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Moving Up and Moving On

Quick update: we sold our house.  (I know, I know.  Once little sentence, yet such huge implications.)  To some, it might seem like it came out of the blue, but it’s an idea we’ve toyed with for the last year.  Then, one day, we found a house we loved online and just like that, we we decided it was the right time.

To say the process has been a roller coaster would be an understatement.  There was the initial high of finding a house we were excited about, the tedious work of getting our house market-ready,   the pressure of showings and getting feedback (some good, some bad), the relief of going under contract, the excitement when our offer was accepted on the new house, the frustration of repair negotiations (for both houses), the stress of our timeline and for everything needing to fall exactly in place with both our buyers and sellers for it to all work out.

When we bought this house, it all seemed so easy.  We found something we liked, put in an offer, asked for a few repairs, and closed a month and half later.  But the process of buying and selling a house at the same time is…. well… awful, quite honestly.

When we found the house we wanted, we were NOT ready to put ours on the market, nor were we prepared to carry two mortgages, but houses where we live are selling quickly, and in order to get an offer in on the house we wanted before someone else snatched it up, we needed ours on the market ASAP.  It took 3 weeks for us to get new carpet installed, get the house power washed, have someone come in and paint upstairs (the dogs had scuffed up the walls and with our vaulted ceilings we couldn’t do it ourselves), and get half of our belongings moved out of the house and into a storage pod.  This meant daily work for both JD and I- cosmetic work around the house, packing, and cleaning.  If we weren’t at work, we were working on the house.  We were afraid that after all the work and decluttering, it would make us want to stay and not even move at all.  But the funny thing is that once we made all of the changes, it didn’t feel like our home anymore.  It was time to get the thing sold.

Our realtor suggested we list the house on a Thursday so we could get a lot of showings in the first weekend.  Of course it worked out that JD was on night shift on our list weekend; luckily, we arranged for him to sleep at a friend’s house, a LEO on the opposite schedule.  That left me on my own to deal with the showings.  To save myself a lot of extra work cleaning up after and wrestling 3 dogs (+ a toddler) in and out of the house, we boarded 2 of the pups for the weekend (probably some of the best money we’ve spent in the home selling process).

We had 2 showings Friday night, and neither of them went very well.  Your home is very personal, and when you put it out there for the world, it’s hard not to take some of the feedback harshly.  It sounds ridiculous to say we were discouraged after only 2 showings, but every minute we couldn’t put an offer on the new house was a minute we felt someone could snatch it away from us.  People tried to tell us “there are plenty of other houses out there” but we just knew that this was the house for us.  Besides our expected needs (an extra bedroom, more storage, a fenced in yard for the dogs), we were adamant about getting a nice lot, while not moving too far from our current location.  We live in suburbia, so finding a spacious lot is hard, and the house we found has over an acre that backs up to protected woodlands.  This house was a rare find and we knew we wouldn’t find another like it.

Saturday, we had 4 showings.  I woke up, did the last minute prep work, vacated the house for the day, and crossed my fingers.  The feedback Saturday was more positive, though by the end of the day, we had no future showings scheduled and were getting worried again.  But Sunday morning, we received an offer, and were able to negotiate and go under contract.  Though it felt like an eternity, it only took 2.5 days; I wasn’t kidding when I said houses in our area are selling quickly.  And by some miracle, the house we wanted was still Active, so we were able to put in an offer and we reached an agreement with the sellers on Monday.

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We breathed a sigh of relief thinking the worst of the process was over, but we didn’t anticipate how frustrating repair negotiations would be.  I won’t get into the gritty details, but I’ll just say that our buyers were asking for more than we thought was reasonable and our sellers were pushing back on what we thought were reasonable requests.  We probably would have gotten screwed by both sides if it weren’t for our awesome realtor.  It took a lot of stress and a few tears to get there, but we finally landed in a spot we were comfortable with for both the buyers and sellers.

So that’s where we are today.  Repairs are finalized, the Due Diligence period is over, and as long as there aren’t any unexpected catastrophes, we should be closing on both houses in 4 weeks.

Of course, the light at the end of the tunnel has always been the house we call our dream home, the house we plan to call home long-term.  Meanwhile, though we always knew our current house was a starter home, there has been the surprising sadness of knowing we’ll have to say goodbye.

There were a lot of firsts here.  It was the first home we lived in as a married couple, the place we found out we were going to have our first baby, the first place we brought her home to, first smiles, first steps, first holidays, first birthdays, first bike rides.

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It was the little house that survived a (small) tornado.  It was the house that brought us some of the greatest neighbors ever, who we could always count on for a fun evening of drinks and grilling, or to keep a key handy for lockouts, or to come over and mow the lawn, unsolicited, when JD was post-surgery and out of commission.

It was also the place where my mom lovingly painted the mural in L’s room- the one thing I’m really struggling to let go of.  I remember when we came to look at the house and we walked into that bedroom.  The late afternoon sun was shining through the windows, and I said “this would be a great nursery.”  It was a great nursery.  It became my favorite room in the house by far, and I have to say goodbye (with a secret prayer that the mural gets to stay).

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Most importantly, it was a place of love.  It was the place that busted at the seams when we had family visiting from up North (though no one seemed to mind since we were all together), the place where a young couple made memories, and the place that same young couple became a family.

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Love.  So much love.  We’ll carry the love and memories with us and hope that we’re passing it on to another family who will create their own loving memories here.

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