What to Expect When Buying a Home: Please, please just give us the keys!

by seacoast_ashley 25. September 2015 07:41



If you have been following along on our family adventure, you already know that moving and buying our new home has faced some unique circumstances. My family and I are located in the US, the seller of our soon-to-be home is based in the United Arab Emirates. This meant that throughout the buying process our agent had to be knowledgeable on the longer than usual buying process. It meant that my family had to practice patience, because any communication with the seller resulted in a longer than usual response time.

My family and I had succeeded. We had a closing date! We set up utilities, changed our mailing addresses, and contracted various businesses to begin renovations (all for a closing date start date).  We should have closed and been happily nestled into our new home within 3 weeks of close. There was a bubble of excitement bobbing over all of our heads.

The night before the closing date, I carefully coordinated outfits for our family of five to pop against the purple front door of our new home. We would head from the attorney’s office and head straight to the house for a quick sweet family pic. As soon as the last sock was placed on the last set of clothing my husband and I received a text....a very disappointing text. Our agent needed to speak with us asap.

BAM! The happy bubble had burst. Closing would be pushed back a week. The sellers had not properly signed the deed. We are a pretty "roll-with-it" family, so after a few muffled curse words (the kids were all in bed) we accepted that life would happen and we would go on.

Cue closing date Number Two. This time I decided to save myself some laundry time and just go with our regular everyday clothes. Cue call Number Two. Again, the closing would be delayed. The deed, which we were now assured had been re-signed, had not arrived as promised. There was talk of the sellers being on holiday, taking a special trip to London because the legal process is smoother there, and long courier times. I really am not sure what the details were. All I knew was that once again I was going to have to call all of the contractors and reschedule. The I was going to have to tell three children under the age of 7 years that our day was not going to include going to the new house. I was crushed.

My husband and I stayed up late that night. We went through every possible scenario, and decided that if the house did not close on the next scheduled date we would have to walk. We were both paranoid that there was something bad going wrong, despite the assurance from our agent that this was not terribly uncommon when dealing with overseas sellers.

new house.jpg

The Door looks red here, but I assure you it is a very interesting shade of purple...

Closing date Three...YES! WE BOUGHT A HOUSE!!!! And the kicker, our awesome agent was able to negotiate our first full month of bills paid by the seller due to the long delay! Our family skipped the matching outfits. We drove to the house and played in the yard. We walked around and guessed at where Santa might leave Christmas gifts. We introduced ourselves to neighbors through the fence posts. We were a family who was finally home. Memories multiplied, and all was right with the world.

Tell us about your home-buying experiences! Did all go smoothly, or were there hurdles to jump along the way? You can join the conversation on our Facebook page


Ready to jump into the home-buying adventures? You’ll need a rockstar agent, like my own, and you can find one here


10 Fun Things to do This Fall in Coastal North Carolina

by seacoast_ashley 8. September 2015 14:05


Fall is quickly approaching, and although we are blessed with mild coastal NC weather and extended summers it is time to start the autumn memory-making process! We have compiled a list of 10 fabulous things to do in and around Wilmington, North Carolina this fall! Explore and enjoy the upcoming months!

1. Grill out (preferably S’mores!)

What fall would be complete without the toasty shell of a marshmallow cooked over open flames? Heck, anything cooked over an open flame is always better! Bonfires or grilling are immediate ways to get your friends and family bonding. No one can argue the lure of the open flames, and the sense of wonder that they create. Let the story-telling time begin! Topsail, Oak Island, and Carolina Beach (Freeman Park) all offer some way of taking the stories to the beach. You can find their rules and regulations on bonfires or grills on the beach in the following links:




2. Take a Hike...or Bike!

Our area offers up some of the most beautiful scenery in the world. Where else can you bike from a bustling riverfront to the calming waves of the Atlantic Ocean? The cross-city trail is tagged as the upcoming “urban Appalachian Trail.” But, you don’t have to wait for its completion to get your move on. Take the camera and hike The Basin Trail, aka the “Hermit Trail,” at Kure / Fort Fisher. Look at the leaves changing on the campus of UNCW. Or just stroll the sands of Oak Island! Whatever you choose to do, your body and mind will thank you!

3. Spend an Afternoon Treating Yourself to a Wine or Craft Beer Tasting!

Wilmington, NC has hit the craft beer scene with a bang! Breweries are popping up all over town, and they don’t disappoint. Grab your best friends for an afternoon of talking and tasting. If beer isn’t your thing, try some of our local wines! Nothing like a slow glass of scuppernong wine to warm the soul. Did you know that the scuppernong is our state fruit?! Yeah, we are the fun state!



4. Get Your Party on at any of our Area Festivals!

Just because Azalea Fest has rolled on by doesn’t mean that you have to live festival-free for the season! The NC coast is known for its love of a good party. We will find any reason to celebrate...a few of us have been known to throw a hurricane party! To party with the whole community head to one of the plentiful festivals in the area. It is a good way to meet your neighbors, learn a little about the area’s culture, and get your fill of fair food!



Downtown Wilmington will be hosting Slide Fest. Though technically not a “fair food” event, it is an opportunity to slip and slide your way through downtown!


Head to Kenansville, NC for the Muscadine Harvest Festival




5. Explore the City from the Cape Fear River with a Riverboat Tour

Nothing is more beautiful than watching the sunset from the bow of a boat. Coastal NC knows it, and is happy to offer up some fun and unique water tours! A fixture of downtown Wilmington is the Henrietta III. The Henrietta has been host to many weddings, private parties, proposals, and even gives Santa Claus a lift from the North Pole!




6. Get Ready for Halloween with a Haunted Ghost Tour!!

Wilmington, NC was founded in the 1700s. A lot of the previous tenants must have loved it so much that they just don’t want to leave! With Halloween just around the corner, this might be the ultimate fun fall activity! If the spooky stories have your nerves shot, maybe the haunted pub tour is more your speed! Whichever tour you choose, you are sure to appreciate the history of Wilmington and its natives a little more!



7. Spend a night at the Theatre

The arts scene in coastal North Carolina is alive and thriving! With inspiring natural scenery and vibrant town life, it's no wonder that on any given Saturday or Sunday you can find a host of theatres offering up some of the area’s best talent! Since its construction beginning in 1855, Thalian Hall has been the premiere stage for watching productions both big and small. We encourage you to soak in the scenery of this magnificent space. At the end of September you can even catch a performance of the Adam’s Family! Get your family ready to rock October!


8. Get your Yard and Home Ready for the Holiday Season!

Do you remember all of those boxes taking up space in your attic labeled "Holiday Stuff?" It's time to break those babies out!! Start with all of the orange-colored decor, then work your way to the red, greens, and whites! When you get tired of prettying up your home make your way to the yard! Go ahead and rake that grass down to the sand! Let the kids wear themselves out jumping...and re-raking. The photo ops will be worth it! Then blow the dust off of the top of the board games and declare the winner of the day! You will sleep good after this day!


9. Football and Chili

Nobody appreciates local football like North Carolina appreciates football! Set the crockpot on and head out for some Friday Night Lights! Throw your team colors on and cheer, cheer, cheer in the crisp autumn air!


10. Fishing!!!

What respectable “Things to do in Coastal North Carolina” list would be complete without fishing? None. Say goodbye to summer, but not the ocean! Load your freezer (or catch and release). Locals love the fact that fishing spots are less crowded in the fall. And, we all love the fact that Red Drum, Flounder, Trout, and King Mackerel (if you are off-shore) are biting! Novice or not, there is no memory worth more than the ones spent with family, wrapped in a hoodie, holding a fishing pole!

We even have a festival for that!


What to Expect When Buying a Home : You Are Under Contract, Now What?

by seacoast_ashley 31. August 2015 07:50



As you know from previous blog posts, my family is finally under contract. After some negotiating and lots of luck we are able to start the final jog to the closing table. There is so much that happens after your realtor exclaims,  “Congratulations! Your offer has been accepted!”


No two real estate transactions are ever the same, and our situation has to be one of the most unique I have ever been a part of. My family (“the buyers”) are located in a hot market in North Carolina. The Sellers are located overseas...with a 12-hour time difference. This resulted in every required document, every question, and every interaction taking a full day longer to complete. To say that this has been a bit nerve-wracking would be a gross understatement.

As soon as we were informed that we were under contract, we began the process to secure our mortgage. Since the decline (or bust, if you will) of the Housing Market (beginning in 2007 and hitting lows in 2012), getting a loan has required more documentation, qualifications and time. We spent no less than one week just searching files, requesting documentation, and combing through bank statements to determine where every dollar had come from, and where it had gone. For the most part, I would say kids. Kids are where all the dollars go!

Every time that we thought we had absolutely everything the Underwriter would come back to us, requesting yet another document. Around midnight on a random Wednesday night, we swore (for the 1,000th time) that we would never lose track of a penny again! My advice? Do a quick Google search or contact a mortgage broker before you even intend to apply for a loan, start a list of everything that you may potentially need, and start finding that stuff stat! It will save you so much time and frustration.


Our house was being sold “as is” but we still wanted to have a home inspection completed. I suggest that you ALWAYS have one. We needed to know that the bones of the house were good and that the house was safe for our family. We also didn’t want any $20,000 surprises after we move in.

If at all possible, go to the inspection with your Inspector! Our guy was great, and was one of about 4 recommended by our realtor, friends, and family. We spent almost 5 hours looking into every nook and cranny of the house. After finding all of the “issues” we walked away knowing exactly what kind of renovations and repairs we were facing.

This allowed for us to determine what we could afford to do before moving in. For us, new windows, kitchen floor, a small plumbing job, and a minor roof repair are the priorities. Not too bad for a home built in the 1960s. In addition to walking through explaining what the issues were, our inspector sent us an extremely detailed report (complete with pictures) of everything that he found and noted as an issue. This will come in handy as we check off the smaller issues over time. Our inspector charged us (The Buyer usually pays for the Inspection) around $1000. I think that this is the most important money that will be spent on our house.

As the mortgage documents rolled through the approval process, the Lender scheduled an appraisal. Most common loans will require an appraisal to determine that the house is, in fact, worth the loan amount. Our lender scheduled the appraisal and we were not present for it. An appraiser will pull comparable homes for sale (“comps”) or recently sold homes in the area. He/She will compare all aspects from the condition, square footage, number of rooms, use of space and will adjust the home value accordingly.


We were cruising right on to the closing date...until we weren’t. Remember that fun little fact from the beginning of this post that the sellers lived overseas? With flexibility and patience it mattered very little...until now.

Find out how our closing has been effected by working with a seller so far away. And, find out if we even make it to the closing table. It will be a surprise for all of us, as we haven’t made it just yet!

What are some of the hurdles that you have jumped when closing on a home? Have you ever passed on an inspection? Join the conversation on Facebook


Your Kitchen’s Role in Your Home

by seacoast_ashley 20. August 2015 16:13

Your Kitchen’s Role in Your  Home


On most afternoons, usually around 4:30pm, you can find me frantically searching the Internet for recipes utilizing the few ingredients that I have in the pantry. I am in this dash because at some point I got too busy--and forgot that I need to stop at the grocery store. Around 5:30pm, I have usually given up on my Internet searches, and given into just cooking everything that I have.

By 6:30pm, the family is all sitting around the table--some content and some grumbling-- over the “rice bowls," “big salads," “homemade soup,” or “pasta thingy” that I have concocted.

By 7:00pm we are talking and usually laughing about something funny the 2-year-old did or some crazy thing that the 4-year-old has decided to invent. And in those moments all of the food stresses have vanished and we are fully and presently with each each other. The whole family knows that we will do it all again tomorrow.

No matter what food is eaten there is a special togetherness that eating with the family fosters.

I grew up with a grandfather who farmed almost everything that my grandmother made. A few times a week our family would casually stroll into their house and have dinner, watch PM Magazine, and talk. On the days that we didn’t eat from my grandfather’s garden, my father would cook elaborate versions of soul food that far outweighed even my mother’s most ambitious meals.

I can remember every detail of my grandparent’s kitchen. I know what the countertops were made of (a white formica with tiny gold flecks), what was in each of the cabinets, and most certainly where my grandmother hid sweets. My mother still owns the table that my grandmother so extravagantly set night after night (with only white plates, bowls, etc. and Smurf glasses from Hardee’s), and when I enter my mother’s kitchen I am immediately taken back to dinner as a child.

My parents grow a lot of the food that they cook, and I can trace some of those smells back to toddlerhood. I also know that a proper tomato sandwich is made of only whole bread, Duke’s Mayonnaise, home grown tomato slices (heirloom), and a sprinkle of black pepper. It is best served with a cold Coke.

As many of you who follow the blog know, my family is in the midst of moving. We are under-contract on a house that does not have the greatest kitchen: but I am determined that when we move in, that kitchen will house the memories that my kids will look back on. It is in that kitchen that I will try to replicate (and hopefully one day master) my father’s soul food and my grandmother’s cottage cheese pie. The point is THE KITCHEN IS IMPORTANT!


For me to work my kitchen magic I need 3 things; sturdy counters, room for five, and a nice set of pans. The backsplash (I want subway tile), the appliances (stainless would be nice), and the cabinet color (these will one day be refaced) really are just minor details in the story of my kitchen. I am willing to give the minor details up for countertop cupcake making, loud excitement whether it be over a ball game or tears over a broken heart, and the ability to just whip up what I already have in the pantry (granted I made it to the grocery store anytime in near past).

Trends in kitchens change. Some are beautiful and some are questionable after a decade. Big is nice, but small can feel just as nice. Let your realtor show you some things that aren’t on your wish list. Let them guide you into a memory maker. Let go of perfect unless it's going to make your tomato sandwiches top notch!

What role does your kitchen play in your family? Join the conversation.


To see some of the kitchens packed with loads of potential in our area


What to Expect When Buying a Home: You’ve Found “The One”

by seacoast_ashley 14. August 2015 09:08

If you read last week's blog post, you already know that I have studied, gotten a pre-approval letter, and started the home search. Back in my youth (before time got scarce and kids got plentiful), I loved the search for the perfect house. In all honesty, I still do, but the lazy Saturday mornings of driving to open houses at a whim are gone. Our search has been warp speed. We pack snacks, drinks, coloring books, diapers and plan our route like a trip to Europe.

We had three areas that we wanted to zone in on. All of them offered up great schools, walkability to parks, and the most important factor were in our budget...not a penny over! In total we looked at about 10 houses before we found the one. We knew when we walked in that this house would need work, but we also knew that the location and the house layout were perfect for our young family.


This is the kind of work I’m talking about here. Anybody know a good tree service?

Because the city that we moved to is experiencing  quite a rebound from the housing market crisis in previous years houses were selling fast. In many cases they are selling above the list prices with multiple offers. We had to make a move, and we had to do it fast. As soon as we viewed the house and buckled everyone into their seats, and passed out waters, and found pacifiers we talked. We drove the neighborhood again, we speculated on what kind of neighbors lived on the street, and then we called our real estate agent and told him that we wanted to make an offer to purchase.

Acting on our Realtor’s advice, we offered full asking price. We asked for closing costs, and the offer would be contingent on our financing and home inspection. Here is where things slowed down, and the dream felt like it was going to die.

As soon as we walked into our rental condo, we started “signing” all of the necessary paperwork. Our realtor was able to prepare and send all documents online. This was extremely helpful. He looked through the documents and informed us that he was submitting the offer. We waited...

At 10pm our realtor called. The seller actually lived overseas, so all offers (and there were a few others) would be held until the following morning and submitted to the seller at the same time. Yikes! 2 days passed and we were freaking out! How long was an offer good for? When would we hear back? Would we hear back? Could we make other offers? The number of questions that our Realtor had to answer was downright embarrassing!  By the end of the third day we were informed that the sellers chose another offer. The house was “under contract.”


Dreams of the kids coming down these stairs on Christmas...dashed.

My family experienced a strange sort of heartbreak knowing that we were still house hunting. In the short time (not even a week) since seeing the house, we had started to picture our life there. We were so in love with the neighborhood that it seemed like every other neighborhood was not as good. We knew that we would continue looking in this neighborhood, but we also knew that most things that came on the market in this area went under contract super fast, and for more money than we had to spend. I actually cried.

Two weeks later, our luck changed! Our realtor called us one evening to inform us that the contract had fallen through, and that the seller would be putting “our house” back on the market! We immediately told our realtor to resubmit our offer, to take out the closing cost, and to add an extra $1000 to the offer. This would be the strongest offer that we could make, and we did not want to lose out again.

Two nail-biting days later, we were under contract. Our offer to purchase had been in competition with 3 other, but the tweaks to the offer were enough to sway the seller. The kids went to bed talking about their new rooms and my husband and I poured a glass of celebratory wine!

The next morning the drive to close on this house kicked into high gear. There were papers to be signed, inspections to be lined up, loans to qualify for. You can read all about those things on the blog next week!

How did you know that you found “the one”? Did you have to jump through many hoops to make it your own? Let us know on our Facebook page!


If you haven’t already found your dream home, we can help!



What to Expect When Buying a House: The rent is too high and the rates are too good...decisions, decisions

by seacoast_ashley 6. August 2015 15:32



After selling our home for a move across the state, my husband and I wondered if now was the right time to buy a home? We had to move quickly, due to a job start date as well as a super-quick sale of our home. Upon arriving in our new town we set up camp in a rental with our three children and started researching.

The very first thing that we did, upon the advice of various realtors and lenders, was to make sure that our finances were in good order. No matter our choice to buy or rent, we needed to be able to understand where our debts stood and how much we could afford. By ensuring that our credit scores were good and that all open accounts were in good standing we were able to move forward.

The decision to buy was made pretty quickly. Our family was going to stay in the same home for the duration of elementary school (at least) for three children, so we knew this will be a 5-10 year move. Mortgage interest rates were at historic lows. And possibly the biggest factor for us was that rent would be just as expensive as mortgage payments and in most cases even more because of the size of our family! Buying was a no-brainer for us.



After making the first of what would end up being hundreds of decisions, the first person that we contacted was our long term mortgage broker. We had worked with him on all of our previous loans, and it felt comfortable going back to him for guidance. Our broker was able to speak with us about income, assets, debts, etc. He then gave us a general idea of what we could afford and a loan pre-approval letter in the event that we found something we wanted to put an offer on.


With pre-approval in hand we began casually driving around neighborhoods looking for the perfect spot. We scoured the Internet for neighborhood reviews, school reviews, etc. We joined forums for our new town. We reached out to anyone from our past that now lived in our new city. I’m pretty sure that at some college somewhere I have earned a doctorate in all things “new city.”


The research could have been a full-time job and without local knowledge of the area we were swimming in a sea of confusion! This is where a relocation specialist came in very handy! A relocation specialist was able to answer some of our questions and then refer us to a local realtor.


Our realtor was able to assist us in narrowing our search. The market is hot in our new city, and we needed to focus to be able to play the real estate game! We chose three areas to focus on. I drove those areas in the morning, afternoon, and night to get a feel for the traffic, neighborhood activity, and the kinds of people that would become our neighbors.

All of the above steps were imperative in our quest for the perfect home. After completing the steps above we were confident walking into each showing that if we loved the house we could quickly make our offers. The future was coming and coming fast! Check back to see what happened when we found our dream home!

How did you make the decision to buy or rent? What were the big factors in choosing where to look? Who was imperative to you starting your search?

Join the conversation on our Facebook page


Tracking Down the Food Trucks!!!

by seacoast_ashley 24. July 2015 04:53

Work up an appetite this weekend visiting some of our open houses then find a food truck! The food truck scene in Wilmington has grown exponentially in the past few years. Our family loves to do a good food truck hunt! The best way to love where you live is to explore it. Here are a few of our favorite conquests!

  1. Catch - Sliders, street tacos, and more filled with locally caught yumminess. There is a reason that the movie studios loves Catch so much. It is divine. This is by far one of the best road restaurants out there!! http://www.catchthefoodtruck.com/home#menu


Image via WECT

  1. Poor Piggy’s BBQ - Specializing in North Carolina BBQ, and you know how seriously we take our BBQ here! Just like strolling into your favorite sit down BBQ joint, Poor Piggy’s serves up the sandwich or plate options (with hushpuppies!!!). http://www.poorpiggys.com/#!


Image Vis Poor Piggy’s Facebook Page

  1. A&M’s Red Food Truck - If you are out exploring and hit a hankering for brunch food, I would highly suggest that you hunt down this truck! Chicken and Waffle sliders....need I say more? Fresh fruit, crepes, breakfast casseroles?!!?! What?! I know. https://www.facebook.com/Aandmsrft


Image via A&Ms Red Food Truck Facebook Page

  1. Funky Fresh Food Truck - Funky and Fresh! The name says it all. This truck serves up FRESH! The menu may include corn fritters, snapper, mac-and-cheese bites! You are free to go on your search now! https://www.facebook.com/funkyfreshfoodtruck

  1. Soulful Twist - Need some comfort food? This is the truck that you need to find. Cozy on up with fried okra, cornbread fritters, and so much more made from the heart. Dare I say that it competes with my Mama’s food! https://www.facebook.com/pages/Soulful-Twist/1397800603835622?fref=ts

Anyone crazy enough (and I mean this in the best possible way) to operate a food truck may find it cumbersome to commit to just one menu. I can guarantee you though, that you should trust their menu decisions! Go. Explore your city. Support your neighbors, and fill your belly in the process!!

I know that with so many great chefs taking to the road I have missed quite a few. Who should we hunt next? Tell me what your favorite food truck is! https://www.facebook.com/seacoastrealty

**After writing this post, I stumbled across this story in the Huffington Post. I love a good read on people doing extraordinary things. Have a look! http://huff.to/1JAQMOl

10 Awesome Things to do This Weekend! Get Out and Explore!!!

by seacoast_ashley 16. July 2015 08:41



One of the greatest things about living in Coastal NC is the abundance of unique weekend events. Whether you have visitors from out of town and want to show them a good time, or you are looking to explore your hometown you have lots of options for this weekend. Here are 10 of the activities going on this weekend that are worth a look! Explore! #lovewhereyoulive

1. Nurishment Class: Homemade Condiments

Learn to make all of the condiments that you need for a summer cook-out. When you are done, grab a bite and shop for your party supplies!


Tidal Creek

2. Beach Reads Book Sale at the Northeast Regional Library

Pick-up some good beach reads for the second half of summer! Books are only $0.50!!


NHC Public Library, Northeast

3. Carolina Beach and Riverwalk Farmers Markets

Spend the morning strolling around in the beautiful sunshine! Show your home some summer lovin’ by bringing home fresh flowers!



Carolina Beach / Downtown Wilmington


4. Historical Southport Bike Tour

Get outside, get active, and gain some knowledge about historical Southport. Southport offers up tons of unique shopping and dining experiences when you are done! See why they are America’s Happiest Seaside Town!



5. Cornhole Tournament Benefiting Brandon Bailey

Do you have what it takes to sink the bean bagjQuery15206205183092970401_1437072070443? Then you might want to head out to Sneads Ferry to show-off your skills, win a prize, and support Brandon’s fight against Lymphoma. Triple win!


Sneads Ferry

6. Pro-Am Surf Fest

Watch some of the greatest surfers in the world compete at one of the largest surfing competitions on the East Coast! Sun, salt, and surfing sounds like the perfect beach weekend!


Wrightsville Beach

7. Yoga Fest 2015 : Summer of Hope Fundraiser

Get your mind and body relaxed and ready to face the work week! The best part? Proceeds will benefit Homes of Hope Orphanages in India! Feel good, do good, be good!


Wilmington Yoga Center

8. Family Park Days “ Bubble Bash”

Who doesn’t love blowing bubbles in the warm sunshinejQuery1520807116371113807_1437072282760 Meet your neighbors while chasing bubbles. Paint with bubbles and make your own bubble wand! And, did I mention it is freejQuery152021012896252796054_1437073018743?


Phillips Park (Jacksonville)

9. US Coast Guard One-Day Safety Course

Living near the water necessitates that you know how to be safe on or when operating a boat. This one day course is designed to get you boating ready. One day inside, is worth a whole summer of safety!


Oak Island / Southport


10. Summer Pop-up Starry Nights (other themes throughout the month)

Spend time with your family cooling off at the Cape Fear museum participating in various interactive experiences! This is the perfect way to learn about the people, places, and things that create our unique region. This week learn about the constellations in the summer sky!


Cape Fear Museum / Wilmington

***Bonus Activity! Coast in and Win!!***

Visit some the beautiful homes listed by Coldwell Banker Sea Coast Advantage and enter to win $500! Winning could fund a lot of weekend adventures! For a list of our open houses visit


What to Expect When Selling Your Home: Part Six - The Closing

by seacoast_ashley 13. July 2015 03:35



I was not as smiley as this woman on the side of our UHaul

After packing every square inch of our home, minus the living room curtains (you can read more about this in last week’s blog) we were ready to scrub. My family and I had loved our home and we wanted the new buyers to walk in and love it too.

Luckily, I had the help of my super awesome parents. Everyday for the last week in my home, my mother and I would drop my kids off at a drop-in daycare. We would clean the inside of the house while my father worked on the outside. We had so much stuff crammed into every available space that no less than 10 trips were made to local charities to make donations.

The week was looooong. I had prepared myself to cry from sun up to sun down. I had previously imagined that each piece of artwork coming off the wall, and each memory inducing wall scrape touched up, and each totally empty room would result in an ocean of tears. This was not the case!  The massive amount of work that it took to get the house completely empty and clean made me ready to get out.


Little things like this set the tears flowing!

The tear-free me lasted until the morning of closing. I woke up early and attempted to make a video of each room so that our kids would be able to remember what the house was like when they were small. This was when the floodgates opened. I could remember memories so clearly in that empty house. I remembered every holiday photo, every scraped knee, and every birthday party. I knew that the new owners would be walking into the house, their house, in just a few short hours. With a couple of deep breaths and spoken thank-yous to the house, I slipped a bottle of champagne into the fridge, and walked out for the last time.

Oftentimes (almost everytime) buyers have the chance to do one final walk-through of the home. This usually takes place on the morning of the closing. I was informed by my realtor that I could be there for the walk-through or not. I chose not to attend. I knew that I would be sad seeing someone critique or make plans of changing what had been mine for so many years. I also wanted the new buyers to be relaxed and excited. I wanted them to “bond” with their new home.

Driving out of our neighborhood was rough, but somewhere between the neighborhood and the lawyer’s office I had made peace with moving out. We did not see the buyers at the closing table. It is my understanding that in some cases the buyers and sellers are at the same table and literally hand over the keys after signing all of the legal paperwork. My appointment to sign was an hour before the buyers’ appointment. The actual closing was pretty anti-climatic.

My agent sat beside me and a lawyer sat in front of me. It was so nice to have the experienced eyes of my agent reviewing everything that the lawyer slid across the table. It was important too, because we found a $200 mistake! Papers were re-done, resigned, and before I knew it my house was no longer mine. The “buyers” were no longer the buyers, but were the “owners.”


New beginnings, here we come!

Every hardship and minute of work seemed to vanish. The memories stayed. And, in the second that I signed my name on the last of what felt like 1000 pages, my family and I became homeless! The relief of selling our home has morphed into panic again as we search for a new house to make a home. We are in a constant state of looking, number-crunching, racing to open houses! Stay tuned for the upcoming series “What to Expect When Buying a Home”.

Did you feel relief, sadness, pure joy when officially selling your home? Do you have advice for me on buying? Please do-tell!


If you are looking for guidance in the home buying/selling process:


What to Expect When Selling Your House: Part 5 - Life After the Offer

by seacoast_ashley 3. July 2015 04:33



Pay close attention to these curtains, and read on.

In my last blog post, I talked about the highs, and lows, and long nights of negotiating and accepting an offer. It is an exciting time, but don’t pop that cork (like we did) just yet. Little did my husband and I know, there would be many more hurdles to jump before the whole home selling process was over.

The offer that we accepted put us walking away with a couple thousand dollars. We knew that we would not walk away with lots of money, as we bought our home in the height of the housing market, and although recovering, it was not quite back to the way it had been. We were selling due to a job move, so we were okay with walking away with nothing. The reason that we negotiated our bottom-line at a couple thousand dollars above our break-even point, was so that after the buyers had their inspection and submitted their repair request we would have the money to fix anything necessary. We will talk about that list a little later!

In the Offer to Purchase that we signed, the buyers put down “earnest money.” This is money that shows that they are committed, and if the transaction goes through will go toward their down payment. This gave us peace of mind and let us know that if the deal fell through by some fault of the buyer we would be compensated for the time that the house was off the market.

The Offer also had a due diligence period of three weeks. This time lets the buyer schedule all necessary inspections, appraisals, etc. Some of these inspections were just things that the buyer wanted to check out, and some were necessary for the bank to approve their loan. This three weeks ended up being almost as hectic as the house showing period. Because we wanted the house to make good impressions we continued to clean, tweak, and improve it. Not only were we doing the aforementioned things, but we were also packing. We were moving whether this deal went through or not, so packing could not wait. There was SO MUCH STUFF!


Renting a POD was one of the best decisions we made. It gave a us a place to put ALL THAT STUFF without making too much of a mess inside the house.

With each inspection (home inspection, pest inspection, roof inspection, inspection of the heating and air unit) came new worries that the buyer might not like what they were hearing. Our stress levels went each time an inspector scheduled a visit. I am sure that the buyer was feeling this same stress and probably second guessing their offer the whole way through.

The day that due diligence was to end the buyer’s agent asked for a due diligence extension... We were floored. Our agent was in constant contact with the buyer’s agent. We were assured that the buyer was no trying to back out, but could not get the all of the inspections that they needed in time. They wanted to extend 3 days. We very reluctantly agreed. One last inspection and the due diligence was ending (at 5pm). We were counting hours.

At 4pm we received the Repairs Request. This is where the deal almost fell apart. Are you stressed out yet? We were!

Having bought and sold houses before, my husband and I both totally expected that there would be a list of things both “biggish” and small that the buyer would ask us to fix. I was expecting things like repair of a crack in the moulding, fixing the light fixture in the bedroom, replacing the back door, etc. What we got went way beyond our wildest dreams!

The repairs report came, and the buyer asked for a new roof, new heat/air unit, gas logs in the fireplace to be serviced, and the list went on and on. In case you missed it, yes I did say a new roof! The estimation for a new roof was $8,000. The estimate for a new heat/air unit was also $8,000. I freaked out! The were asking for well over $20,000 in repairs.

It was time for my agent’s ninja negotiating skills to be exercised. After much sweating and number crunching my husband and I knew that the couple of thousand dollars that we were going to walk away with was all that we could offer. We had our agent call the buyer’s agent and offer $2000 toward closing, we would service the gas logs, and we would service the heat/air unit. There was nothing else that we could offer. We waited, and tried to figure out what we would do with the house when the deal fell through.

We had a response from the buyer within an hour. They would take our offer if we would throw in the living room curtains. It all came down to curtains.

The deal was on, we were back to packing, and it finally felt like we were in the home stretch.

Have you gotten close to a deal and then it fell through? Or, did you sell a home and have a buyer ask for something totally unexpected? Tell me about it on our Facebook page


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