I wish I could say I was the kind of blogger that would shower you in posts like 10 Tips for a Stress-Free Moving Experience or How to Pack your 4-Bedroom House in 24 Hours or even How to Find your Dream Home Quickly and Easily…but I am not. I’m more equipped to write How to Frantically Pack your Kitchen in 45 Minutes and Pray Nothing Breaks, How to Steal Boxes from your Old Employer, or even The Art of Numbness: How to Remain Calm While Buying and Selling a Home.
Selling, buying, and moving are not unique experiences – they are things that people do every single day. However, when they are happening in your life, they are all-consuming. For sure, moving is up there with marriage, children, death-in-the-family, and career changes as the most stressful life events (though when I googled this, I found out that divorce and incarceration are actually at the top of the list😳 yikes). Not only do you have to be brave about starting life anew in a different location, but you also have to physically move your earthly possessions and living dependents to that new place. Oh, and the financial and time stress of moving and mortgages. It’s one of those things that is super worth it in the end, but a big pain getting there. Sort of like pregnancy…
I’m 31 weeks pregnant with our daughter, and luckily the gestational period for this new home hasn’t been quite as long. But it does sort of feel like I’m “expecting” twice at the same time. Everyone keeps telling me I’m crazy for moving at this stage in my pregnancy, but like…what else were we going to do? My therapist says that of course it all happens at once! This is the phase of life when all of these big, exciting things happen!
Moving Tips from a Really Bad Mover
Fall in love with your agent. My only true advice is to do your research and find an agent and a mortgage banker that you really trust. Our agent has all the answers, and I’ve never once felt lost or mislead during the entire process with her. You’ll be spending a lot of time together, and unless you’re a pro yourself, you’re going to need lots of guidance. If you’re in Northeast Ohio and want her contact info, shoot me an email!
Phase 1 is really the most work. I think of Phase 1 as the period of time that you are really hunkering down financially to save up a down payment and doing repairs, fixes, and improvements to your home to prep it for listing. This is when you clean out the basement and the guest room, freshen up paint, fix window sills that Bob may have destroyed, work on curb appeal, and do any obvious repairs needed. I think it’s also important to remember that it’s never worth it to put a $40k kitchen remodel into a house in a neighborhood that will only sell for $90k. Be smart.
Be realistic about your home. We all love our homes. They are our personal sanctuaries and a reflection of our very essence. So it’s hard to open up your home to a stranger who will most likely decide it’s just not for them. Don’t be offended (you probably wouldn’t like their current home either). When listing, listen to your agent about an appropriate price, even though we all think our homes are priceless.
Have a plan for showings and open houses. We’ll call this Phase 2. Depending on the market in your area, you may have lots of showings in a short time, or few spread out over a longer period. Ours were more spread out which meant I had to continually keep my house clean – and there was always enough time in between showings for things to get lived-in and paw-printed again! By the time we accepted an offer, I had my quick cleaning routine down to a science! Also, invest in a good vacuum and floor steamer!
Dream big, but then get real. Obviously moving to a new neighborhood, city, or state is a big deal, so you want to make a decision that will improve your life in the long-run. Dream big! And then (just like on House Hunters), get real. Just about everyone will have to shift their expectations somewhat based on budget, wishlist, or timeline.
Do your research about BSL. Obviously if you have children, you will look into the schools in your new community, but if you have furry dependents, I urge you to check the laws before you purchase. We were upset to find out that several of the communities we were seriously looking at have breed specific legislation (BSL) on the books that could have put Bob in a compromising situation (I’m looking at you, Cleveland Heights and Lakewood!!!).
Just be more prepared about packing that I was. Packing = Phase 3. My pregnant ass was not feeling it. I’ll just leave it at that. Also, PODS has been fabulous to work with, especially if your move isn’t just point A to point B in one day.
Prepare for anything. It feels like so much of this process is out of your hands, so you just need to be ready for the unexpected. Once our house was under contract, we looked at tons of houses, had an offer rejected, had a new house under contract only to have the sellers back out after two weeks (which really messed us up financially and time-wise), and now our closing date on the house we finally ended up with has been pushed back (Phase 4: the waiting game). Perhaps this post should have been titled The Art of Numbness: How to Remain Calm While Buying and Selling a Home – because you’ve just gotta roll with it.
Also, prepare for emotions. I cried big, giant, silent tears for about 24 hours straight before I handed over the keys (and I never cry about anything really). I also got emotional at Walmart because I hope the Walmart by my new house is as nice as MY WALMART…and my favorite pizza place, my hairdresser, my doctor, my dentist, Bob’s boarding facility, our vet…
Maybe it’s the hormones…?