Leaving a high paying job to pursue my dreams was daunting. We owned a large home with a mortgage to match, and we had a (brand new) car payment and student loans. While we always had good salaries; we lived really well–going on vacations, buying new clothes each year, and updating and renovating the whole house. Luckily, the improvements we had done in the five years we were in the home were substantial, and the value of the home raised pretty dramatically.

I knew right away that we would have to sell our house to tap into the equity that we had established there. It was hard to get Jason on board because there were so many emotional milestones–we brought our girls home from the hospital there, hosted the holidays for our extended family, and had countless parties with friends. Our daughter Hazel had an adorable habit of saying “Hazel’s house!” whenever we approached, and Jas was worried that another place wouldn’t feel like home to us or the girls. It can be hard to let go of our stuff, and to look at situations objectively without emotions coloring your decisions. I reminded Jas that kids are resilient, and home is where we are, together.

I prepped our move by having a HUGE garage sale…selling things we didn’t even use, we made $1,500. I wrote about my experience here, if you’re interested in the details. In addition to selling to friends and family prior to the garage sale, we made about $2,000 afterward in selling select furniture and equipment we wouldn’t be needing. It felt…liberating. I would physically feel lighter as each load left our home, and our cash kept piling up.

We listed our house the week after the garage sale. We had a great open house the first week, but no showings. I was so bummed, and frustrated, because in terms of views online, our house led all comps. The third week, we received a request for a showing. They toured the home in the afternoon, and made an offer that evening. We countered, and they accepted–only $4,000 less than asking price…and two weeks to close. What in the?! While we had a backup offer in on a home, we weren’t in contract on a place. Nevertheless, we accepted the offer with a three week close date. I had faith that things would work out–and in the meantime, we had my loving parents. 🙂

Everything went super smoothly with closing on our home. We sold the house for $80,000 more than we bought it, and we were now officially homeless. We paid off a bunch of stuff, and felt free. We moved our two toddlers, three dogs, and cat into a 320 square foot RV on my parents’ property. The good news was that the contract fell through on the home we wanted and they accepted our back up offer–our dream home was shaping up to be a reality. Sure, it is a dump, and needs a full renovation down to the studs; but it is cheap and in the perfect location. We expect to close within a week, at which time I’ll share some pics, and I hope you’ll join us on this journey as we renovate and create Idlewild Cottage.

Emily Behnke

Formerly a high level professional in a scientific organization, Ms. Behnke now owns and operates an organization and design company focused on living well in small spaces.