By Ben |

Big news since I last wrote: after ten good years in Emporia, we sold our house and are moving to Omaha, to be closer to Jessie's family. Jessie has a new job, and I'll continue to do the same work from home. But probably the most interesting part of the story is that our house sold in just two hours! I want to emphasize that we are very grateful to the buyer and hold her in the highest respect, and if she's reading this, we hope she understands that we were just surprised by her enthusiasm for the property. I mean we love it, but we didn't expect someone to fall in love with it on first sight!

Our plan was to put the house on the market by the beginning of July and have it available for showings the whole month of July while we continued to live here, then move to Nebraska at the end of July. Toward that end, we had cleared out a bunch of our stuff, and we had our Realtor Kristi come on Tuesday, June 19, to advise us on what else needed to be moved out before she could take pictures.

During that visit, though, Kristi said she wanted to show it to someone who would be in town Friday morning (the 22nd). So we dropped everything and spent about 10 hours straight on Thursday getting the place clean and tidy. Friday morning came and went with no showing; it turned out the prospective buyer found a place on Thursday and so no longer needed to see ours. We were disappointed -- and very tired and sore! -- but resigned ourselves to keeping the place clean for a month of showings.

Meanwhile we signed the preliminary paperwork for listing the property, with an asking price toward the middle of the quoted range, $106k, which is $20k more than we paid for it 10 years ago. Yes, we've put more than that into fixing it up, but given the comparable properties, we felt that was reasonable. Monday afternoon (the 25th) Kristi returned to take photos and was most gratifyingly impressed by how well we'd taken her advice. She encouraged us to ask for the upper end of the price range instead, $109k.

The following morning (the 26th) all the other Realtors from her agency came to take a look. They walked around briskly and asked no questions. That was at 10:00. At 10:15 Kristi put a sign in our lawn and a lockbox on the door. Minutes later, she called to say one of her colleagues had a prospect he felt was perfect for the house and wanted to show it at 10:45! We picked up our things and took the dogs to Jessie's private practice office. Half an hour later, we dropped the dogs back off at the house and went to lunch with some of Jessie's coworkers.

At 12:20, Kristi texted to say she had a verbal offer of $98,500 and she recommended countering with $107k. Since we were at a crowded restaurant table, I texted back that we needed some time to confer. At 12:32 she texted again to say she had good news. I called her the moment we left the restaurant at 12:40, and she said that the buyer had offered $112k with the stipulation that we pay $5k toward her downpayment (which apparently is some sleight of hand

they do with VA loans when the buyer doesn't have enough downpayment to satisfy the VA) such that we would get $107k, before fees. That's $1k more than we'd asked for, $9k more than her original offer, and without a second bidder or even a counteroffer. We approved the cost breakdown; by 4:30 the buyer had accepted her end of the deal, and by 5:30 she had signed it.

We don't know much about the buyer except that she's a 78-year-old woman with a distinctive name (found her on Facebook) and a VA loan. Also, judging by her rapid response, she already lives in town and has been poised to pounce on just the right place for some time, and she's so sure that ours is just the right place that she's not asking for any inspections (aside from the required termite inspection) -- she wants it as-is. In the contract she emphasized that she wants all the appliances and also the plants. Can do! It's a relief to not have to remove them.

So now we are moving out on July 28, and Kristi will close the deal on our behalf on the 30th. It took us a few dazed days to get used to the fact that we weren't not showing the house anymore, because we'd just got used to the idea that we were going to have to keep it pristine for a month! Even before we really started packing, it didn't feel like our place, being so tidy!