We sold our house! For Sale By Owner! (Which you already know because we moved into the new house over a year – I’m a little behind in posting!)  It took us 5 weeks, which is great when you’re doing it For Sale By Owner.  I’ve driven by houses in our town that have been on the market for months – and that’s with a realtor!

We actually had 3 people/families that were really interested.  In fact, when it had been on the market for just 9 days, I thought we had it sold.  A gal made an offer, we accepted it, but she backed out when it came time to sign a contract.  I think she just panicked – even though she went through it twice, brought parents, sisters, nephews and had her grandfather review the contract.  (Which, before a contract is signed, is the best/easiest time to panic.)

Here’s how we did it.

Price it well
This is the first thing that everyone will tell you to do. If you price too high, people will just write you off and not even walk through. For us, we looked at houses that had recently sold and set a price. When we were setting the price, there was a house literally 2 doors down with the exact same floor plan that was also for sale. It had been a foreclosure that sat empty for over a year and a half, bought by a renovator and fixed up a little.  They had it listed with an agent and we knew we wanted to be just a little less expensive than they were. So we went 1-2% less than they were asking.  We were blessed to be in a position where we didn’t need to get absolute top dollar for it.  It was more important (to us) to have a buyer than an extra couple of thousand dollars.

But literally 2 days before we put our For Sale sign in the yard, they removed theirs. We thought it had sold, but we learned much later that they really had rented it out instead because they couldn’t find a buyer.

Get it cute
We spent a lot of time making it look as cute and clean as we could. We rented a storage unit between the 2 houses and just started packing boxes. We filled up about 3/4 of a 10×10 foot storage unit. Stuff we wouldn’t need in the next few months.   We had lots of bins of baby clothes that no longer fit, baby clothes that don’t yet fit, toys our son has yet to grow into along with tons of diapers, personal care products, and canned goods (I’m a couponer!) plus holiday stuff. It made moving that much easier, but it also made selling that much easier.

We gave some attention to the yard, putting down new mulch and planting a couple of hosta plants in areas. We focused on watering for a couple of weeks to get the grass nice and green.

I touched up places where paint may have gotten scuffed off on inside walls or outside where it was chipping off a little bit.

I got rid of furniture that wasn’t critical or often used. Make it look as big as possible.

I organized pantries and closets, sending a couple of tubs of stuff to Goodwill.  (In hindsight, I wish I would’ve done more!)

Since we moved in, we knew our wood floors needed refinishing, but didn’t really want to do it. We thought we’d just acknowledge the scratches and stains and tell people that we lowered the price $1000 (about the cost of refinishing them).  But, in the end, we figured a first time home buyer would be intimidated by that and it ruined the cute factor – in a key area of the house. So, we bit the bullet, slept in the basement for a few nights (so that we didn’t walk on the floors) and had the work done.

Advertised on zillow.com
As I cleaned each room and prepped it, I took pictures and then created a page on zillow.com. I chose that as my primary place to hold house information. Cost: FREE!

Offered a Referral Bonus
Since we didn’t have a seller’s agent finding leads for us, I knew that word of mouth was going to be our biggest asset. So, we offered a $500 referral bonus to anyone that found a buyer for us. Turns out we didn’t need it, but there was no telling where our buyer was going to come from. It definitely generated some buzz for us and I’d totally do it again.

Create a flyer
Our flyer wasn’t anything fancy, but we needed one for the Info Box in our yard and for sending to people.  I mimicked the format that I had seen realtors use.

Email & Facebook
Once we were ready, I sent an email to friends and family with the flyer and link to zillow.com. Then I announced on facebook, making sure to stress the referral bonus. One of our strong interests came from this route (via a facebook friend), but they were interested just a little too late – we had already accepted an offer.

Since Craigslist is free, we advertised here. We did have 1 person come through before the Open House as a result of this ad, so it was worth the 10 minutes it took to set it up.  The person who found us this way was actually a real estate agent who also checked craigslist…you just never know who is watching it!

Listed in the paper

Our hometown paper has a program where you get an online ad and you get your Open House listed in Friday, Saturday and Sunday’s paper of that week. Since our big push was the Open House, we ran for a weekend. Cost: $100 or so.

Advertise to neighbors
I created a postcard, had it printed at overnightprints.com and mailed them to 150 of our neighbors. I don’t know most of them, but they got a postcard anyway. Getting the addresses was easy thanks to our county’s assessor’s website.  It listed the features of the house and said that we were also offering a referral bonus if they referred the buyer. Most importantly, it directed them to the website. I put a bright sticker on there, announcing the Open House as well. I was careful to not put the price on the postcard in case we decided later to change it.   Cost of postcards and postage: Less than $100.  I’ve removed some critical information, but here’s what it looked like:



What we didn’t do, but would have:
There are a few ideas that I had, but never implemented. I figured we’d get past our Open House and if there wasn’t any nibbles, then I’d look at doing these things:

  • Listing on ForSaleByOwner (or something similar).  There’s a cost to this though.
  • Creating a youtube video of pictures or even a video walk through of the house to give people a better idea of the house.
  • Make our own signs for the yard and direction signs. Something bright and eye catching just made with plywood.

That’s how we did it!

Naming a kid

Since we’re finding out the sex of Baby #3 (in a couple of weeks!), we haven’t really started discussing names.  Well, maybe once every week or so, I’ll toss a name out to Jeff to see what he thinks, but there isn’t anything serious.

Baby #1: With Phinehas, we had a boy name and a girl name picked out before our anatomy scan.  Jeff really liked that name – mostly because of the story in the Bible about Phinehas.  I didn’t have any objections, so that became our name.  (I can’t even remember what our girl name was.)

Baby #2: We never did have a girl name.  Well, I did (Kathryn Grace), but Jeff wasn’t on board with it.  It didn’t matter as we had a boy.  Since my new date was my deceased father’s birthday, Stephen became a great choice.  Add in a middle name as Jeff’s dad’s name and we were complete!

Baby #3:  We know that it will be a name from the Bible.  That’s the “theme” that Jeff has always wanted.  And although I would tend to more modern names, there are plenty of Biblical names to choose from.  Except for girls!  Girl names are hard and since we already have nieces named Sarah and Anna, that throws out 2 of the most common names.  So, there isn’t a list yet, but this could be hard work if nothing “speaks” to both of us!

How do most couples pick out names?

THIS is happening!

No more hemming.  No more hawing.

No more flipping.  No more flopping.

I’ve talked too much about this and not had any action.  But now…

I AM doing this.  I am. I am.  I am.

I AM going to paint some woodwork white.

I have to.  I already started!

(And now I push pause on the project til I get the right paint brush.  But, hey, damage done.  I’m committed!)



Here we go!

I’ve been exposed to much literature lately about the church and missions and poverty and hunger and  disease prevention and sex trafficking.  All kinds of things.  It seems like it’s a hot topic lately as I’ve heard about it at church, read about it on blogs, see it in Christian magazines and new books.  So it’s been something that I’ve been thinking about lately.

What should the church be doing about so many of these issues?  Certainly, our track record hasn’t been super strong on assisting in these issues.  (Right?  Or is that just an assumption I’ve made?)  Books from authors like Jen Hatmaker make me think that I’m not doing enough.  Or, at least, the things that I’m doing aren’t the right things.

Some conclusions that I’ve come to:

Maybe the church’s track record is better than we think.  There are many ministries out there, formed by Christians, to help with homelessness and illiteracy.  Many a hospital has been built out of a Christian concern for people.  Many a medical missionary has gone to foreign countries to practice.

The church was established for equipping Christians, not really fixing all the world’s problems.  The world’s problems aren’t all going to get fixed.  It’s like the church is a school for doctor’s, not a hospital.  It’s the place where people are trained up and equipped to know Jesus better, love God more and to know the Bible more.

Helping others is a commandment.  And there are productive ways to help people and unproductive ways.  Sometimes, people really need money.  But other times, they think they need money, but they need Jesus to help them break the patterns of bad decisions that they’ve made or need people to give guidance.

You can’t (and shouldn’t) ignore the needs you know of – if you can meet those needs. If the person next to you says she is hungry, you feed her.  But if the person next to you say she is hungry, but only wants money (not food), then you can’t meet that need.  Being presented with someone that has a legitimate need that you can meet, seems to me to be a “holy hint” that it’s something you’re supposed to do.  I might be wrong, but I’d rather error on the side of caution.

One of the books that helped me come to these conclusions was Kevin DeYoung & Greg Gilbert’s book named “What Is the Mission of the Church?: Making Sense of Social Justice, Shalom, and the Great Commission”.   I really recommend it.  It’s not a super easy read and I’m not in 100% agreement with all of it, but I think it provides a nice contrast to the line of thought that says “If your church isn’t more about poverty/sex trafficking/missions/drugs/homelessness/medical needs than it is about preaching/teaching/counseling/worshipping, then you’re doing something wrong.”


(See previous posts here and here and here.)  WOO HOO!  Our powder room is practically done!  We got the new sink installed late last week.  We installed the faucet over the weekend.  Then yesterday, we made a spontaneous decision to also replace the toilet too.  It was on our long term list, but thought we’d do it at the same time that we replaced the floors.  But we decided to chuck the ‘light tan toilet with a cream toilet seat’ in favor of a nice white one.  Looks great!

We ended up having to order the sink twice.  The first one was damaged in shipping, so back it went.  It was a small chip, but I just knew that I’d look at the sink every day and think “Man, I sure wish it wasn’t damaged.”  It’s one thing if WE damage it; it’s another to pay full price for something already damaged.

What’s left to be done:

  • I want to replace the outlets and switches with white ones.  Right now they’re an almond color.  This should be simple; I just need to learn how to do it.
  • Caulking the sink near the walls.  I need to do some more research on this first – use white to match the sink?  Use clear and paint it the same color as the walls?  Hmmm…

Total Cost:

This definitely wasn’t a DIY job meant to be done as cheaply as possible.  My sister did fix the walls for us and gave us the artwork and mirror as Christmas gifts, but…we ordered a custom sink.  And we replaced the functional-but-ugly toilet – that didn’t need to be done.  And we hired a plumber to install that toilet.

  • Sink: $240
  • Plumber & other plumbing supplies: $180
  • Paint & Stain & supplies: $35
  • Hardware: $10
  • Total: $465(ish)

Summary: My blog is not the place you should come to in order to find projects done as cheaply as possible!

The-pretty-much-everything-is-done-except-for-the-outlets picture:


Before-And-After Photo:


16 week check up

Had my 16-week check up today!  It was kind of a wacky day as I was supposed to be there at 8:20, but was running late, so I was able to reschedule for 11:15 that morning.  Honestly, I was tempted to just skip the appointment all together.  But they offered to see me yet that day, I went for it.

Pregnancy wise, things are going well. That’s why I was tempted to miss it.

My doctor was out at a delivery, so I saw one of the midwives in her practice. She couldn’t find the heartbeat with the doppler, so she did a quick ultrasound.  Baby is moving well, but was in a weird spot.  (Or at least not in a spot that she was expecting.)  After she located baby with the ultrasound, she was able to pick up the heartbeat with the doppler.  So that’s a relief.

The midwife wasn’t super experienced doing an ultrasound, but she does think that the placenta is anterior — meaning in the front of the baby.  I had that with Phinehas too.  It’s not a health concern in any way – it’s just kind of a random thing of where it attaches.  But it does mean that I won’t feel movement as strongly or often as I might otherwise.

At least that was my experience in the past.  Since Finn was my first pregnancy, I had no idea of what was normal for movement. Then when I was pregnant with Stephen, what a game changer!  Big kicks!  Often movements!  That’s probably more what most women experience.  Not necessarily better.  Not necessarily worse.  Just different.

Pregnancy-This-Far Summary:

  • Heartbeat in the 140s, which is exactly the same as both Phinehas and Stephen were at this point.  (Does that mean it’s another boy?  50/50 shot!)
  • I’ve gained probably about 2-3 pounds.  A little more than I had with my other 2 pregnancies.
  • Starting to feel movement!  Nothing super consistent, but at least a couple of times a day, I feel movement that I know is baby.  That’s fun!

1 year old!

Stephen’s 1!  (And has been for a week. What my sister-in-law Amy says is true…You know you’re a first born when a) Mommy doesn’t mention your birthday yet on facebook and b) Your mom hasn’t posted pictures of your cake smash(es) yet, c) Your mom hasn’t blogged about your birthday yet and d) Well, lots of other things.)

But…he’s 1!  And he got 2 birthday parties to prove – one with each side of the family in each of the 2 cities that they live in.  This is the first time that we’ve a) hosted a birthday party and b) hosted many people at our new-to-us-but-still-got-it-a-year-ago house.

BUT…here’s some pictures to prove that it happened.

Our party in Columbus with Jeff’s side of the family:



Our party in Omaha with my side of the family:


It’s hard shopping for a 1 year old who already has lot of toys, plenty of clothes AND is getting things from other family members.  Stephen will often throw himself onto pillows and blankets that are lying around, so Jeff had the idea of making a big pillow just for him.  So I made one real quick with some super soft fleece and I think it was a hit!  (And not just with him — the other kids liked it too!)



His 12-month-old scrapbook page:



And a recent family picture (pre-cake smashes):



Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 38 other followers