Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Final Inspection

Today is the final day we have the house open for inspection. Technically, it is open for a short while at 8:30 before Saturday's auction, but anyone who is serious about looking at the place will have seen it by then.

So this morning was the last day when I had extended morning routines. Besides making coffee, feeding the cat and unloading the dishwasher, I had to put the toaster in the cupboard (even though it is now working perfectly), stash the tomatoes and peppers LK had on the counter, put the napking holder away and in general reduce the kitchen counters to one lonely mixer on the right, one lonely cutting board on the left and a mortar and pestle (lonely, except for each other) on the counter. I even have to put the coffee maker away once we are done with it.

Apparently making the kitchen look as if no one uses it makes it more attractive to people who might want to use it.

Both of us are glad this process is coming to a close. We've had one low-ball offer and three or four others who the agent thinks are serious about the place. But there is no guarantee that we will even get any bids at the auction on Saturday. And apparently in the world of real estate, that's not such a bad thing since not selling your house at auction often leads to selling your house right after auction. Or so they say.

We're in a good position, of course. If we don't sell now, it will have just been a little (a lot of) inconvenience and a little bit of money for the advertising, brochures, pictures, etc. We can continue to rent the house we're moving to and stay here until we do get a buyer. In fact, in our original retirement planning we were always going to stay in Sydney for a couple of years. But it looked as if the real estate market here in Greenwich was pretty active, and we thought we may as well go for it now. Going back to Plan A wouldn't be all that bad, in fact.

One of the real problems with all of this is that you can't help doing a lot of calculations, none of which make you really happy except the what-if scenario where you sell the house for much more than you want. But I made the mistake of doing a spreadsheet showing the impact of selling the house for various prices.

Turns out that in the best-case scenario we can live like Auntie Mame and cavort around the world most of the year. In the worst-case scenario, we have to live our life as we planned to when we retired.

Those who worked with me may recall that I always tried to consider what could go wrong with a business plan and what we would have to do if that happened. Turns out that is not the best way to have a life planning discussion with LK late at night. The poor woman was up at 4:30 anticipating our very own personal edition of 2012. For two mornings running.

Then yesterday, I popped up pretty early for me with the sudden realization that I had forgotten to include all sorts of good things - like the money we have - into the equations. I did mention that these were late-night (read, after a couple of wines) discussions.

Anyhow, I was able to come downstairs yesterday and point out that everything was cool with our planning and in fact there really is nothing to worry about. LK went to bed a little early last night and is still sleeping as 8 o'clock rolls around. I will have to remember in the future that spreadsheets are best left back in the work world.

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