Moving is for the Birds

Moving is for the Birds

I never knew just how stressed I was this past month and a half until Thursday rolled around and we closed on our old and new house. A huge chunk of stress rolled off my shoulders knowing that all the signatures were in place and a move was actually happening. Selling a house – while homeschooling during a pandemic – is not for the faint of heart! Ha!

Browsing homes for sale on Zillow is a favorite past time of mine (yes, I know that sounds odd) but I think it’s to be expected growing up in a household of kitchen designers in the building industry. I can remember from a very young age asking my dad to bring home all the house plans magazines he received at work, pouring over blueprints spread out on our kitchen island of houses he was working on, going to kitchen and bath industry trade shows, walking through unfinished houses as he measured kitchen spaces, and helping him lay the hardwood floor in my parents current home. When they were thinking about building a new house, I would print out house plans I found online and make revisions to redesign spaces that I knew they wanted in a new home. Houses are in my blood! I often thought of being a realtor or architect but never wanted a job to diminish the fun of a hobby. So, I just continue to browse listings and go to the Parade of Homes every year to tour homes 🙂

Anyways, for the past several years, Sam and I have talked about possibly moving to better accommodate the kiddos as they get older; things we never thought about being nice to have in a house until we had kids. We love our school district, bike paths, parks, and convenience to everything, but neither of us could park cars in the garage due to riding toys and bikes, the major hill in our backyard prevented us from ever putting a pool in, the partial basement/crawl space didn’t feel quite as spacious as it first did when we moved in, and the upstairs hall bath that Eli and Ava shared was really tiny to be sharing it as they got older. We would both browse Zillow every now and then when putting the kids to bed at night, and occasionally send a “look at this house” message, but nothing ever met all of our credentials for making a move worthwhile.

Fast forward to August 7th while sitting on the beach in Michigan, and once again, I’m relaxing and browsing Zillow for the fun of it. A house popped up in my search that was recently reduced in price because it had been on the market for 154 days already. I looked at the pictures – gorgeous – and realized it is actually just 0.4 miles from our current house – same schools, bike path, parks, etc. It had the garage space we needed, flat backyard for a pool, double sink in the shared bathroom for Eli and Ava, but no pictures or description of the basement storage area. I sent the house link to Sam, he was intrigued, and texted a relator we had met just once. I told him we were in Michigan, driving home the next day, and could we see the house on Sunday when we got home. This was all very surreal for me because we had just been in Michigan for 2 weeks (and were still there!), school decisions were up in the air with Coronavirus, and our lives since March had been in one upheaval after another. Who in their right mind would think about doing something major like moving?!?

We toured the house on Sunday (vacation bags still sitting unpacked) and discovered the unfinished basement storage area was better than we could have imagined. The house had everything we were looking for…which made the decision of whether or not to move so much harder because there was nothing we could find fault with at the new house. Should we (or better yet, could we) pull off a move while homeschooling 2 kids during a global pandemic?? We asked our realtor to come back to our house to look at it and tell us what needed to potentially be done to get it in “listing condition” (all while apologizing to him for vacation stuff spread throughout the house and dishes in the sink and bedrooms a mess because we had been home for less than 24 hours). Oh, and did I mention that before we left for Michigan, I had patched a couple dozen little nail holes and wall dings throughout the house (think rooms with all different paint colors) so that it now looked like we lived in a polka-dot palace of spackling?? Ugh! My mind was constantly in a state of pro/con list Sunday night thinking about everything.

I was standing in our garage in tears thinking there was no way we were going to be ready for showings, but then I heard a bird singing and I looked out in our neighbor’s tree, and there staring at me singing, was a beautiful Cardinal. God sends the best signs right when we need them 🙂

Monday, we couldn’t stop thinking about the new house, so we asked for a second tour of it and this time took my parents along with the reserved hope they might point out some big flaw we overlooked and that would be the end of our move and life could resume to normal and we wouldn’t have to make any big decisions 🙂 Haha! Wrong! They loved the house too, couldn’t find any faults with it, and by the end of the tour, Sam and I looked at each other and said let’s make an offer! Tuesday night we heard they countered our offer, we accepted their counter, and Wednesday we were in contract on the new house. Now the race started to get our house ready to photograph on Friday (yes, just 2 days later!!!) so that we could list it on Monday the 17th and have it ready for showings on Friday the 21st. We rented a storage unit and while Sam hauled stuff from the garage and basement, I started clearing closets, bedrooms, and play areas to make them look bigger. Remember those polka dot spackles I mentioned throughout the house??? I had all the paint cans in the basement and didn’t think it would be a big deal to touch up where I spackled….note to others: saved paint will NEVER exactly match! After realizing this and noting the amount of painting needed to be done, I had a panic attack and did what any person would do ~ called my mommy for help 🙂 If it wasn’t for her help, we would have either A) not been ready for photos on Friday, or B) I would have been so sleep deprived the photographer would have needed to photoshop my collapsed body out of the pictures. Love my mama!

Okay, so our timeline thus far:

  • August 7th – found house on Zillow,
  • August 9th – toured house
  • August 10th – made offer on house
  • August 11th – accepted sellers counteroffer
  • August 14th – photographer arrived for our old house
  • August 17th – our house listing went live
  • August 21st-29th – 25 showings and an open house

Our house was listed for 1 week and I almost lost my sanity!! Between keeping the house in pristine condition, catching our cat Nellie every morning to pack up and take to my parents house (she went “camping” in a tent outside in their yard with her food, water, and litter box), packing up everything the kids would need being out of the house all day, and then going home after dinner and scrubbing every single light switch, doorknob, counter top, and stair railing (there’s a pandemic happening, remember?!), I have never experienced such physical and emotional exhaustion. On the 28th, while visiting our dear friends for a much needed socially-distance-outside playdate, I get a phone call from our relator saying there is a realtor and potential buyers in our home and our front window started heavily leaking water with the rainstorm. This can’t be happening! Sam rushes home to sop up the water after they leave, amend the property disclosure form to state we now have water intrusion but will fix it, and scoot back out of the house before the new showing. Turns out, the people who were there when the water started pouring in, loved the house, came back for a second showing that night, and made us an offer! I think Noah knew I couldn’t take anymore after our own mini flood and decided he better put the love for everything else about our home in the buyers hearts 🙂

Ava and my 91-year old grandma wrapping plates and glasses 🙂

I thought I would feel a sense of relief when we finally had buyers for our home, but in actuality, my stress level skyrocketed as I continued to pack the house and prepare for a move, all while knowing in the back of my head that our buyers could fall through at any point (financing, inspection, remedies, appraisal) and that would mean starting all over again with showings to find new buyers or our contract on the new house would fall through and my packing would be for nothing. Every day I felt like I was on a rollercoaster going up, up, up and just waiting for the track to fall out and go plummeting down the other side. The kids were getting more excited, I was getting more attached to the new house, and my coffee consumption was rapidly increasing! Ha!

But, this moving saga has a happy ending, as I am laying in bed writing this while looking around our new home. We closed on our old house, and closed and took possession of our new house on October 1st, spent all day October 2nd cleaning and moving little things, movers arrived on October 3rd, and relinquished the keys to our old home on October 4th. NOW I have a sense of settlement back in my life and my shoulders are feeling a little lighter….sore….but lighter. God is so good and everything fell into place exactly when it needed to.

Time to get back on the homeschooling train!

Good bye old house!

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