Seven months ago my husband received a notice at work that his office was closing and the company was relocating the employees 60 miles away. Great that was exactly what we needed to hear, more expenses to look forward to! His office was closing within 3 months and it meant that we had to sell our home and buy a home within that time frame so that my husband didn’t have to travel a long distance to and from work. Of course he had an option to leave his current position and collect unemployment. Hmm let me see if unemployment would cover a family of 6? Nope, we wouldn’t be able to survive unless we also went on government assistance until he was able to find employment. That was not even an option, he would not make what he is making now starting off at another company and even if I went to work; my entire paycheck and half of his would go into child care costs. So we put our house on the market and looked at this is an opportunity to start fresh in a different city.
This was the worst experience of my life. Our Realtor was amazing and she did a great job and so did our broker that helped us get a great mortgage at a low rate; what was horrible was the open houses, people making appointments to see our home all different times of the day and the fact that I had to keep my house clutter free and spotless with 4 kids 4 and under was very difficult to do. My house was always clean as I do have a cleaning problem, I hate a messy house and even with 4 kids, I was shocked that I actually had a spotless house and laundry always done. The difficult part was putting everything in place and hiding things. Keeping the clutter under the scope is not that easy to do with the little ones in the house. I had to hide and stage everything. In the beginning of the process we already found our home, took us 2 weeks to find a house in our price range that we absolutely loved and it was spacious enough for our big family. This is the reason why we looked at the move with a positive attitude; we needed to get out of our split level, 3 bedroom home into a 5 bedroom home with a basement. This was the push that we needed to actually move, but I am so thankful that we didn’t purchase our second home a year ago like we wanted to. My husband said he had a bad feeling in his stomach and we just walked away. I walked away kicking and screaming because I was pregnant again and we were crowded in our split level home, but nonetheless I listened to my husband and did not push the move. When your gut is telling you not to do something, you generally listen to it.
In the beginning of showing the house I was actually fine with it, the weather was still nice and the process was still fresh. I was just thinking about our new home and hoping that we would sell our home fast so we don’t lose our potential home. See we signed a contingency contract for the house which meant that we will start the closing process of the house once we have a contract in place for our home. The problem with a contingency contract is that the seller has the right to have people walk through his house and if someone else was willing to buy the house and start the closing process right away, the seller will give us the option to start the closing process within 3 days. The only thing the seller cannot do is accept another contingent offer. Yes, that was the hard truth that we learned 2 weeks into our contingency contract. We temporarily lost our home as someone else came in and was willing to start the closing process right away. That really bummed my husband out because he really loved this house. So I told him that maybe this was not meant to be, and maybe there was something else out there. Well there wasn’t We were selling and buying in the fall/winter season, it was a dim season with not much to look at. We went through 30 homes before we looked at this one. We had two long weekends back to back looking at houses and when we saw that house, we knew it was it. So we started back at square one as we couldn’t afford 2 mortgages, and 2 sets of water, gas, and electric bills. Well there was nothing out there, I mean absolutely nothing. The house market was very limited in that city which is a good thing because that means that the city is doing well. Houses were being sold, but not what we needed. There were not enough big homes out on the market. So we kept focusing on selling our home and checking the listings in hopes of finding a home in the new location. Well two weeks later, we got our home back and the sell fell through as the young couple was unable to get out of their lease; bad news for them, great news for us. We were thrilled, and once again we were just focused on selling our home.
So here we are 3 months into our listing and we are getting plenty of showings, some quiet periods and 2 open houses and the process was starting to get stressful. Winter season started and as brutal of a winter we had, the back pain that my body was feeling was unbearable. Loading and unloading 4 kids, driving around for hours at a time, and re-cleaning a clean home was difficult for me to do alone. By the time winter hit, my husband was traveling to and from work; hours there and hours back and once the snow hit, the travel was even longer. The kids barely saw him, and with both of us barely functioning, our stress and anxiety levels hit an all time high. No breaks, nowhere to go with the kids during showings, and having the house half packed was starting to make it really hard for us to live and function normally. We were not planning to still be here and we were not planning for my husband to travel a long distance to and from work. 60 miles is not that long but add that up there and back its 120 miles. Not only was he was stuck driving for 4 hours sometimes longer depending on weather and traffic, he was also sitting at a chair for 8 hours a day. That is a lot of sitting and that is not something that goes easy on your back. Yes, my husband was in pain. I think the stress made it even tougher. After the house was on the market for 4 months, and our contingency offer renewed twice, we finally found a buyer for our home. We accepted a really low ball offer and at that point, we just didn’t care. We got a little more then what we paid for it, but still we took a small loss. The way we looked at it was that we were already losing money through gas and if we didn’t accept this offer we probably wouldn’t see another one for months and we could potentially loose our new home again. We looked at what we had on the table and decided to just go with it and move already.
Now we started the closing process which had more hidden costs to it. We were unaware that we needed to pay for an updated search and survey that starts out with a cost of $600 and an updated title to the house that can got from as low as $300. We were under the impression that if we still had our search and survey and the title search to our home then we were all set. Thankfully I had friends in different business who were able to point us in the right direction. I had a friend that works at a title company and she was able to update the title to our home at half the cost and I was also given a inside scoop that if you went with the surveyor who originally did the survey on your property that to update the work would only cost you half. So if you have your original survey of your property and if that surveyor is still in business; call him/her up and request for an updated survey. This will not only cut down the cost but cut down the time on the closing process. Buying a home is easy as the only cost you have to worry about is putting a security deposit down (which you will always get back unless you opt out of the contract) and the closing costs that you pay upfront. Selling a home is tougher as you’re paying the Realtor fees, lawyer’s fees, and then the cost for title and search and survey. It was a headache and I never want to do this again. We ended up closing in 6 weeks and that is a record as it can take up to 2-3 months to close depending on who you have working with you. Our Realtor was amazing. She even got us a new price of the house which we were buying; the seller ended up lower the price which included brand new stainless steel appliances just to help us offset the sale of our home. Our broker worked on our behalf around the clock and she even helped us speed up the process by letting me know the steps that we need ahead of time, and my lawyer’s office was on top of the game and was even able to get us an early occupancy agreement.
During the closing process, I started to research moving companies as we had no family to help us move but only a few friends that would be able to help. We didn’t want to break our backs and we thought that finding a moving company would be easier and worth the cost. Ha, I am actually laughing as I am writing this. I had this one guy come to my house, representing Allied Movers and they quoted a 3 bedroom home with over $5000 and oh the kicker, we would not get our stuff until the next day. Why? Where the hell are we supposed to stay? At a hotel with 4 kids? We had nowhere to go and if we were spending money on movers, there would not be anything left for us to even spend a night at a hotel. Apparently it would take them 6 hours to pack everything into the truck, and 6 hours to unload. We already had bins stacked in the garage as I have been packing and neatly staking bins in the garage, and we planned on taking apart the furniture ourselves. All these movers pretty much had to do was move the furniture that would be wrapped and taken apart and move bins from the garage into the truck. How hard is that? I guess these movers are only allowed to work 6 hours of the day and that is included with lunch and breaks. We had a few more moving companies come through and they were all really pricey. Apparently 60 miles is considered a long distance move. Well, movers were a bust so we decided to brave the move with a few dear friends.
The day of our final walk through, I stayed in the house and decided to get the cleaning done and I scheduled an appointment to get the carpets cleaned while my husband went back home to be with the kids. We brought 10 big bins with us and I was hoping to get the kitchen all cleaned up and at least put together. Nope that didn’t happen. The house was completely filthy, it was broom swept as per the contract, but filthy nonetheless. To make this short, it took me 4 days to completely scrub, and soak the entire house. If it was somehow possible to soak the inside of the house with bleach and hot water, I would do it. It took us 5 days to move and it took 2 big trucks and 2 days to get all our things into the house. Saturday my husband and his best friend did a first big load of the things that we didn’t use, Saturday night we were packing what we could while the kids were sleeping and Sunday the kids were spending the day with my mother-in-law while we decided to get everything moved. By the time we were done it was midnight and by the time I brought the kids to their new home, it was 3 am. My husband spent the next 3 days driving back and forth getting what he could and stuffing it into our SUV but he gave up and rented another truck. It cost us almost $1000 in fuel, and truck rentals. If we had more people, this could’ve been done in one weekend but with no one to take the kids for the weekend, we had to pack all the essentials the day of the move after I dropped the kids off at my mother in laws. Yes we were exhausted after the move and we never want to do this again, but the money we saved on the movers, we were able to purchase a brand new washer and dryer, and all the things that the house needed. We were settled in the house in a week, 5 days and 3 of those days I worked on the house on my own while my husband was taking care of the old home and the rest of the days he helped finish the set up.
I give my husband a lot of credit as he really does work hard for our family. Our friends were exhausted after they moved everything into the house and I couldn’t stay and help my husband put the cribs and toddler beds together because I had to go home and pick up the babies at their grandmas. I was exhausted and I knew that if I waited any longer I would not be able to drive and they were very tired. If my mother in law had cribs and beds for everyone to sleep in, I would’ve let them spend the night at her house, but that wasn’t the case. By the time I came home, he had the night lights, music boxes and all the cribs and beds put together for the kids. Yes, that is a lot of work, but he did it. Thank god for our friends because without them this move would not have been possible.
Well we are all settled into our new home and I am absolutely in love. I love have laundry shoots, a master suite, a walk in closet, space for the kids, a basement, etc. This house is our home and I hope we stay here forever unless we decide to move to Paris one day. That is still a dream that I hope will come true but for now I am really happy with how things have turned out. My husband comes home from work earlier, we are eating dinner as a family again, our kids are spending quality time with their dad, and well we have room to spread out and have alone time if we need it. The only place I am working on is the basement. That is a disaster right now but it’s a working process and before I know it our finished basement will be a man cave and an arts and craft space for me and our girls.
What I learned from the selling process:
– Update your title search and your survey of the property when you can as it will shorten the closing process (they are good for 6 months).
– Pray that you don’t lose your contingency contract.
– Buyers appeal to houses that are ready to close, so avoid having a contingent offer. Nobody will want to wait for you to find another place to live!
– Don’t be pushed around by Realtor and lower the price on your home, stand firm because you will always get offers that are lower than the asking price but do lower it a little bit as it can refresh the listing online.
– Get all the papers ready for the broker right away (fax everything or hand deliver it).
– Call your lawyers and stay on top of the process.
– If you need time to move into your new home, you will only get two days. It is better to get a early occupancy agreement with the sellers of your new home unless they need time to move as well.
– Early occupancy will cost you money, you will have to pay 1/3 of the seller’s mortgage and if you need time to move after your house has closed, you will have to pay the buyers of your new home 1/3 of their mortgage. Go with who will have a lower interest rate.
– Make sure you stay on top of the buyer’s agent so that the new home owners transfer the utilities under their name because you are not allowed to legally shut them off. You do not want to deal with small claims court to retrieve a portion of the bill.
– Above all, be nice to the people who are working to make the process simple and easy as much as they can for you. Thank them every time you talk to them and do some of the foot work yourself.
– Make sure you get your home inspected. If there are issues you may be able to get the seller to fix it before you go through with the closing process. Also keep in mind that if a potential buyer gets a home inspection that can be a way out for them. After an inspection, the buyers can easily walk away from the contract just because. I see it as a cop out. I had no idea that this was even a possibility until now.
Packing on a Budget:
Now we were also packing on a budget and we did not want to waste money on bubble wrap and boxes.
– Invest on the totes or bins, they are $5 at family dollar and even cheaper at other close out stores. The bins are so durable that you will be able to use them for storage later on. The fit inside one another and they are easily stack-able.
– If you have babies then you can save money on bubble wrap. I don’t know about you, but everyone seems to buy you blankets and receiving blankets for your baby. I used receiving blankets and baby blankets to wrap up all my valuable crystal and glass. Yes, it kept them perfectly together and nothing was damaged in the move.
– When you know you will be moving, start saving the paper. We always got the Sunday paper for the coupons and for months I saved the Sunday paper. They were used to wrap glass cups, plates, etc. They worked perfectly.
– Buy contractor bags (they are durable and long) and make a hole at the top and put your closet clothes that are on hangers through the bags (like they do at dry cleaners . This will save you the time and money on bins and unpacking. Take them out of the bags and hang them in the new closet. Simple. You can recycle the bags by throwing the trash that you accumulated during the moving process. This will also conserve the energy and water that you would probably use on rewashing and re-drying the clothes. Throw in a dryer sheet in the bag and tie the bag on the bottom. Clothes will stay smelling clean.
– The night before the big move, DO ALL OF YOUR LAUNDRY!!!! You never know when you will have time to do it again or how long it will take to get a new washer and dryer.
– Wrap up the bed in plastic wrap with the sheets in place. It will keep it from getting dirty and if you have cribs, leave the sheets in the cribs and put contractor bags on each side and duct tape it in place.
– Label, label, label. If you are using bins/totes, use a piece of duct tape and label the side (not the top) of the bin. Makes it easy to locate and easy to unpack. It took us 3 days to unpack the entire house.
– When you do your final walk through, measure the windows, and anything else that needs measuring. Buy everything you need before you move in. It will maximize your time. Buy the curtain rods, window curtains, blinds, shower curtains, bathroom mats, shower rods, cleaning supplies, kitchen liners, and everything else that you will need to make the house your home. Heck you might even need new shower heads. Don’t forget to buy light bulbs and batteries because you never know what will blow out.
– If you have kids, make sure you get the cable set up before you bring the kids home or the first day you are there. This will keep them occupied so you can get things done. I know, I had my cable hooked up right away.
– Last but not least, do not forget to buy food, snacks, juices, coffee, creamer, and anything else that you and the kids need; nothing worse than working on an empty stomach, no caffeine and cranky kids. LOL.
Moving does not look like this and it does not feel like the picture either. Its stressful, exhausting emotional and very painful on your body. Do whatever it takes to make it easy. Hope my small tips helped.