about all the stuff everybody has to do to get ready to retire in June of 2010, or the vacation we didn't take in summer of 2010 just in case we had buyers.

Didn’t even talk about the 42 day nightmare packing job and the 250 bucks worth of boxes or the fact that from May of 2010 to May of 2011, we had no evening, no weekend, no holiday, no personal day free that we didnt work on bringing the house up to new condition, adding a whole new bathroom from nothing, a new laundry room from nothing, two whole new rooms downstairs, and a 10 x 40 foot deck all across the back of the house. And my wife of 38 years and I did everything ourselves except for the new roof and the new well system. Aren't talking about living now in an empty house sleeping on an air mattress.

Nothing worth getting is easy we keep saying
Are you sure that Thoreau is an apt description for your lifestyle?
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Old 10-23-2011, 11:27 AM   #13
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That's not roadblocks. Roadblocks are things like zoning issues and bureaucratic red tape.
I didn't include those. They are just a mess.
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Old 10-23-2011, 11:27 AM   #14
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Are you sure that Thoreau is an apt description for your lifestyle?
Soon, Grasshopper, Soon.......
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Old 10-23-2011, 11:57 AM   #15
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thoreau, with an experience like you went through, have you considered writing a book or a screenplay? I kept seeing Chevy Chase in my mind as I read the awful things you had to endure. You might be able to turn this experience into a new opportunity. Just a thought...
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Old 10-23-2011, 12:18 PM   #16
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After reading that, I have lost any desire to ever own rental, investment or second home property. Not that I had much to start with, but it's definitely dead now.
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Old 10-23-2011, 01:32 PM   #17
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Owning, buying, renting, and selling real estate just put you so much at other people's mercy. There is so much money involved, and so many people who want that money, and who have different/conflicting interests. So, if your luck and shrewdness aren't 100% on target, you are gonna get hit with something unpleasant. That is just how it is.

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After reading that, I have lost any desire to ever own rental, investment or second home property. Not that I had much to start with, but it's definitely dead now.
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Old 10-23-2011, 04:06 PM   #18
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Thoreau, I was thinking about you list of roadblocks that had occurred while out on a pleasure drive this afternoon. It occurred to me that one source of the problem was that (whether by choice or due to unavoidable circumstances) you were tackling too much at once. It would have been easier to first fix up and sell your vacation home. Then when that was completely done with, and after you had relaxed for a few months, step 2: fix up and sell your main home. When that was done with, step 3: rent in the new location and relax for a few months while looking for a new home to buy at your leisure. I'm sure there were good, logical reasons why this could not be done, but either way I think that trying to do everything at once must have been such a headache. Sorry to hear that your move had so many roadblocks!

Sounds like you have overcome all of these roadblocks, so now it is time to relax and take it easy.
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Old 10-23-2011, 05:25 PM   #19
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Yep, that is a long list.

It is a list that needed that old "improvise and overcome" routine. It appears you are succeeding. Congrats.

But whaddaya gonna do when all is done?
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Old 10-23-2011, 06:57 PM   #20
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In which state are you landing? (Please forgive me if i missed it). I ask because my DH is from MA and would love to retire there. I have suggested ME as a compromise but he is not very interested. He has been coming around a bit lately, willing to look at other locales.

I am sorry you guys have gone through so much. None of it sounds fun.
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