I am someone who likes to look forward to things. I struggle to stay in the present, though I am getting better at it. I still sometimes feel like I am waiting for life to happen though, while I'm waiting or looking forward to the big things. For the last couple of years, it felt like my life was waiting for After Australia.
When will we sell our house? After Australia.
When will we move to a different area? After Australia.
When will we go on our dream Italy trip? After Australia.
When will we get a dog? After Australia.
When will we have kids? After Australia.
When will we see more of the US because we’ll have more time and money for smaller trips? After Australia.
When will we start focusing on paying things off vs travel? After Australia.
I know we can travel with kids, I know we can buy a house with a baby in tow, I know we can move with a kid or two and it’s not like you’re not allowed to do all of those things with kids. I just don’t want to. I want to go on my trip and live my life before I have children and live our lives together. There is nothing wrong with that. It just means I push things back, until we are ‘able’ to. After Australia. I know it’s my choice to go to Australia and push things back, but still. You’re allowed to wrestle with your choices sometimes and worry if you're making the right ones.
So I was chatting with my bestie. I told her that I wish I could do it all. I wish we could move to a better area now, I wish we could save up money for Australia and pay the cars off now. I wish we could sell our house before buying a new house, because doing it at the same time sounds terrifying. I told my friend how easy it would be to save money and sell and buy if we could live in my mother in law’s basement for a couple of months in between. She asked why we didn’t do that. I said KC doesn’t want to. We talked some more. I went home and KC and I had this conversation:
Me: I think we should move in your mom’s basement while we sell the house and look for another.
KC: I don’t want to.
Me: These are the reasons I think it is a good idea: xyz.
We are both easily persuaded when presented with a logical argument. We happened to be visiting with his mom that day, and brought it up with her. I’ve talked about it with her before, so I knew she would be okay with it (because she loves us!) but KC was under the impression that she wouldn’t be. But of course she was. She got all excited. She asked when, and we told her After Australia.
Why not now? She asked.
We can’t sell now, we said. We just can’t. The house isn’t ready. We have things we need to fix. It’s scary. We aren't ready. Are we ready? Can we sell now?
We called our realtor on the way home. She’s a good family friend and was in the area, so she dropped by to have a look. The market is amazing right now, she said. I think you’ll sell quickly, and I think you’ll sell for higher than you paid.
We haven’t done much to the house – painted 2 rooms and replaced the floors in the living room. It definitely looks much better than it did, and we love it. Truly, our house is perfect except for the location and the no-garage-thing.
So that day, list of things to do in hand, we started doing shit. We replaced a faucet, painted the kitchen and the cabinets, painted 2 spare rooms, replaced the mantel, cleaned the carpets, bought a new fridge and microwave, bought new decor and chucked a bunch of crap out.
The next week when I was running with my friend, I told her everything we did and she was stunned – we just talked about this last week! After that, it was a whirlwind. Within 2 weeks we had everything done. 3 weeks later the house was listed and we were living in my mother in law’s basement. We left the house staged, we just knew it would be easier to not live there – or have the cats there – while we were selling.
I wanted to share a few before and afters. This is the living room when we bought the house and had moved everything in:
This is what it looked like after we painted and re-did the floors - we also ripped the mantel off the wall for no reason and one of us almost decapitated the other person - and bought new bookcases:
This is what it looked like after we added a new mantel and decluttered for staging:
The living room was always my favourite part of the house - we did the most work in there and spent the most time in there together. I wish we'd done the mantel earlier because I LOVE it.
Here's what the kitchen looked like when we first moved in:
Here's what it looked like when we bought a new microwave and fridge, painted the walls grey and put a fresh coat of white on the cabinets - they'd been painted before but not very well and they weren't cute in person:
Here is what our spare room looked like when we moved in, pretty green walls, right?
This is what it looked like after we painted and accumulated furniture over the years (though we removed some for staging):
This is what the 'office' looked like (though to be honest it looked like a junkyard for a really long time, and we called it an office but never used it for any office-ing) before we painted and staged it:
I couldn't help but share this because LOOK AT BABY MILLIE.
Such a little baby.
And here's the after:
It has a closet on the other side but it's a really hard room to photograph.
We painted our bedroom the night we moved in - it was supposed to be grey but it is definitely blue and I kinda definitely have hated it for 3 years but no biggie. We had this black full size bed in it and we bought the king last year and it has sat on the floor for the entire time.
We just bought a new bed, but it won't be delivered for ages, so we just stuck a super classy air mattress on a frame in there for staging.
Lets see, just the bathrooms now. Our master bath is super small, we didn't do anything but paint it the same time as the bedroom, and add towel racks. Oh and new toilet paper/hand towel holders. We also painted the cabinets white at our realtor's suggestion. Before on the left, after on the right.
We didn't do anything to the hall bath except new shower curtain, and new toilet paper/hand towel holders. Before on the left, after on the right.
And here is our backyard, which we have done absolutely nothing to except curse those trees every time we have to rake leaves or mow the lawn (it's really annoying to mow around them.... I swear).
A few more memories I want to remember from this time:
^ the cats being super excited that they were allowed in the spare rooms again (little did they know they were about to get locked up as we were painting the kitchen), KC being a doofus with the mantel, the cats (mainly Penny) loving all the new space to play and lounge in, the kitchen and living room being a mess for like 2 weeks.
A day after the listing went live, we had 5 showings, with 2 more the following day. We received a full price offer less than 24 hours after the listing went live. The next day, we received another full price offer. The day after that - another offer.
To say we were shocked would be an understatement. Honestly, all we wanted was to break even and walk away without owing anything. We didn’t want to make money - well, who doesn’t want to make money, it just wasn’t our goal. We knew the market was good and we believed our realtor when she showed us the comps but I think we were both expecting a lower offer or more contingencies with the offer. We expected it to sit for a week or two. We were worried we would have to move back in, move all our stuff back in and put the cats through that again.
^ selfie after we signed all the paperwork and cleaned the house top to bottom, selfie with our house numbers and selfie after we accepted the offer.... and yes, I have a blizzard and a mcdonalds diet coke in my arms. I have been eating mega poorly.
Now I know not to count my chickens before they hatch and everything. The deal could fall through. It absolutely could. We have inspections and appraisals to get through, and anything can happen in the 30 odd days it takes to close on a house. If this sale goes through, we’ll have a little extra money in our pocket – it could pay for our trip in full. We have money saved up, and in a couple months we could have paid a car off.
I really am trying not to get too excited or count the extra money until it’s in my hands and we are signing the deed away. I know several people who have had deals fall through. But I still might be a little excited. It’s very exciting that I no longer have to say After Australia for some things. We can pay a car off at the same time as we book and save for our trip. We can start looking for a house next spring, in the area we want to be in. We can do other things as soon as we get back from our trip, because we won’t have to worry about selling the house or paying things off.
I know life is always happening, and I am truly appreciative of every day, little things and big things, but it's really fun when you get to speed things up and tick things of your 'life to do list'. Life is happening you guys, and it’s really exciting.