Thursday, April 30, 2009

12 Days

I don't think I am going to forget this one. And I really don't want to forget. In today's market if you'd have told me that it would take only 12 days from listing the house to hanging the 'sold' sign--I wouldn't have believed it. In my world view it is simply: God's grace. We are very thankful.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

The pace is beginning to slow down a bit

It has been a whirlwind since we signed a contract to sell the house last last week.

We are are getting ready to leave for South Dakota on Sunday to become residents there. We will be there a couple of days.

We are rethinking our choice for a towable vehicle. We are now considering an Nissan Xterra with manual transmission instead of a Honda CRV. Still not sure which way to go there yet. We have been looking online and been to some dealers nearby for a test drive.

We have been getting some quotes to address a few items that showed up during the home inspection. Yesterday the appraiser came through to get that done.

Pam and I have have been following through on all kinds of medical appointments and things to get checked out and fixed up before we head out next month.

Looks like we will move out the end of May and be in a local campground nearby for a couple of weeks. That way to we can finish up with work and have our friends and neighbors come by to check out the RV.

We have gotten a few RV insurance quotes and have asked for some others that we expect to get in a couple of days.

The condo in Chesapeake has not sold yet. It has been on the market since the first part of April so we have decided to lower the price and hopefully get some action there.

Now it is becoming very real--instead of 'soon' we are very much in the middle of transition.
We are very excited but sobered a bit by how fast it all is happening. In the midst of the flury we have peace about all of this and look forward to the next steps in our calling.

It has been a long time since we have had to say goodbye to friends as we depart.
Soon we will be on our way and looking forward to our next visit with them as we make new friends and head out.

That is about it for today as we get ready to travel. Sioux Falls - here we come!

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Another Big Weekend

Last weekend we had the Open House, went to a Nationals game with Adam and got some contracts on the house.

This weekend was busy too. Kelly and her classmates in the Masters of Fine Arts (MFA) -Interior Design Program (VCU), had a big Thesis Exhibition on Friday evening.It was quite a show. She and her classmates laid out their projects representing hundreds of hours of work. This is Kelly's project. She chose a pumphouse along a canal in Richmond and designed a Conference/Retreat Center. It was quite impressive.Lots of her friends and family attended from Virginia Beach, Annapolis, Fairfax and there in Richmond. Next week she defends her project to the faculty and graduates on May 16.
Sunday morning Pam and I drove back down to Virginia Beach to check out the Allegro Bus. We had seen it three weeks ago and now we were going to pore over it with our detailed checklist. Bill was very helpful in showing us how to operate everything from the in-motion satellite to the flush system on the black tanks.
It is as a very similar floor plan to the Phaeton models we have been interested in, only a 'model up' in the Tiffin line. This is the 2007 40' Allegro Bus, QSP model. We took it for a test drive and it handles sweet! The independent front-wheel suspension makes it the smoothest ride we have had.

Bill has keep this RV immaculate. He is so careful about care and maintenance that it is easy to tell it is a great value. He spent 2 1/2 hours with us and we wrote him a check for a down payment. We close on the house on May 19 and have scheduled May 22 to make the final transaction.

You know how after looking at houses for months and months and you come across one and you know this is the one? Same thing with this: this is it!

Our dream is closer to reality! Stay tuned...

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Next Steps

Things have really been exciting since we signed the contract on Monday. Some of the items were are working:
  • We contacted the owner of the Tiffin Allegro Bus in Virginia Beach and will take it for a test drive again. We also will spend a couple of hours and comb over it with a pre-delivery inspection checklist
  • We made travel plans to Sioux City SD for three days so we can get a drivers license, vote, open a bank account, and become residents in that RV friendly state
  • Pam is keeping the house spotless for the home inspection which is scheduled for tomorrow.
Also,
  • We close on May 19 and will rent back from the buyer until May 31.
  • On May 22, we are planning to purchase the Bus and drive it to Fairfax.
  • We made reservations at the Lake Fairfax campground from May 22 -31, allowing us to drive the RV over to the house during the day move from the house to the RV.
Pam found this in the mailbox on Tuesday:

What a hoot! She concurs---she has done enough painting to last a long time.

Monday, April 20, 2009

We sold it!

How can this be? In three (3) days?
Yes!
No joke, no April Fools...it really happened. We essential got 99% of our asking price. I say 'essentially' because we were prepared to pay closing costs, but the buyer is paying closing costs.

It happened fast.
  • Friday - listed the house, had 4 buyers and agents come by to see it
  • Saturday - had 4 more buyers and agents
  • Sunday - had an Open House and 12 buyers and agents came by
By 9PM we had two offers. One was a lowball number, the other was a very good contract.

The buyer is very amenable to us picking a closing date (mid May?) and renting the house back to them until the end of the month.
Wow - this gives us more options and we will be able to move from the house into the RV.

And--Last Friday we emailed the owner of the 2007 Allegro Bus in Virginia Beach and he still has it available. That may work out as well.

We stayed up late talking about the timing and when to close and about a thousand other things. We are grateful, ecstatic, thankful, elated, sobered, humbled.

At 11:54 PM I was still awake.

The story continues. We will keep you posted.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Thoughts on the day before...

It has been a long and winding road to get to this point. And quite satisfying. We have the post in the ground and tomorrow the "FOR SALE" sign goes up.

The kitchen table and chairs are in the garage and waiting to be delivered to their new owner on Saturday. The two bins on one shelf our some office supplies and some books.
The other bins on the other shelf are what used to be on bookshelves and in our roll top desk.

Months ago we tore down old cabinets in the garage and replaced them with the two movable, adjustable shelves you see here.

Here's what we've done in the last couple of days:
  • Called and emailed DeVry University to check on online adjunct professor positions
  • Found a storage unit to put some bins for a few weeks in case we have to move out of the house after closing and do not yet have the RV
  • Updated blog and video note
  • Thinned out another closet and put more clothes in a box for the storage attic above the garage
  • Gave a tour of our home and discussed details with a couple of our neighbor friends
  • Re-cleaned the refrigerator
  • Re-cleaned the stove
  • Planted more flowers and weeded flower beds again
  • Took our dog to his foster-home for a few weeks?months? until the house sells
  • Went to work
  • Cut up carnations and put them throughout the house
  • Updated our spreadsheet to see cash available after house sells, closing costs, taxes, cost of RV, etc
At this point the stress level has tapered off. We think it will pick up again when we start considering offers, head out to South Dakota for a few days to become residents, get the RV and get ready to leave. But it will be fun and exciting sharing more experiences together.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

One step closer to RV land; Our house For Sale on the web!

We held our last Moving Sale/Garage sale yesterday. I was surprised with the turnout. These folks are hardy! Or garage sale enthusiasts or something.
It was a nasty day. I posted signs about 6:10 in the morning and there was a slight drizzle. When I got back from my weekly run at Burke Lake with Gil and Al at 9:00, it was raining hard.
Most of the signs did not do too well. But our customers knew something was going on and I saw two cars get out and fold over the wilting wet sign to get the address...they knew they were close...
And to my surprise -- we made about $141.00! Amazing. Kelly and Pam really did a great job organizing and getting set up. What didn't sell, I took to the Manassas Salvation Army Donation Center. It is the largest one in the country!

We were hoping for a sunny day so we could talk to neighbors and garage sale bargain hunters about our Moving Sale. Our house goes on the market on Thursday and our Realtor has done a great job with the photos and flyer. In fact he posted them on the web www.4111MinstrellLane.com even before it is in the MLS. So it is a big weekend for us! No more Moving Sales and the house is almost on the market.

Today I'll pull some more weeds out of the garden, plant some more flowers and be looking forward to the Open House next weekend.
The plan is:
  1. List the house on Thursday
  2. Get other realtors and prospective buyers to see it on Friday
  3. Line up appointments and/or have buyers come by on Saturday
  4. Conduct Open House on Sunday
  5. Get a contract and negotiate on Monday
  6. Sign contract on Tuesday
  7. Close on house in May
Can it be that simple?
We will see! These are exciting times.
We will keep you posted!

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Questions Friends Ask about our move to the RV lifestyle

Here's the top five questions we have gotten over the last 18 months as we have pursued and moved toward the RV full-timing (and some answers):
  • # 1 - Have you rented an RV?
No we haven't. But we have researched this long enough to see that this is what we want to do. Unless we were to rent one for a month, I am not sure we would be able to really find out much. We have been camping since we got married 30 years ago.

  • #2 - Has anyone tried to talk you out of it?
No - most say, "Good for you". Or they personalize it and say, "I could never do that", or "We don't like to camp".
  • #3 - Aren't you too young to be retiring?
Initially, we thought we'd retire but now we are focused on getting a job and working from the RV by telecommuting. Another one I am pursuing it teaching college online. And we have joined some volunteer organizations like Habitat for Humanity and NOMADs. And we want to work for campgrounds and check out the US Forest Service, National Park Service and US Army Corps of Engineers, State Parks and the like.
  • #4 - How long are you going to do this?
I told Pam we have to do this for at least 5 years to make the investment in the RV worth it. She said she was thinking more like 10 years. We will see.
  • #5 - What will you do?
Spend a lot of time with the love of my life. Enjoy new adventures everyday with one whom I love being with. See new sights, meet new people, serve others.

Very few have asked:
  • Are you nuts?
They may have thought that but no one has actually said that yet. Some have said, "I can't believe you are actually going to do this".
  • Why?
Great question. Why not? It boils down to that fact that we love the idea. We are still young enough (56) to take on this adventure. The timing is right. This is a way to simplify our lives and pursue something more meaningful. We couldn't decide where we want to 'retire' after seriously looking at Florida, Texas, and New Mexico and nothing really seriously appealed to us. After researching this for 18 months, the interest and excitement is still there. It appeals to us. We can see ourselves doing this.

So we are into 'transition' right now. It feels like we are entering into the last mile of a marathon as we put our house on the market and see what happens.

We will keep you posted.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Allegro Bus

We are staying in Virginia Beach for a few days. What a great place. Nothing like being able to run on the beach or go for an evening walk. We are down here to get the condo ready to sell and listed in the next few days.

While here, we contacted an RV seller who has a 2007 Allegro Bus and went to check it out. The Bus is a step above the Phaeton model--both are made by Tiffin. The bus was very impressive. It has a great looking style and color that we like. Kelly and her friend Nikkos joined Pam and I for the test drive.
Inside, it has the soft ultra leather couches/beds and full decorative tile from the front to the back. On the passenger side, it has a pull out tray for a laptop. It is very similar to the Phaeton model, only nicer.
Outside, the Allegro Bus has awnings over the window in addition to one's over the whole slide out. I had to climb on top to check out the solar panels which are a real plus when we camp with no electrical hookups. Next to the solar is the bathroom skylight. Back inside shelves were installed in place of the washer and dryer. That is a real plus for us since we'd rather have the space.
We took it for a drive, checked out the independent suspension, turning and overall drive-abililty. Very nice. Later that night, we joined up with some of Kelly's friends at Bubbas, a local seafood restuarant.
These guys all were a BIG help with work on the condo (Nikkos, Amber, Brad, Ricky, Kelly and Pam). More on the condo next time. It's about time to head out for another run on the beach before heading over to the condo and finishing up it up before we turn it over to the realtor today. Check in next time for pix on the move-in ready condo...