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On the Move. In the Move 3

Over the years, my mindset regarding homes has evolved from a naive, fairytale “home is where the heart is” orientation … to more of a “home is where my family and crap are and cats dance the jig on my face each morning.”

Wherever you move, finding and prepping, a new place to live. can be daunting. For two of our moves, the market was such that finding and securing a new home was particularly stressful and challenging. We would see something we liked online, but by the time we could arrange to actually see it … it was already gone. And, given our hellish experience in FL, there was no way we were going to buy something sight unseen. Just think, some people were even waiving inspections! No freaking way!

Anyhow, we considered renting, but we were not finding anything reasonable, and the thought of moving again once we did find a place pushed that option to the status of “only if we absolutely, positively, cannot find any acceptable place to live.”

Sure, renting first worked out well for us in the past. We were able to scope out the area while we were renting and calmly decide which part of town we preferred and which neighborhoods were the best fit for our family. But, when it came time to move again our easy-only-a-mile-away move turned out to be just as stressful as any long-distance move we have ever done.

It turns out, every move, no matter how close or how far, can have its moments… My favorite during that one-mile move was right after delivering a platter full of sandwiches to the crew (it’s definitely easier to do things like that when you have lived in the area for a while and know where to go). I had just gone upstairs to unpack some items when I heard a loud crash followed by a frantic, whispered conversation.

“Shit. Go tell the owner what happened.”

I’m not going to tell her. You tell her. She’s gonna be pissed.”

After which, nobody needed to come to tell me because I was already on my way to the source of the panic where I discovered the refrigerator firmly wedged into the rounded corner of the wall next to the living room.

I think they were surprised at how well I took it. But, the company paid for the damage, and, it’s not like they did it on purpose. Besides, the horrified looks on their mayo-smudged faces actually made me feel bad for them.

In a market as hot as this latest, the fact that my husband and I could not be on location at the same time further complicated our hunt. He went first and found a good option. Only to discover after returning home, that the window for closing was going to be a challenge. So, that kind of fell through. We then decided to have our Realtor video tour some places and ended up finding another nice option. We promptly put in an offer and I made plans to travel out to be there for the inspection … aka the last chance to back out and remain financially unscathed if there are issues.

And, here is where I pitch inspections. Let me just say up front that I am not a fan of the home inspection industry. This is not to say that all home inspectors are “unworthy,” but when you are moving somewhere completely new, you have to put a whole lot of trust in (a) the person recommending an inspector, and (b) the inspector him or herself.

You are also putting a lot of trust in the honesty of the people selling you the home. This is because, given the way the average home inspection works and its rather extreme limitations, it is entirely all too possible for a seller to hide defects from a home inspector (just read the fine print regarding the limitations of said inspections and you will see what I mean).

Anyhow, without going on a complete and total rant spurred by past dishonest sellers and the total hell they put us through (watch for a book on this in the future), I will just suggest you get evey kind of reasonable inspection before signing on the dotted line. This way, even if things turn up and go sideways, you have done your due diligence and have more of a leg to stand on in court.

Also, make sure you research the area you are moving to and the most common home issues found there. Some areas might be more prone to wood-eating pests, whereas others might have known potential sewer line problems, or foundation settling issues due to the type of soil. This kind of research will not only help you to decide the type and extent of your inspections but can make you aware of what kinds of insurance you should consider purchasing to protect your investment.

On the day of the inspection, I walked through the home for the first time. I had pretty much plotted out where all the furniture was going to go when the inspector walked over to me with a guarded expression. He then proceeded to let me know that the home was in stellar condition … apart from one rather significant flaw involving the sewer line.

When you tell someone who is buying a house that there is a significant issue, generally that buyer will hear you out and calmly decide if and how to move forward with the transaction. When you tell someone who has been through a past home-hell-experience … like, say, an experience that resulted in them losing a large portion of the walls of their home and living in a plywood box full of dust and angst for over a year, that person will break into a sweat, hyperventilate, eyes darting back and forth, and look for the nearest exit.

Long story short, we pulled out of the deal and I postponed my flight home in order to continue the search. We put an offer on another home and held our breath until that inspection came in.

In fact, as I write this, I am sitting in our new home, in the only comfortable chair that has come off the moving truck thus far, while the wonderful people who have been breaking their backs bringing everything in take a well-deserved lunch break. I, too, am enjoying a break from crossing off numbers as they call out the items they bring in.

This may sound like a simple chore, but is actually a nightmare version of BINGO, with cards including every number into the hundreds, printed in a font that would force a flea to pull out his spectacles. Multiple people call out numbers in rapid sequence (and sometimes at the same time). And while you frantically scan the cards in front of you for the numbers to cross off (wait .. did you say green 198 or yellow 198. Green 298?), they ask where you would like certain boxes situated. (Which is why it is not surprising that a box containing part of a drumkit ended up in the kitchen.) Oh, and because your kids somehow know you are overwhelmed, despite being a town away crammed into an Airbnb, they begin to fight, text, and call during this whole process. Yeah, I am enjoying my little break.

BINGO cards from hell

And, now that I hear the truck announcing the end of my break, I will leave you with this. If you are the buyer of a home, try not to sweat the little things. If the home was lived in and enjoyed by another family, you are bound to find nicks and stains. My Moon once ran up to brush their teeth one last time as we were exiting one of our homes and left (heaven forbid) a toothpaste stain in the sink. Believe it or not, despite the fact that we’d had the home professionally cleaned on our dime even though that was not included in the contract, the buyers made sure we knew that they were not happy about said toothpaste stain.

If you are the seller, try to leave the home in such a way as to allow for a pleasant arrival for your buyers. After all, this is the start of a new chapter for them, too. Not that everything has to be perfect (see the paragraph above), but “once upon a time, I stepped into the lush green yard of our beautiful new home and happened upon enough dog poo to fill a dumpster” is not the way anyone wants to begin a chapter. Oh, and maybe don’t cut stains out of the carpet and tape other pieces on top. Just a suggestion. 😉

Join me next post for more suggestions and hacks to help you out in your very own move. For example, a wonderful way to deal with the skyscraper-high piles of packing paper that will rapidly overwhelm you as you unpack your belongings.

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