Wednesday, March 22, 2017
I guess you could call my family and me Nomads. It seems like someway or another, every four years, or so, we end up moving.
Sure, we get sick of it sometimes. But generally it keeps our lives lively and entertaining. And after countless relocating, I'd say we have a good amount of expertise on the subject. So, I thought I'd share a bit, from my prospective.
I guess I'll start with what I know of the selling part. Before the house is actually listed, you de-clutter. BOO! I say to this part. It's annoyingly tedious, but it really does help. There is an extremely fine balance between helping a buyer envision your house as their own and depersonalizing so much that they can't envision anything and it doesn't feel like your home. It won't be a perfect balance, but, whatever. Just you do what you can.
After decluttering, you choose a realtor and the fun begins. The For Sale sign goes up, your listing is written up and you stage your house. In most cases (at least for us) staging is constant. Staging basically means get up early, vacuum before you absolutely have to and always clean up your mess because as soon as the realty office opens, you're on call for a showing. You will always have at least one showing that only gives you 10 minutes notice, leaving you scrambling to get out of your house, so it's better to be prepared. Of course, you are in charge of when you have showings, so you could say no, but if you really want to sell your house, you will say yes to as many showings as you can!
This latest time around, as soon as our house was officially listed on the MLS (Multiple Listing Service) we were plunged into it. We had a showing after being "live" for only an hour. In less than a week, we had like eight showings! And of those 8 showings, we managed to get 3 offers and were able to say "come back with your best offer." Which was crazy, loco, bananas, and any other word for crazy you can think of! It was mainly crazy for us because of our pets. For every showing, 4 dogs and 3 cats had to be wrangled and taken for a car ride. As you can probably guess, the cats hated it, but the dogs loved it. In fact, the dogs became geniuses at figuring out when we were preparing for a showing.
Anyway, that's the main part about selling. Now lets talk about buying.
To me, the buying process is tied with actually moving. They're both pretty fun. The part about buying that I like is house hunting. There's a little thrill in hunting for the house that is just so! Much like treasure hunting. Or like Goldilocks and the Three Bears... this house is very nice, but it isn't me, this house is just terrible, and this house is just right!
I suppose there's two different ways you could go about house hunting. You could tell the realtor what you want in the house (price, how many beds, baths, square feet, acreage, etc) or you could use websites that specialize in MLS listings (there are three big ones: Realtor.com, Trulia, or Zillow) and plug in your criteria and weed thru the listings yourself and you forward those to your realtor. Either way you do it, you will have houses that look completely different than the pictures in the listing, which can be good or bad. You'll also have some fun stories about house hunting. It could be anything from looking at the house while the sellers are there (which is just weird, don't do it!) Or the house could be a total mess or you may even get lost and never see the house. One house stunk so bad of cigarette smoke that my mom couldn't go in because of her allergies. She stood on the threshold for less than a minute and needed an allergy pill asap. Anyway, if you're doing house hunting right, there should never be a dull moment! And having the right realtor for buying a house is just as important, if not more so, than for selling. We were fortunate and my dad found one that was perfect for us.
Now, moving is fun whichever way you do it, though it's probably more fun if a moving company does it. When a moving company does the packing, each box will NEVER be labeled precisely, the writing will be hard to read, and it'll probably be vague. You might think you know what's in the box, but open it up to find your guess was nowhere near correct. But if you rent a truck and do it yourself, you have to lug everything to the truck, you have to drive it wherever you're going, you have to unload it, and you have to pack the moving truck up just so... That's actually one of the cool things. When a moving company moves you, they can pack everything you own, your clothes, furniture, etc. and fit it all in one trailer or even half. It's amazing, like a giant Jenga game.
Between the time of closing at the house you're buying and when the movers bring you your things, we usually take that opportunity to paint a couple rooms (usually the bedrooms). It's easier to paint when you don't have any furniture to worry about. We also steam clean the carpets and we usually bring the things that the movers couldn't pack (such as leftover paints or stains, cleaners, charcoal, candles, plants, that sorta stuff). This time around, my brother and I kept changing our minds about what colors we wanted and our closing was pushed back a week because of hail damage.
Any-who, hopefully that was informative and a little "behind the scenes" glimpse at buying, selling and moving. These are the things the house hunting shows don't tell ya! LOL! They also don't tell you how much juggling you do... or should I say my parents had to do. From schedules, to actually doing stuff, and all of the paperwork and keeping our regular activities going, etc, etc. It got a little crazy.