“We have a house in St. Louis, but we base out of Illinois, where our family lives.” That is what we normally tell people when they ask where we are from. We are going to have to change our answer.
When we had the idea to start traveling, there were a LOT of obstacles. For one, we needed to avoid making house payments. The idea of getting our house ready to sell or rent was overwhelming. We were also trying to remodel an Airstream, take on homeschooling, and book a national tour. It was a wild transition. God gave us a nudge by smoothing over some details. This house was one of them.
I remember talking to friend, Katie, one night, “Have you found a new roommate yet?” Her roommate was getting married in just a few weeks.
“Actually, I found two.” She said, “now I need 3 bedroom. The thing is, I really want to stay in this neighborhood. It is just the right distance between our work and the church.”
Katie had no idea we were thinking of touring. Her new roommates were also good friends of ours - all volunteers at the youth group where Michael had worked. They agreed to rent our house while we toured - with caveat, if there was an emergency and we needed to come home, we could give them notice and have the house back. We agreed that they could paint the walls any color they wanted as long as they did the initial move-in cleaning and painting.
It was EXACTLY what we needed. We had out plates full, but they handled the details. Some may say that “the stars were aligned in our favor” but we like to say the Holy Spirit was at work.
Things happened in the same manor this summer. We had the idea of selling the house and found several things in our favor. If we sold it this year, it had been our residence for 2 of the past 5 years. That means that we would not have to pay capital gains tax on any profits. We called the realtor to ask if she thought the value had changed. She stated that the market was the best that it had ever been, she valued the house more than we expected.
We sat down with Katie again in the spring. I just asked her what her plans were for this summer. “I think Erica is getting engaged.” This would be her fourth roommate that she has lost (to marriages) in the past 5 years. Then her tone became more cautious. “When she moves out, I can technically afford to stay here, but I think I want to go get a tiny apartment and live by myself. I’m thinking that we will want to move out in June.” I was not upset at all. This worked out great for us. Everything lined up again.
The timetable was a bit rushed. We asked them to be moved by June 1st, which was tough for them since they were university teachers. Fidelity was due June 14th, but we really wanted to get it on the market the first week of June. We repainted everything got a stager in and had it ready in a week.
When Fidelity needed to be transferred to a NICU, we asked to go to St. Louis because we new that we could use the empty house if needed, and we did. Fidelity came home and the house was still on the market, so we started dropping the price to get more showings.
Finally we got an offer. It was less than what the realtor was initially thought, but still a good deal for us. Then the home inspection came back. There was a substantial roof repair needed. As we were negotiating the repair and sale price, a house nearly identical to ours went on the market for much less (and sold immediately). We were able to have the roof repaired, and everything went through. The new owner’s moved in before Thanksgiving.
In the 18 years that we have been married, we have owned 4 different homes. Our St. Louis house was the one that we owned the longest, the one our kids remember growing up in, and the one that we had come to know and love. There were great memories of birthdays and CD release parties and fondue nights after long retreats. It was bittersweet to sell it, but we were making room for a new chapter. We waved goodbye to St. Louis, but kept all of the great memories close to our hearts.