Life in Sherwood Forest – Update

I haven’t really taken the time to write much about life in the mountains of Northern Arizona. I moved here about six months ago to live in an investment property my mom and I own in hopes of selling it. The property sat unfinished, empty and for sale for several years. We decided about 18 months ago to put the money into it and make it habitable in the hope that would help it sell.

I’ve been living here since April and haven’t really unpacked much. Since I’m planning on selling of nearly all my personal belongings, there really isn’t a need to unpack and find a home for everything.  I got the essentials set up fairly quickly…the kitchen, one bathroom, a desk for the computer & printers, a shipping station, etc. There wasn’t really a need to unpack everything and create a big mess to have to work around and I was very hopeful that with some luck the place would sell quickly.

There is a huge “For Sale” sign on the side of the house with my number on it. We get about five or so calls on it each week. We’ve had it listed with several realtors over the years, it’s listed on Zillow and Craigslist and the sign on the side of the house seems to generate most of the interest…lots of interest, but no serious buyers.  The house has been for sale with that sign for so long that all the regulars know exactly what I’m talking about when I say “it’s the white house with the reddish roof and the for sale sign on the side”. It’s quite the conversation starter!

In June we were contacted by a family responding to our Craigslist post. They were interested in the property but were very up front about what they were facing. We’ve got the property listed for $449,999 (about $200k under value) but the type of loan they were getting maxed out at $417k. They had some financial troubles and wouldn’t be able to make an official offer until late August and wanted to know if we would work with them if they liked the house and wanted to move forward. We agreed we would. They are a family with six kids; some of them adopted. The father works in the medical field and they moved to the area about a year ago. The parents and two of the older kids came and looked at the house and property and fell in love with it. We communicated with them weekly and we quickly became impressed with the tenacity this family had. They worked through every obstacle that was placed before them. jumped through every hoop and satisfied every request made of them by their lender. This was long and tedious process for them, but they hung in there!

The family was getting close to having all their documents lined up so they brought everyone out to see the property. They have three younger children ages 5-9 or so, two of them boys. They seemed to be excited about the possibility of this becoming their home. They staked out their bedrooms, explored the property and were excited about being able to have lots of animals with plenty of room for them to roam around. We began to be excited for these two boys and visioned them exploring every inch of the 12 acres….we really wanted this family to make this their home.

A few weeks later we got the pre-approval letter and knew they had the financing all lined up…not an easy task for them, but they managed. We were cheering them on, waiting for them at the finish line. We had a close date nailed down and just needed them to make an official offer and open escrow.

A few days later we got an email letting us know they were having a hard time finding affordable homeowners insurance…no problem! I went through the same thing and knew how to help…I had them call my agent. Unfortunately, my agent wasn’t able to offer them the same plan I had because of their financial situation and an INQUIRY (not a claim, just an inquiry for one) they had made earlier this year. Homeowners insurance was going to cost them about $2800/year and that was more than they could afford.

We were heart broken. We had grown fond of the idea that a family with six kids would be able to grow up on the property and not some investor that would turn it into a money making rental for the local tourist economy. We decided to make one more offer to the family….we offered to pay $5k towards the first two years of their homeowners insurance. They had worked so hard and were so close to the finish line that we couldn’t imagine them giving up now, we wanted to offer them a life line and hoped they would accept it.

Sadly, for whatever reason, they decided not to and walked away. It’s been a little more than a week and we’re still sad we couldn’t help to make it work out. We respect them and their decision and hope that another family with just as much love and tenacity will come along and fall in love with the house and property like this family did.

In the meantime, this Southern California girl is preparing for a real winter and what will probably be a shock to her system.