A year ago I wrote a post about our 2012 plans ... then I lost it when I was trying to edit the post from my ipad. That pretty much sums up 2012. Buh - Bye. So this past year flew by and in it's rush some pretty monumental developments occurred right beneath our noses. Okay, they were all things we had set into motion, but, after two years of limbo we are starting to move people!
Let's back story a bit so you can see where we've come from so where we are going makes sense.
In February of 2008, we closed on a beautiful house in the historic district of small town NC - it was our dream house. We had a five year plan to live here then sell and move on to travel - pulling our money out of our house and using it to travel with. We picked up a beautiful property for what we thought was a song given we now had 3200square feet for a mortgage payment less than we paid in rent for our 800 square foot one bedroom apartment in Toronto. The United States housing collapse pretty much occurred a millisecond after signing our ownership papers. Pretty quickly we realized we had made a grave mistake. Apparently real estate is not the secure investment everyone thought it was. It's hard to settle into a home when you know you've just lost all the money you put down in it.
In the mean time life evolved. In spring 2009 we added a beautiful daughter, Finley Mae, to our family and our life's focus began to shift. We celebrated her birth and two of her birthdays in this house with our neighbours who have become friends.
In September 2010 we put the house up for sale for 270K which would have had us coming out of the house with a slight loss - a year later after several drops in price, and an educated decision to cease paying an over-valued mortgage, we consulted a lawyer and went after a short sale so we could sell the house at "new fair market value." The new list price on our house was 169K. Over the next year we continued to drop the price. We had a couple offers the bank turned down, 160K, 105K and finally at 155K we finally had a buyer. The buyer went all the way through home inspection and bailed. Historic homes take special care and in the end this house was not for them. So we put the house back on the market. A short sale runs alongside foreclosure, so taking this road was not without risk, we went into the whole deal with our eyes wide open. We were not willing to lose any more money!
January 2012 started off pretty rough with the loss of our family pet, Cecil, my almost constant companion for 13 years. Late January we left to renew visas in Toronto and upon return were served foreclosure papers. That set us on the path of uprooting and uncertainty. The last year in our home was shrouded with loss and it was punctuated by the sudden death of our next door neighbour Jake, who had become such a dear friend. In August 2012 we gave our dream house, now affectionately called Casa Albatross, back to the bank and walked. The house by the way is still for sale and is now reduced to 114K. OUCH!
In the midst of all this USA housing nonsense, in the fall of 2011, we had an offer we couldn't refuse and bought an ocean front lot in Nicaragua alongside three of our best friends lots and we are currently building a modest house. It's the wild west when it comes to building there. Our house deal was made over several glasses of Flor de Cana and a hand shake in May of 2012 and after a six month delay our house began going up!
|This is the first photo we received October 2012|
Let me tell you that all of this Nicaragua business went down and I had not yet ever been to Nicaragua! We had been almost constant winter residents in Costa Rica so we knew the landscape and knew it was where we would surely love to live out our winters but I had yet to experience Nicaragua. A year after the lot purchase and with a house framed out I got to see this amazing country for myself!
Steve, Finley and I spent just over two weeks in Nicaragua late November and early December of 2012. It was a really cool experience. Nicaragua is NOTHING like Costa Rica and I love that! Our travels this time took us to several cities and towns where we visited with a circle of expat friends who currently reside in Nicaragua and we got to go see our build.
|Steve entering the front door of our house.|
|The ocean is right through the trees and scrub.|
For the first time ever I got to stand on our lot and stand in our house and walk along our beach! It was a brilliant feeling that set the the past year straight. 2012 ended on a high note knowing all of our crazy maneuvers in the past two years to get us the life we wanted was surely looking like it will pay off for us. Is it scary? Yes, a little, but life is no fun at all if you are too comfortable.
Happy New Year Everyone!
Here's to a tremendous 2013.