Well, it’s been quite a while since we’ve posted anything on this blog, a fact that is not due to the last few months having been uneventful. In mid-May we got the word from our daughter that she and Cindy’s mom, who had both been living in our house, were moving out into separate apartments as of July 1st. This seriously accelerated our need to get back home to the States.
We waited a few days for a good weather window and then did the straight shot from Nassau to West Palm Beach again, taking a little over 30 hours to make the overnight crossing and losing our starboard engine due to a broken belt just as we were entering Lake Worth Inlet. After docking for a couple of days at North Palm Beach to recover, fix the engine and process back into the US, we did a full court press up the ICW and covered the distance from Palm Beach to Jekyll Island in just 9 days. Finally, 213 days after pushing off the dock at St Simons, we tied up at Jekyll Island on June 2nd.
Once we drove to Huntsville, we met with an agent for a real estate management company, our plan being to rent our house while we were sailing. In the course of our discussions though we found that the market was strong for both renting and selling houses in our area. After discussing our options over the weekend, Cindy and I opted to put our house on the market. Since we wanted to continue sailing, it would be easier not to have a house tying us down.
One of our challenges though was that we had already missed most of the prime window for selling or renting a house; the market is strongest from the end of April to the beginning of August when kids are out of school. After that, interest drops off significantly. All in all, the house was in good shape, but after 12 years the walls needed paint, a handful of items needed repair or touch up and the whole house needed a thorough cleaning. We would have to put in a Herculean effort just to get the house ready by the middle of July and school starts in our area during the 2nd week of August.
We called a contractor to get a quote for the painting, but it took so long to get a response and came in so high when it finally did that Cindy and I decided that we would tackle most of the work ourselves. Cindy, who has had experience in construction and painting, prepped and repainted the walls and touched up the trim while I scrubbed a dozen years of dirt and grime off the tile floors in the kitchen, breakfast area and all three bathrooms (oxygen bleach, I highly recommend it!), re-grouted the bad spots between tiles, scrubbed down the deck, cleaned out the gutters, trimmed the trees, coordinated with contractors for the work we couldn’t do and made innumerable trips to Home Depot.
The thing was though, as we spent more time at the house, I started remembered why we loved the place so much. The trees, the privacy, the hardwood floors, my huge kitchen…we had chosen and designed this place to be just what we wanted. It just didn’t feel right to me to sell it, even if that was what made the most sense for our lifestyle. The day I walked into the house and saw Cindy gazing wistfully out the breakfast room window into the back yard with tears in her eyes, I knew she felt the same way.
We ended up deciding that we would sell the house, but only if we got our full asking price. We are in a good situation, not needing to sell, and we’d like to see how well it works keeping the house if it doesn’t sell this year. We will spend the next few months downsizing our stuff (living on a boat has taught us the beauty of that) and leave as planned for the next sailing season in November. If we do decide to seriously put the house up for sale, we will have it market-ready at the beginning of the prime selling season next year.
For now, we are just enjoying our home again. Its early in the evening, a golden sun is setting behind the trees in our back yard. I’m in the kitchen, listening to jazz on the Sonos system, and sipping a glass of cabernet while I’m fixing dinner. Cindy is in the dining room working on her laptop and Jack, our new kitten, is sprawled out on the table next to her. Missy is dozing on the floor at her feet and at least for now, all is right with the world.