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The next step
Old 06-13-2009, 11:00 AM   #1
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The next step

We have decided to sell our magical house on Bainbridge Island and downsize. We are spending almost half of our time away from home, time for a condo. It is with mixed feelings as the house is wonderful and the view stunning. When it is on the web (in about 2 weeks) Iíll provide a link so you can see what I am talking about. If it doesnít sell then all we will have expended is a couple hundred for a home inspection and a lot of effort cleaning - getting rid of stuff that should have gone years ago.
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Old 06-13-2009, 11:27 AM   #2
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Brat, emotionally how are you feeling about this decision? Sounds as if your dearly love this house.
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Old 06-13-2009, 11:58 AM   #3
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We both do but our grand children are in other cities (which is why so much travel). When you are kicking 70 (one over, one younger), love of family exceeds love of house. One family is in your neighborhood, for example. It isn't easy for families to travel by air with pre-schoolers. These days the grand parents travel.
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Old 06-13-2009, 04:39 PM   #4
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Food for thought...
If it doesn't sell, have you considered rental to temporary visitors, like business executives or professors or artists or writers who need to be in town for up to a month or longer but not all year? With very select screening, this could be an option.
I have no idea how remote the location is.
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Old 06-13-2009, 04:41 PM   #5
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Brat, your house and its location sound idyllic. Why not rent it out to weary Forum members while you are away?
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Old 06-13-2009, 10:05 PM   #6
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I don't think the RE market will improve much in the next 5 years and our grandchildren are growing. If the house doesn't sell we will consider other options, but the amount we would need to charge in rent would be WELL beyond the ability of all but executives to pay. I don't expect the almost $1 M some said it was worth two years ago, I think our expectations are realistic for the current market.
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Old 06-27-2009, 06:43 PM   #7
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It was listed this week. Lots of Realtors showed up for the preview but IMHO there aren't hordes of buyers in our price range. We want only qualified folks looking at the house so I don't expect a lot of traffic. We had the most critical home inspector go through the house from top to bottom - got an excellant report. Our Realtor is committing to using all venues, even put us on the Seattle CraigsList yesterday.

Just committing to getting rid of stuff we have been storing for years is a major achievement!!
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Old 06-27-2009, 10:35 PM   #8
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Hi, brat,

Mixed emotions here. I am sad that you are leaving your place. Bainbridge Island is a destination place to live and hard to do so at that. You have enjoyed it while you can. Good. Still, you are pretty tough. Family is a higher priority.

I gather that you are moving back to Portland (where you may remember, we both grew up). It was a neat place then and it is better today (but more expensive).

Would it be practical to move to Vancouver, just over the bridge? Tax and cost advantages, although a little more distant from the kiddos.

Be aware. We have a friend who moved to Bellingham to be near her grandchildren--but her kids eventually moved to California for work. Fortunately, she likes Bham, which is good since she can't get around quite so well anymore.

Best of luck, kid.

Cheers,

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Old 06-27-2009, 11:50 PM   #9
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The problem with Vancouver is the bridge traffic. If they had only opted for light rail years ago a condo in their core are would be a great option. Property taxes aren't as low as they once were.

We will be looking in the 'core area' for a one level condo/co-op. Our Portland grandchildren will attend Chapman grade school so NW, Goose Hollow or Kings Heights will be first choice (I attended preschool at Friendly House during WWII). We want something that the survivor can financially handle when one of us passes, that is accessible, well constructed, not dependent on the automobile and quality construction. That cuts our options down a hunk..

The Pearl District might work (we old timers smile at that description) too but DH isn't interested at the moment. The South Waterfront is nicknamed "SoWhat" in my circle - in part because it has no sense of community.
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Old 06-28-2009, 12:06 AM   #10
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The problem with Vancouver is the bridge traffic. If they had only opted for light rail years ago a condo in their core are would be a great option. Property taxes aren't as low as they once were.

We will be looking in the 'core area' for a one level condo/co-op. Our Portland grandchildren will attend Chapman grade school so NW, Goose Hollow or Kings Heights will be first choice (I attended preschool at Friendly House during WWII). We want something that the survivor can financially handle when one of us passes, that is accessible, well constructed, not dependent on the automobile and quality construction. That cuts our options down a hunk..

The Pearl District might work (we old timers smile at that description) too but DH isn't interested at the moment. The South Waterfront is nicknamed "SoWhat" in my circle - in part because it has no sense of community.
Hi Brat,

We had our house in St. Helens on the market last year and rented ia townhouse in sellwood for a year. We were reallly sad to move back - for about a week. We have three acres on a creek (small trout stream) and are loving it again. We decided we'll live in it for now and sell it at some point after we retire. I think we just needed a break from the routine and a year away gave us that.

We are in our early 50's and the place is a lot of work. Also, we are a long way from the hospitals in Portland. Socially Portland has a lot more to offer as well. So I think when we get older we will head into town.

I hope things worked out for you. I really love Portland and the areas you mentioned would put you near the train system. A coworker of mine lives in the South Waterfront and really likes it.

Best of luck and keep us posted.

-helen
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Old 06-28-2009, 07:42 AM   #11
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Certainly a bittersweet decision for you. I can certainly understand your ambivalence and in this situation, both choices are tough but good.

We are not as emotionally attached to our current house as you are, but certainly feel drawn by our distant kids and 4 grandkids. Once a decision is made to relocate to be near them two things immediately jump into view: the oppressive housing market in most regions, and the risk that you will move only to find that the kids will move unexpectedly for jobs or other imperatives or that their schedules and social lives are such that you become no more than an occasional visitor - especially as they start hitting their teens.

Well, you can't wait forever for the housing market, and the gkids will get older in a minute so if you're going to take the leap, sooner is better.

Best of luck with your home sale and move. Keep us posted.
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Old 06-28-2009, 09:44 AM   #12
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We are not as emotionally attached to our current house as you are, but certainly feel drawn by our distant kids and 4 grandkids. Once a decision is made to relocate to be near them two things immediately jump into view: the oppressive housing market in most regions, and the risk that you will move only to find that the kids will move unexpectedly for jobs or other imperatives or that their schedules and social lives are such that you become no more than an occasional visitor - especially as they start hitting their teens.
I know what you mean about busy adult children, especially if they are well off enough that they really don't need anything. There are professional babysitters, professional handymen, professional Nannies, etc..

Still, other than the occasional hey, I don't have to run around all day today, want to come over and watch football- ther are lots of little opportuites to be jointly helpful, to talk over things, etc. And when something big happens, so much better to have your family around.

It seems that in the 60s angst and rancor often separated familes or made their lives hard, but now its 2 working parents and endless overdeveloped responsibilities, very long work hours and social obligations stemming from work. Then Mom and Dad need some time to themselves too.

So it can be tight.

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Old 06-28-2009, 10:04 AM   #13
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Helen, we are in our late 60s/early 70s. Hey, I remember Portland's street cars! To be able to use that type of transportation again will be a joy.

St. Helens is a nice community. When I worked in Beaverton it was interesting to find that a number of folks commuted over the hill from St. Helens. My son's family has a boatyard just west of Linnton (a Portland neighborhood Helen would know); when there I notice St. Helens emergency vehicles hustling down the highway.

You are right about the amount of energy it takes to maintain a large property. It may take 10 years for the economy to recover. By that time there will be someone who wants a forrest setting close to the city and you can move next to us.

HaHa, you nailed it! I must admit that as young parents we to lived that life. Add the hassle today of flying with young children (time spent dealing with security, car seats) it is just too exausting. Having a grand parent available to cover when your child care arrangments break down can be a delight for all.
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Old 06-28-2009, 10:25 AM   #14
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I think you are very wise to make the move closer to your children . Besides the fact of nearness to your grandchildren you have your children near when you or your wife start needing help . Also taking care of a property after a certain age gets harder and harder . I'm ready to trade my house for a smaller version as soon as the market picks up even slightly .Good Luck on the sale !
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Old 06-28-2009, 11:32 AM   #15
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Do you fly down to visit them often, Brat? If so, I can see how there would be significant savings in airfare and other travel expenses. Also, Portland is an attractive city with lots of nature preserves and a vibrant, youthful, active air about it. Moving in retirement seems to me like an exciting and adventurous thing to do, and you would get to see your grandchildren grow up and be a part of their lives. And as you grow older, a easily maintained condo in an eminently walkable city like Portland sounds like an excellent option.

Of course, there are always some potential negative aspects - - I do think that Ha makes a good point, in that it might be really easy for a grandparent to feel unneeded and even lonely after such a move if one's children are used to living without a grandparent there to help out. Your contact with your family might be less frequent than you imagine, and you might miss your present friends. Plus, from everything I have heard, Bainbridge Island is one of the most beautiful locations imaginable and you might miss it, as well as your present magical house and view.

Still, somehow I feel absolutely confident that you have considered all of the various plusses and minuses and have made the right decision for you. So I am hoping that your house sells quickly, and for more than you anticipate. And when it does, enjoy those grandkids!

Mostly, what I wanted to say is that I LOVE your attitude about putting your house on the market!
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If it doesnít sell then all we will have expended is a couple hundred for a home inspection and a lot of effort cleaning - getting rid of stuff that should have gone years ago.
I am going to try to emulate that attitude when we put our houses on the market, hopefully next year.
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Old 06-28-2009, 11:56 AM   #16
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Of course, there are always some potential negative aspects - - I do think that Ha makes a good point, in that it might be really easy for a grandparent to feel unneeded and even lonely after such a move if one's children are used to living without a grandparent there to help out.
It is a pretty nuanced thing. I would like more contact, but still I am way ahead of where I would be with long distance visits. And like Brat said, I am retired and I can show up quickly to help out when needed, which gives me a deep satisfaction. One younger son and his wife don't yet have kids and their jobs while hard are not so all-encompassing as the older ones. So we can hit a Happy Hour on a weeknight from time to time.

One special factor in my family is my divorce. It makes many things a bit trickier. In particular, the kids are still pretty angry at their mother, which makes her jealous of my better access, etc.,etc. painful etc. Whatever good or bad can be said about divorce, kids don't like it and I can see why.

Ha
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Old 06-28-2009, 12:12 PM   #17
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The house next door to us sold after having been on the market over 9 months. I thought the hurdle was the floor plan and the market. The owners finally got desperate and dropped to to 15% less than the assessor claimed it to be worth (horrible comp for us). It turns out that there were condition issues too. The new owners are replacing the roof, repaired a sloping deck, and had to give the house a good shoveling out. Who would have dreamt that on a house originally listed at $1.1M?

There are various theories about a home inspection before listing. It is true that some buyer's home inspectors would miss a 3 foot wide hole in the ground but it does give you an opportunity to fix what might kill an offer or factor its deficiencies in your price. Our home is in great condition but we had it painted last year because it needed to be done. If something was on our maintenance to-do list, we did that. Getting ready can take a while.
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Old 06-28-2009, 12:18 PM   #18
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I am like Brat in that I fly back and forth to visit my daughter ,SIL & grandson . We try to cram a lot into those visits and since they live near Buffalo I rarely visit past Nov. or before April . The thing that has helped tremendously is my web cam . It allows me to talk to my grandson and see him play . The first time he looked startled but now he waves to me when I am on it . I highly recommend one for anybody that has a loved one at a distance .
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Old 06-28-2009, 10:47 PM   #19
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Yo, Brat,

You have convinced me. You are doing the right thing.

Go for it and enjoy.

Best regards,

Ed
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Old 07-25-2009, 05:16 PM   #20
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There have been several lookers but no offers. We dropped the asking price $50T yesterday. We shall see.
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