I was reluctant to enlist a realtor. I thought we should be able to sell the farm ourselves by advertising it on a multitude of farms- and businesses-for-sale websites. After all, I for one was definitely not desperate to sell. And I definitely wasn’t keen on losing a few thousand dollars in commission.
We had a few email inquiries as a result, even a handful of showings, but nothing concrete materialized.
Finally in January 2011, we signed up for the services of a low-commission realtor. Six months later we’d had only one offer, and it was obscenely low. So we switched to a more conventional real estate agency (Century 21). Two weeks after our new realtor convinced us to lower the listing price by $50,000, I received an email from a gentleman who lived in South Africa. He was responding to one of my on-line businesses-for-sale ads, which listed the farm at its original price.
The next few weeks involved lots of emails back and forth to South Africa. In the end, we negotiated a sales agreement that included the purchase of the farm as well as remaining livestock and equipment and supplies. The buyers wanted to carry on a similar business and even keep the name Noah’s Farm.
Once we were sure of the farm sale, we took a quick trip to Nova Scotia. (See my post Restlessness Sets In.) We were sure about purchasing the business Dee Wee’s in Hillsburn. But we needed to find an economical house to go with it. Preferably one close to Dee Wee’s with some land around it. We knew that transitioning from 220 acres to even four or five acres would be a major adjustment.
The realtor spent our one day together showing us a number of houses (he must have questioned our sanity, because a few of them were several kilometers away from the store), but in the end we chose one he didn’t show us – our house-to-be at 824 Hollow Mountain Road, Delaps Cove. I’d been corresponding with the couple via Kijiji. They were wanting to return to England. We managed to work out a private sale. It actually went very smoothly.
The closing date for the farm was set for Tuesday, October 4. . The closing for our new house in Nova Scotia was Friday, October 7, to give us plenty of time for travel and the unexpected. (As it turned out, it was a very good thing that there was a gap between the two closings!)
So with definite mixed feelings and a fair degree of intrepidation, I left my two government jobs on Friday, September 30.
We rented the largest UHaul truck available. As well as a car-hauler for my car. Ian’s farm truck was to stay with the farm as part of the purchase so we bought a new Ford truck from a dealer in Nova Scotia on-line (conveniently in September, when the employee pricing special was on!)
We were well prepared so we thought the actual loading of the moving truck would go smoothly and quickly. Were we ever wrong!
Packing the truck seemed to take forever. We absolutely stuffed it from floor to ceiling, side to side. We were so glad that the purchasers wanted us to leave the furniture and appliances as there was no way all of that would have fit in that truck. We knew we were in trouble mid-way through the weekend and ended up trading in the car-hauler for a small trailer to go behind the big truck.
As much as I didn’t want to, I was going to have to drive my car behind the truck and trailer. It was either that or leave belongings we wanted to take with us behind.
To make a long story short, the farm closing didn’t happen on the 4th as planned as the purchaser’s funding plans changed. Finally on the 7th it was completed. Our Ontario lawyer was able to transfer the funds to our lawyer in Nova Scotia so that the purchase of our new house went through as planned, but just under the wire!
We left the farm at around noon on that Friday. I think I was too exhausted to be upset. I barely said good-bye to the animals and birds we left behind.
Ian took our four dogs in the truck with him. I had our five cats and parrot-family birds in my car. I kept praying that we wouldn’t be pulled over along the way. My car was literally jam packed. Items kept falling on top of me from the back seat as I drove. And the poor cats were stuffed in the cat carriers they absolutely hated. Only the birds were reasonably happy and roomy in their cages.
If I had it to do over again, I would have used cages and totes instead of boxes to pack our smaller items in. I had left a few good cages out to take with us, as well as some totes for last-minute packing, but all of it stayed behind. We simply ran out of space. Our months of weeding out the junk had not been good enough.
Ian, meanwhile, was worried about the weight scales. He knew his truck would be way over the weight limit! But because it was a holiday weekend, we fortunately did not get stopped.
Driving through Quebec, especially the Montreal area, was probably the most stressful part of the trip for me. It’s a miracle I didn’t lose Ian. The traffic was fairly heavy as it was Thanksgiving weekend. We rested for a couple of hours in the middle of the night in northern New Brunswick. It was cold! Then drove for a few more hours. We were tempted to try to catch the Princess of Acadia ferry from St. John, New Brunswick, to Digby, Nova Scotia (this would have cut off nearly 10 hours of driving), but we weren’t sure we would be able to make it to St. John in time. So we took the long route around, from Amherst to Annapolis Royal.
Finally, at around 8 PM on Saturday (more than 30 hours after we’d left the farm), we arrived (safely and all together – a modern-day miracle!) at our new home. The previous owners had left the keys under a rock. I crashed on the couch they had left (Ian took one of the mattresses upstairs). We would begin unloading in the morning.
The unloading part actually went relatively smoothly. Most everything went in the basement. We were in a hurry to turn the UHaul truck and trailer in as they were a few days overdue.
We never did really unpack. The store was a 13-hour-a-day, 7-day-a-week commitment with only four holidays off per year. Most everything was still in boxes when we moved again in September 2013.