Tuesday, October 5, 2010

We Sold Our Home, and I'm Miserable

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

I’m sitting here mourning the home we just sold, even though I pushed my husband to agree to list it. It was definitely the right thing to do, because there’s no way we used it enough to justify the cost. And I’ve never been a two-house person – it’s hard enough for me to keep one under control. It’s what I wanted, but this is turning out to be really painful for me.

The house is in Boyne City, Michigan, a truly charming little town that’s situated on beautiful Lake Charlevoix in northwestern Michigan. The house, which we built just over 10 years ago, has a great view of the lake. And it’s in an idyllic setting, across the street from a park in a newer neighborhood of lovely 1940s-style homes, with big porches and lots of character.

Initially, we planned on living there in retirement. My husband, who hates the cold, envisioned being there in the summer and somewhere in the south during the winter. I love winter, so I would’ve stayed in Boyne all year and visited him for a few weeks in February. But after a couple of years, I realized that I couldn’t live that far away from a major city. I would’ve been starved for all the things I love doing in the Detroit metro area.

Knowing that, I started lobbying to sell the house five or six years ago, when my husband was excitedly proclaiming that we could make a lot of money on it, based on the market at the time. But he loved being up there and wouldn’t even consider selling. I worried because much of the real estate in northern Michigan is owned by people connected to the auto industry, which was teetering on the brink back then. Now, of course, it’s a disaster. House prices have fallen by as much as half in Michigan, and it’ll be years before property values, especially second homes, recover. So we’re taking a substantial loss.

But I expected that. What I didn’t expect is that it would sell so quickly. It’s taken well over a year for some properties to sell in our little development. So I figured we’d still be using the house next spring and maybe even next summer. When the realtor called us with the offer, it hit me like a lightning bolt. I hadn’t realized just how unprepared I was to let go of that delicious retreat. Be careful what you ask for, right?

A good friend of mine sent me this Helen Keller quote:

"When one door of happiness closes, another one opens; but often we look so long at the closed door that we do not see the one which had opened up for us...."

She said not to stare at Boyne City too long. And she’s right. That was a lovely chapter in our lives. But maybe now it’s time to relax, with fewer responsibilities and concerns about the house, especially when we weren’t there. And we won’t feel compelled to spend all our free time there, anymore. So it’ll be okay, I say, in an effort to convince myself. I’ll get over this loss, because, after all, it didn’t make sense for me to begin with. But for right now, it’s tougher than I’d ever imagined it could be.



Drew Andrews said...

I think this is a case of “we don’t know what we have until it’s gone.” Nevertheless, I’m sure that the memories and experiences you had in the house made it hard to let go. Considering how hard times have gotten these days, selling one of your houses was definitely the right thing to do. You’d be able to save more money with only one mortgage to think about rather than two.

- Drew Andrews -

Anonymous said...

Having a strategic location like that can really make you feel sad when you’re about to sell your house. I hope the buyer will love the place also; just like how you treasured it for a long time. It’s been two years after your post and I hope you’re already enjoying your new home. I guess you’ll be enjoying more moments with the new door that opened up for you. :)

~ Leona Gladen ~

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