Thursday, May 6, 2021

Selling our vacation house

I promised an update on how we landed on the decision to sell our vacation house, and I'm finally ready to share.

We bought this house 12 years ago when we lived in Seattle, and it was a comfortable 3-4 hour drive from our house - perfect for a long weekend. My parents (and, sister & many other family members) live 2 hours from the house. 

When the kids were young, we used the house a lot. They didn't have activities or sports, and M & I both had six weeks of vacation time per year. The beach house was a fantastic vacation option. It had all of the comforts of home, without a flight or really long drive. We also could meet family members at the house, and we've been doing a summer family trip there each year since we bought it. We've had countless fabulous memories, and even got both grandmothers there before they passed away. 

I love the quiet town, and the change of pace in such a small community, and feel so lucky we've had the experience, and been able to share it with many friends & family members. 

So, what's changed? 

When we moved to California, M pushed really hard to sell. It took me a while to agree, and then we put the house on the market for more than a year. The market there was REALLY slow. It wasn't the pricing, just the number of interested buyers. So, we took the house back off the market, paid it off, and mentally checked that box. 

Now, however, things are pretty different for us.  In no particular order

  • Maintaining any house takes work. I'm at a point where I'd love to go on vacation & just chill & relax. Not worry about deep cleaning the house, replacing worn out items, decluttering, landscaping, & just working. With us in California, my parents have picked up some of the work (at their request), and they are now 70 & that feels both unfair & untenable in the mid to long term. In addition to the maintenance work, there are bills to stay on top of, calendars to manage, & plenty of communication. We don't rent the house out, but lots of family members use it, which takes coordination & overhead.
  • The boys are/will be in high school (Nick starts in August). Our time together is really limited, both because of all of our schedules (work, sports, activities), but they'd also love to explore other travel destinations. They love the family time at the beach, but it's a sleepy town & they'd prefer to mix it up a bit on trips.
  • The market. The math on the house has never quite added up from a value exchange perspective, as we aren't there enough to get the value out of it, and we pay for all utilities, taxes & the upkeep. However, the market has been soft as noted above, so there was no incentive to sell. COVID has changed all of that. The house has gone up 85% (estimated, based on planned listing price) since we attempted to sell seven or so years ago. The math makes it really, really hard to pass up this opportunity. 
It's very bittersweet, & this place will always have a piece of my heart. I know we will always have the memories, and we are already planning our next family summer trip, to ensure we carve out the time together. There are many votes for Bend, so that seem likely for next summer. 

Picture from last weekend. Beautiful, even on a cloudy day.

What do we plan to do with the money from the house sale?
  • Taxes & fees. We'll be paying federal taxes, as well as both OR & CA state taxes, so that will eat up a sizable portion. And of course, paying all of the standard selling fees.
  • Savings. We will put a large chunk into savings & investments. That money will be ear marked so I can quit my job in February. It will cover what my salary covers, for our non-mortgage expenses.
  • Mortgage. It will get us very, very close (but not quite there) to paying off our California house. This would be a huge & exciting milestone for us. In addition to the financial security of paying off our house, it allows me to quit working (or, find something flexible as I'd like) & M would also have the ability to switch to another (lower paying) role, should he choose. He's wanted to work at a start up for a long time, but the financial instability has always been a sticking point. Having the mortgage (nearly) paid off, and then paid off soon after would allow M to make any career switches he'd like. 
Our current timeline anticipates the house going on the market at the end of this weekend, & accepting offers a week or so after that, so things are happening fast. We've requested a slightly delayed closing, so we can have one last family vacation there over the 4th, and then pack up & head out. It will be hard to leave it behind, but I'm at peace with the decision & know it's right for us right now. M, after pushing me to sell forever, is now pretty emotional & torn over it, but I know he will come around as well. :-) 


  1. The fact that it will almost pay off now your main house and enable you to cute back, as well as your husband, is a win/win/win. You can rent a place at the beach every year for a week’s vacation, with much less headache.. That is e conclusion aI have come to in my own life. Congratulations! Cindy in the South

    1. For the cost, we could rent out a house for a month a year! But yes, it's the lack of effort & mental work & time that will also be such a gift at this phase.

  2. Sounds like a great plan and perfect for the stage you are at in your lives. I'm glad you'll have one last trip there before closing. Enjoy!

    1. Likewise - looking forward to the trip there (I have two ahead, M & the kids just have one). And, it does feel like the right thing for the stage we're currently in.

  3. I almost was going to ask, but then slapped my hand from typing as I figured you'd share when and if you wanted. I often feel like the work of our family cabin, shared by multiples, is too much work for the experience my family gets with my husband working Saturdays. It sounds like your decision was very practical, with head, but also with heart as you weighed the family time. Life will change again for you when you are true empty nesters-the kids launched past college, and then you can re-evaluate.

    1. Oh, there's been a lot of work on the coordination. We have a lovely family & all get along well, but there's bound to be some drama here & there when things are misplaced/not replaced/broken/etc. It's easy to overlook the work involved for everyone else, but as the person who does all of the coordination & planning for the house, it does get tiring.

  4. Will give commenting another try . . .

    We have friends that recently sold their vacation home recently, just up the coast from where yours is located, for many of the same reasons you give. It was a bittersweet decision for them as well but they are glad to be done with the upkeep, extra taxes, etc. and just weren't able to get there enough to make it worthwhile. Some relatives were down to your town though a month or so ago, thinking of buying a second home, but decided the prices were just to high right now, so a good time to be selling! Apparently things are moving very quickly now.

    The town where your house is located was always our favorite when we lived in Oregon. We even debated moving there full time, but Hawaii won out.

    (The Occasional Nomads)

    1. The market in that entire area is just nuts. At the original price point, we were fine to keep & use infrequently. At this price point, it's just crazy to consider keeping it, with the other costs & how little we can be there.

      We have so many people interested, and the house isn't yet on the market, so we'll see how it goes.

      We will definitely be back - we love the community!

  5. I have not looked back since we accidentally sold ours. Three times in the past couple of months we had had tornados and storms and we did not have to run down the next day to assess any possible damage. Plus we only have to maintain one lawn now___bonus!

    1. The coast also does require quite a bit of upkeep, just do the stormier weather. I won't miss the worry or the additional upkeep. We don't have a lawn (uncommon because of the beach), but I did spend hours weeding last weekend, so I can relate!