Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Packed

(continued from part 1 here and part 2 here)

Everyone tried to convince us not to sell our house in California. My dad. Our CPA. Even our real estate agent asked us if we were sure.

Because (little financial tip here) it generally doesn't pay to buy a house and sell it again just over a year later. The money we spent in closing fees when we bought the house, plus as sellers we pay the commissions to the real estate agents ... that tends to eat up any potential profits.

Also, they told us, if ever splorp! and I wanted to move back to California - well at least we would have a house to which we could return.

Oh! And had we considered that we would gain income from the rental property? It's not as if we would be paying a mortgage in California plus rent for a Texas apartment completely out of pocket - we would have income from renting the house!

Plus (as the CPA pointed out) you get to deduct the home ownership as a depreciating asset through the magic of tax laws. So really it was to our benefit to keep the house.

Another thing to throw out there - that little thing known as the $8k Federal tax credit? The one that we got for being first time homeowners? Yeah, to keep that, you have to live in the house as your primary residence for 3 years, or you have to pay it back. And we were looking at selling the house after owning it for just over one year. Ouch.

But to rent the house, and be landlords from over 1500 miles away? That was a prospect we just could not make work. We didn't (still don't) want to be landlords from even across the street. It just seemed like too much.

Plus we would have to put a new roof on the house in a couple of years, and that would eat up any potential "income" from rent plus the magical tax depreciation. So we would be breaking even on the mortgage, at best.

And we would still be paying a mortgage in California and apartment rent in Texas. It was just too much to consider.

So we put the house on the market, I gave my 2-week notice at work, and proceeded to pack. And pack. And purge. And donate items. And pack some more.

And in the mean time I came down with a nasty cough, and went to the doctor for some Rx-strength cough syrup. This turned into a horrible stomach bug of some sort that had me holed up in bed for more than a week. (The short version of this illness - 4 doctor visits in 2 weeks. X-rays of my lungs to rule out pneumonia. X-rays of my head to rule out sinus infections. Swab up the nose to rule out whooping cough. Pregnancy tests to confirm I was not pregnant. Blood tests to rule out parasites like Giardia, or amoebas. And no final idea why I was so sick. Yeah, Dr. House it was not. The final decision was inconclusive ... *maybe* it was the side effects of the cough syrup that had me losing my lunch every time I coughed. But they weren't sure.)

Anyway, with the help of my family (mom, dad, and aunt) plus splorp! and me (once I was well enough) we got packed.

And set out with my parents on our road trip to our new apartment home. And the house still was on the market.

(to be continued)

Monday, June 27, 2011

On the Market

(continued from part 1 here)

Let me express that while this whole "pick-up-and-move-to-Texas-thing" caught us completely off guard, splorp! and I had known a move to Texas was a distinct possibility. And we had said to each other: should it come up at some point in the future we would very seriously consider it.

We had carefully considered the financial aspects. That it would - in the long run - be more beneficial for the company to operate out of Texas instead of California. Certain corporate taxation laws, among others, make Texas more attractive for a growing business.

We just never imagined it would be accomplished in this way.

And splorp! and I had even discussed how pleased we were that he was enjoying his job, and that they appreciated his work. That he had a future with that company, even.

We had suspected that at some point we (he) would be offered the ability to relocate, perhaps as a promotion or other achievement. Or maybe he would pro-actively apply for an open position in Texas and we would move.

So we were open to the idea of moving. Just shocked that it was happening in this manner.

When splorp! called me that day in January to tell me the news, I immediately left work and went home. And then we consulted with our families, who said: "Well of course, you have to do it."

And so we found ourselves flying to Texas for a whirlwind 4-day trip to tour the office where splorp! would be working, and find a place to live.

Our house?

That little piece of real estate that we had spent so very many months searching for - being turned down time and time again before this one came on the market?

The house that we had spent 5 months waiting to find out if the short sale would be approved?

The house that was finally ours. That was ours for just over a year when news of this Texas move came along?

We put it on the market, and priced it to sell.

Quite a stomach-churning decision. Not something we did lightly. I mean, this was OUR house. FINALLY our house. The place we imagined we were going to live for a number of years. The place we sunk a bunch of money into (for new windows), and were just starting to consider how best to renovate the master bathroom.

Yup. On the market.

(to be continued ...)

Friday, June 24, 2011

Changes!

Wow this blogging thing has really dropped off my radar lately. Sorry about that.

The last time I posted was September, and it's now mid-June. A full 9 months have passed since I last wrote.

Well! Where to begin?

Certainly the last months of 2010 were uneventful. Even the Christmas holidays were fairly quiet.

After hosting our extended family in 2009 so they could see our new house, Christmas celebrations in 2010 returned to my parents' house.

New Year's passed uneventfully. splorp! and I are not much for parties, so we just prepared ourselves a wonderful meal and stayed in - barely making it to midnight.

January 2011, however, had a number of surprises for us.

First off, on his first day back to work in January, splorp! was called (along with perhaps 2 dozen of his coworkers) into a conference room, while the rest of the staff were directed to larger meeting down the hall.

The results of that meeting? splorp! and the smaller group were cordially invited to join the rest of the company in the offices in Texas, and please take the rest of the day off to think about it, and oh by-the-way there's a trip scheduled for you and your wife to tour the new city and see the if you like it, here it's already paid for ... And the rest of the California staff was laid off due to the pending relocation of the entire company to the Texas office.

...

[enter shocked silence]

...

Wait! it gets better.

Not only did we suddenly had to decide if we wanted to move to Texas, but splorp! had to tell them our decision very quickly - within 2 weeks, in fact. And then they wanted him to begin work at the new office "yesterday." Which turned out to be an absolute drop-dead-date of March 1.

If we said yes, then in less than a month and a half I had to quit my job, and we had to pack up our entire house into a 26 foot moving truck, ship splorp!'s car ahead of us, and move 1,500 miles with the dog and the bird.

...

[sensation of being overwhelmed]

...

(to be continued ...)