Selling the Farm… And Everything

My phone and computer have me tied down all the time. Notifications, calls, messages, texts, emails, Airbnb requests, are wearing on me. This is all an integral part of running a business and selling things these days. Now, I’m a millennial not some old coot. I have worked as a graphic designer, web developer, magazine journalist, and enjoyed many other tech-related work. Photography, blogging and chatting with friends are a major part of my life.

In the past few months he woods of Maine beckon. The tug of unplugging and recharging my soul is starting to pull at me. I want to shed myself of all the devices woven into the great web of things we all cling to. Maybe I will go fishing. Hiking without a podcast sounds appealing. I have yet to take a mushroom foraging walk this year. That’s just plain embarrassing.

I want to forget the day of the week and wake up because the sun says so. But not until the ruckus and unpredictable game of house sales ends. Then moving. Gah.

Winter lies ahead as it always does. I crave the deep silence and breath-sucking severe cold of a calm winter night. Please Jack Frost, numb my cheeks on a midnight stroll. I want to strain to hear the nothingness of winter deep in the woods. No cars, airplanes, or barking dogs. Nothing.

Until then I’m a Bed and Breakfast manager and a wannabe realtor. It’s working for me but not sustainable. I’m not cut out for this kind of work. I’m shocked I haven’t slapped someone upside their dumb better-than-thou head. Apparently that’s bad for business.

We have had seven showings since listing our homestead on Facebook last week as for sale by owner. A few days ago I went ahead and listed it on Zillow. All I’ve had from Zillow is four phone calls from realtors looking to bite off a gracious chunk of the pie. They are circling like sharks. Nope. Another realtor called who had an interested client but could she ONLY come Sunday at 1PM. We have successfully done all our showings on weekdays so far so we can have family and projects time. So I said no. Some things are just more important than house showings.

black nubian goat doe doeling white spotted hobbit hill dairy goats kids baby goats for sale in maine The goats and chickens are a major interest for potential buyers. I have offered two goats and a coop full of chickens to buyers. This week the doe I’m willing to part with developed a problem with her udder and is awaiting a vet who will come out Monday afternoon.

We also have livestock housing that will be staying behind. Only some will be coming with us. We will take electric fencing and chain-link because it’s hard to come by used and we have worked hard to accumulate wheat we have.

Our home is unfinished and most people can’t get a loan on a house that needs a few days worth of work to qualify for a conventional loan. Nothing is broken or major; just little things. I’m surprised we haven’t had an offer yet with the amount of interest. Someone is coming tonight who is able and willing to do the work it takes to qualify for the loan. We have little interest in fixing it up to sell with so much going on and the likelihood of it selling ‘as is’. Yesterday we had a ho-hum showing It was the second which I felt was a waste of time. But that’s what you have to do.

I’ve had several folks interested in owner financing. This was something I would have been thrilled to have years ago when I was starting out. I had no credit but a solid job. I feel bad but we are still recovering from the last time we trusted a lease to purchase deal. Not to mention a tenant who was irresponsible.

As you can see in the photo of the little house we live in the shingles weren’t even cut of the edge off either roof and plates were left to connect a deck to. The door upstairs has no way out without a deck. It was never lived in before us a year ago.

The builder left at the painted sheetrock stage. Which is funny because it’s the same builder as the crazy-huge gray house we bought at the same time on the abutting property. It took months to fix while we lived in it. Pipes to find leaks in, appliances were replaced, and currently we are replacing a wall in the garage that was poorly designed. 

Winter on a Maine Mountain

This winter view of the gray house one down from ours shows its sheer ridiculous size and wacky design. It’s been a big hit with Airbnb since listing it on their rental platform since late June—but has had little interest from buyers.

We’ve been slowly recovering from an owner finance lease to purchase deal with a family that abruptly left with no notice or reasoning in February. Who wants to rent a house in February. NO ONE. Mainers are hunkered down in recliners counting the days until sun returns when they aren’t shoveling snow that time of year. Great sales pitch huh?

Anyhow, it made for a hard next few months. They had left it trashed and never paid what they had agreed to. The overwhelming popularity in turning this into a three-unit Airbnb rental has helped get us back on track.

As the cooler temperatures dip a little more each night the reservations are waning. Tourist season is coming to a close. We hope for one last blip in reservations during leaf peeping season. Especially given the killer view from the top story. 

At this point we are selling our little wood-sided house, our big Airbnb rental house we fixed and lived in last year, in addition to rental properties in Milford.

It sounds like we are made of money with all the property we are trying to move. That’s probably part of the amount of people wanting to owner finance our houses for sale or for tenants to skip paying rent altogether.  It just doesn’t work that way.

Everyone gets their piece of the real estate pie. The other properties are all listed with a realtor who will take a big bite. After that the bank will stick their huge platter out and ask for a heaping serving. Taxes, closing fees, haggling and continuing to pay for vacant houses are a stark reality.

All of them are another ball-and-chain tying us down to responsibility and full of spontaneous troubles and messes beyond our control. Now if I want responsibility, spontaneous troubles and messes—I can walk up to the barnyard!

In all seriousness, we are done with the days of cleaning ruined carpets, filling dumpsters with other people’s trash and the calls. There is always the calls. Once, no joke, Kevin was called to change a lightbulb. Another time I was called 19 times in a row to make sure it was ok to open and enter the door labeled in 6-inch-tall letters proclaiming “GUEST ENTRY, WELCOME, COME ON IN”. I had left my phone is the truck while we were out with friends, something we rarely do these days. These calls were all made within 20 minutes along with frantic voicemails. Dude, take a deep breath and chill the duck down.