Tuesday, December 31, 2013

2013 Sailing Recap II: a new house, so what sailing?

Let's see now, we got back from our cruise to the Keys in May, and I took Alizee into Sailor's Wharf Yacht Yard to finish up some work that they'd started before we took our cruise south.  Now, here it was the 3rd of July, and I finally got Alizee back to her slip and got her prepared for hurricane season.  Suffice it to say that the delays were a pain in the rear!

I arranged with Lippincott Canvas to make a new bimini and dodger to be made (exactly as the one we had), which was finally completed until 7 September.  While they took their time, it was fine with us, since it's too damned hot to sail in Florida in the summer, and there is generally not sufficient wind. 

Meanwhile, Penelope and I had been looking at the possibility of buying a house on the Gulf Coast.  Using Penelope's daughter Erin's "GetMoreOffers.com" on-line real estate site (nationwide, we cannot recommend any site more highly), we looked hundreds of properties, and we drove over a couple of times to actually see places in Clearwater and Duniden (north of St. Petersburg), as well as in St. Pete.  We'd agreed that we'd only consider a place seriously if it was clearly better than our house in Deland, which, although built in the 1920s, had really nice features (not the least of which were heart-pine floors).  It didn't look promising.

Our search had been going on for over a year, and in May we decided to look at places an hour to two hours south of Tampa Bay around Charlotte Harbor, an area we'd both loved when we first sailed Alizee to the Gulf Coast and which we fell in love with again on our cruise back from the Keys.  We found a house in Rotunda Heights, between Northport and the ICW and Port Charlotte, just above Charlotte Harbor, saw it, loved it (compared to all others), and made an offer on it.  The offer was accepted, and then we discovered through the home inspection that we'd have to demolish the kitchen (which was very small) to get what we wanted, there was no floor plug in the middle of the great room (stupid, stupid), and the pool deck had problems.

Knowing this wasn't what we wanted but that we really did want something, Penelope went back to the seb sites and discovered a house just south of Punta Gorda and north of Burnt Store Marina (on Charlotte Harbor), which was in a small well-wooded development called Woodland Estates.  We got our realtor Keith (Erin's business partner and the company's broker) to arrange a showing.  OMG, it was !@$#*$ wonderful!  So we made an offer, it was rejected, we countered and finally settled on a price.  We signed the contract and cancelled the one on the first place.  Then, the appraisal came in low ... really lower than the price we'd agreed.  So, we went back to our original offer (still above the appraisal), and the sellers agreed to that price.

By the end of July we had closed on our new house on Harborside in Woodland Estates, including getting a nice agreement to purchase some of the furniture.  But, we wouldn't move in until mid-September because our calendar had so filled up with travel and we really needed time to prepare for our move with a garage sale to unload what seemed to be tons of stuff and get the Deland house ready to rent (we decided Penelope should keep it for a while, since values are still pretty far down).

Of course what this all meant?  No sailing until Fall.


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