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.
- 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.