LTB–and a lot more

LTB? Life Trumps Blogging — a saying I’m pleased to claim as my own, whether I originated it or not.

This post about a month ago noted some of the disruption at the time that was interfering with blogging and possibly other things, noted the status of the “four possible projects” and so on.

An update might be in order…

First, as to the Four Projects. Almost no more feedback, certainly no more real light, almost no more sales (Three copies of Liblog Landscape, one each for the Academic and Public Library Blogs books, three of Balanced Libraries.) So far, the fifth option is looking really good, although I’m not ready to drop two of the others entirely, yet.

Second, as to Life–and why I haven’t been blogging much (noting that some six posts a month are more or less automatic–weekly reposts of my Library Leadership Network highlights post, monthly Cites & Insights announcements, and mini-reviews on a disc of old movies every few weeks):

  • The interior painting almost entirely disrupted daily life for a solid week. As these things go, that’s probably about right. The results are quite nice–a white with just a hint of yellow, giving the house a little extra warmth while serving as a neutral background for our artwork and furniture.
  • Also as part of possible-move-related changes, we replaced our extremely old stove with a new one, and immediately wondered why we hadn’t done this years ago–although certainly not high-end, the new one’s much better designed and more functional (and easier to clean).
  • Gulping, hearts in hands, nervously, we did put our house on the market–choosing a selling agent, talking to three possible buying agents, etc. Oddly, the buying agents (all in a market where it’s been really hard to sell houses) all thought we should sell our house first, then determine what to buy; our selling agent (in a market that rarely has many houses available and really hasn’t suffered badly in the downturn) thought we should find the perfect house first, then sell ours. We chose to list ours first, but were simultaneously ramping up house-searching.
  • And boy, does house-selling, particularly the first week+, disrupt life. Inspections (absolutely clean pest inspection: yay! good homeowner’s inspection: yay!). Setting a price (we chose to be slightly aggressive, that is, coming in at a slightly lower price than the market last fall–since the market’s so strange these days). Doing our own staging–removing some furniture, rearranging some things, pretting up stuff–because we didn’t want a professional stager. Arranging to keep the cats safe during open houses (which meant big-dog crates during those hours).
  • The first week+? Fill out the listing papers on Monday/Tuesday. Make the house ready for Agents’ Tour on Friday and for showings before and after that, beginning Wednesday. Open House Saturday and Sunday afternoons. And, if there are any offers, review offers on following Wednesday. (This “review offers on Wednesday” routine is typical hereabouts, particularly since there have usually been multiple offers–a seller can choose whether to look at a “preemptive offer” before that Wednesday. We had one attempted early offer, but it was nowhere near good enough to consider preemptive.) Then, if there aren’t any acceptable offers, keep the house showing-ready at all times, have an open house on Sunday afternoons, cross fingers… Keeping the house ready for showing on half an hour’s notice, while living in it, is loads of laughs–as many of you know.
  • Meanwhile, keep looking for new houses in an area that’s fortunately only a 45-minute drive away…which we did.
  • The “is this good news?” steps, all of them unnerving, all of this both taking away any time that would be used for serious writing or unserious blogging: Record number of agents at the agents’ tour. 40-odd groups on Saturday, 40-odd on Sunday, some repeats. Five other showings. Four disclosure packets (a mountain of paper including our extremely detailed disclosures–this is California, and the standard disclosure document is nine dense pages) out…
  • The “now what?” step: Four simultaneous offers. Fortunately for our sanity, we turned down the opportunity to have each agent present their offer to us–although those can humanize the offers. (And where we’re buying, turns out agents have an absolute right to make in-person offers. Every county, sometimes various areas within a county, has its own real estate culture and norms.) Three hours’ discussion with our agent; a ninety-minute dinner break; another two hour discussion; some phone calls to buyers’ agents. Next morning, we counter-offered the best offer; that evening, they accepted the counter-offer. (We’re still waiting on contingencies…but very minor ones.)

All of that alone has been enough to assure little contemplative writing, particularly after the morning LLN (the name changed from PALINET Leadership Network to Library Leadership Network on April 1, along with the corporate name change from PALINET and SOLINET to Lyrasis. Since I’ve been advocating that name change for a while, particularly since PALINET acquired the former Library Leadership Network, this is all good.) I didn’t recognize it at the time…

  • But wait! There’s more! We were out there looking at possibilities…and in one case, going back to a good possibility, but continuing to mull the drawbacks (what it would take to make it the house we’d want). (This was after being disappointed by several houses that looked good in pictures but not in person, or ones that had been beautifully remodeled but where the basics, the “bones” of the house, weren’t kept in good repair. Our house hasn’t been remodeled, but it’s always been kept in first-rate shape.) Then they got an offer…
  • Meanwhile, there was another, better house–but with a couple of drawbacks, including one that might make moving rapidly difficult…
  • And then there was a house that seemed to be in a great location with much of what we wanted–sunny, light, open, with a remodeled kitchen and bathrooms…
  • On Thursday–was that only three days ago?—we counter-offered and got the counter accepted on our house. On Friday morning, we went out to look at the latest possibility; arriving ten minutes early, we walked around the neighborhood and both said, “Unless there’s something wrong with the house, this could be it.” (Great places to walk, mountain views in both directions, quiet neighborhood…) While there are oddities to the house (aren’t there always?), there’s nothing really wrong…
  • To keep a long story from getting too long, and without going into unfortunate sidesteps, our offer was one of three presented early this morning (yes, Sunday); we believe we’ll get an email later today with a printable counteroffer, which we’ll sign, scan back (gotta love multifunction printers) to PDF, mail back to our agent…and we’ll have our new house (subject to contingencies and completion of our sale).

This does take a lot out of you…and, as house sales go, this is the dream situation, as I well know. I am not complaining: Having a house sell with multiple offers in its first real week on the market, and finding a really good house within the first few weeks of serious looking (we’d been looking for a year, actually, but broadened our criteria slightly) is little short of miraculous in today’s bizarro marketplace. We’ll probably do some celebrating, once we’ve moved in (and the temporary results of a misstep have cleared away). Of course, we did all the right things–but that’s no guarantee of a good outcome.

(I won’t talk numbers. They’re not terribly relevant. To people in some parts of the country, they’d seem other-worldly. I will note that the house we’re selling is small, although a little bigger than we thought. But it’s in a great location in a great neighborhood with great schools…)

But blogging, writing, reading, contemplation…all have taken a back seat to driving, discussing, hearing offers, “staging” our house each time an agent calls (or, one last time, for tomorrow’s walkthrough with the buyers and a home inspector)…

Net effects? Again, no final decisions on any of the projects–at this point, I’ll say “until we’re safely in new quarters,” which may be in five or six weeks. As to C&I…well, there might be a brief disruption. Or there might not.

9 Responses to “LTB–and a lot more”

  1. Ruth Ellen says:

    So, whither are you moving?

  2. walt says:

    Livermore (assuming this all works out). (And, for Will Manley readers, it’s true: Livermore has a really nice and heavily-used public library. We were both pleasantly surprised, maybe even astonished–not that it was good, but just how good, and how heavily-used. We’re looking forward to being steady patrons.)

  3. Leigh Anne says:

    Fingers crossed for a seamless outcome – and congrats!

  4. Steve Lawson says:

    I hope this all comes through as planned.

  5. walt says:

    Thanks. This morning was odd, with two agents and two buyers and a home inspector doing an extended walkthrough, an appraiser also doing a walkthrough, and our agent bringing over originals of papers we’d signed copies of, to make sure everything was properly signed. A proper zoo. All part of the process…

  6. RCN says:

    Reminds me why I haven’t moved since buying my current house (in a town that neighbors yours currently) in 1992. I think buying and selling houses at the same time in the San Francisco Bay Area should be illegal – it’s human cruelty! Meanwhile, I must keep at that maintenance thing… Congrats to you for both your sale and your purchase.

  7. walt says:

    RCN: Good point. Including the county-to-county culture differences. When we moved from San Mateo County to Santa Clara County, we didn’t pay either escrow fee because in SM, buyer paid and in SC, seller paid. Now, moving to Alameda County, we get to double up: Seller pays in SC, buyer pays in Alameda. (We also get to pay for both house inspections…)

    Maintenance: Good. It’s one thing to do a remodel. It’s another to keep the termites at bay, the roof, eaves, etc. in good condition, and the rest of the bones in good shape: Boring but essential. We were delighted to see that people do notice.

  8. Ruth Ellen says:

    Any particular reason you chose Livermore? Right now I’m visiting my sister in Pleasanton. She has talked about moving to Livermore.

  9. walt says:

    Several reasons. My brother lives in Livermore. Our best friend lives in Livermore. My wife’s family pioneered the area, and she has cousins in Livermore.

    And, after spending some weeks looking at houses in both Pleasanton and Livermore, we found the traffic a lot better in Livermore and the houses significantly less expensive–oh, and the library considerably more fabulous (not that Pleasanton’s isn’t very nice, because it is).

    We like Pleasanton, and for a while were focusing there. But the house that captured our fancy is in Livermore, and the traffic really was discouraging us about Pleasanton–the city’s layout essentially forces chokepoints. Still, a nice place.