...because home doesn't happen overnight.

It’s been nearly three years since we sold our previous home, The Underdog. We bought it as a dilapidated estate sale in 2011 in an effort to downsize and simplify – physically and financially. We spent the next six years renovating it and making it into a home for our family. We believed then, and still believe now, that it was the perfect house for us at that stage in our life. It was a time of tremendous personal growth in many ways, and we learned a lot. From home improvement subjects like vaulted ceilings, metal roofing, IKEA kitchens and leaky furnaces to more abstract ideas like living with less and valuing experiences over things, the Underdog taught us so much and we’re forever grateful.

I thought it might be interesting to address some of the more frequently asked questions we’ve received since selling and moving.

the black house

What made you decide to move?

There isn’t really one singular thing that coaxed us into moving. It was more like the stars aligned and things kinda fell into place in a serendipitous way. We were putting the finishing touches on the The Pee House but hadn’t listed it yet. I was researching Realtor and Zillow to come up with an accurate fair market price for our flip when I happened upon a property that caught my eye. It wasn’t that the house was beautiful or anything like that, but I was struck by the setting and location. It was a secluded, wooded acre on a cul-de-sac close to all the places we visit on a weekly basis – the kids’ schools, public library, grocery store, favorite local restaurants, parks, swim club, work, etc. I had no idea a lot like it even existed in our area!

I showed the listing to Steve and suggested we “just look at it”, no strings attached. He was reluctant and rightfully so. Here we were with two houses already, neither one of them even on the market yet. We had spent whatever free time there was over the last several months working on the flip and were looking forward to a break. I believe Steve’s exact words were “I need you to stop.” I’m a persistent little bugger though (sorry!) and eventually he agreed to see the wooded property. We viewed it the next evening with our realtor. We were both pretty quiet during the walk-through. I was less impressed with the house (brown, outdated, weird layout, larger than we needed) but couldn’t get over the lot and location. I couldn’t get a good read on Steve. We got in the car to leave and I thought, “Okay, I saw it, now I can get it out of my head.” Sometimes I just need to see a place in person, then I can let it go. Sort of like adding items to an online shopping cart then never actually purchasing them :)

But then Steve said, “So, what did you think?!” I knew right then and there he was game. We slept on it overnight but made an offer the next morning. We were told there were multiple offers, so we didn’t let our hopes get too high. If we got it, great. If we didn’t, we already had two perfectly fine houses, ha! Our realtor called us that evening after the kids were in bed to let us know our offer had been accepted. We just looked at each other like, “Guess we’re buying another house!”

Turns out, the owners’ need to push closing out a few months was what motivated them to accept our offer. They needed time to prepare for a move to an assisted living facility. We were flexible seeing as how we needed time to unload two houses. An extended “under contract” period was perfect for both parties.

The next day we hastily listed the home we were living in as a “Make Me Move” on Zillow. We hadn’t prepped the house for sale; we hadn’t researched the fair market value. I quickly wrote up a description and uploaded photos that I had taken for the purposes of blogging. That was our listing. We didn’t even stick a “for sale” sign in the front yard. An hour after the listing posted, we had a call from a woman asking if she could come see the house that day. We thought, “Why not?”

She came, she saw and she was verrrrry interested. She told us she was newly divorced and her current home was already pending and scheduled to sell in a few weeks. She was under contract on another house, but the inspection had not gone well. She was still within the time frame allowed to walk away without penalty and was frantically looking for a Plan B. She thought our home was perfect. Her realtor contacted us the following day with an official offer. Steve and I had discussed a price we would be willing to accept and the offer was well above it. We felt we’d be silly not to accept it even though we hadn’t really processed everything that was happening. Within a matter of days, we were suddenly buying a new home and selling our current home. It was dizzying and a bit scary but also exciting! The way things were quickly falling into place, it felt meant to be.

The only hiccup we encountered was the timing of closings. Our buyer was anxious to get in ASAP; the sellers of the home we were buying needed more time. As much as we didn’t want to, we figured we could shack up in the flip house for a few weeks if necessary. (But who wants to move twice within a matter of weeks?!) Luckily, our buyer ultimately agreed to push back closing.

In the meantime, we finished up the Pee House, listed it for sale and accepted an offer. We had three closings on three different houses (selling two, buying one) scheduled within four weeks of each other. Not to mention, we were gradually packing up our belongings to move our family. Steve and I were working full-time day jobs, too. Ahhhhhh! It was insanity. We closed on the wooded property first which meant, for a short period of time, we owned three houses. We used that time to sporadically move our belongings to the new house. After work in the evenings and on weekends, we’d pack up the minivan and drop off items at the new house. Steve scored two hours with legit movers for a steal on Groupon, and we utilized them for larger items like furniture, mattresses and the washer & dryer on the actual moving day (although, in reality, we moved over two weeks). Two days later we closed on The Underdog, and two weeks after that we closed on the Pee House. It was a whirlwind, but it all worked out in the end.

What items, if any, were included in the sale of the your previous house?

Along with all the normal fixtures included in a property sale, we left a few extras. The TV & boob speakers (good riddance!) in the living room, all window treatments, the master bedroom sconces and the fauxdenza & wardrobes in the mudroom / dining area all conveyed. The buyer also requested to purchase several items separately from the sale of the house: living room sisal rug, media cabinet, counter stools, desk stool, bunk beds, shoe cabinet and trampoline. We were more than happy to leave those items with the house – less stuff to move!

Fun fact: We have a set of garage cabinets that have made every move with us over the last 10 years. They’re old chemistry lab wall cabinets that Steve found on Craigslist. He loves them, won’t let them go. So we’ve always been sure to note that they do NOT convey in our house listings.

Do you miss your old house?

With all the work, sweat and tears that went into the Underdog, we fully expected to grieve and miss it. Surprisingly, that didn’t happen. We quickly fell in love with our new place and were super happy to see our old house go to someone so excited about it. That definitely made the transition easier.

There are things we miss though. I miss having a newer refrigerator with a water dispenser. Our current home didn’t come with a refrigerator, so we bought an inexpensive, used one from a local scratch-and-dent appliance store as a placeholder until we renovate the kitchen. It’s an older model with no water dispenser and minimal interior organization. (We use a Brita filter pitcher and have to refill it 3-4 times daily. It’s such a pain.) The door doesn’t shut properly and, just last week, the door handle fell off.

I miss bathrooms with windows. I miss natural light in bathrooms and being able to crack a window after a shower or bath. I miss the two small raised garden beds where we grew veggies, herbs and cutting flowers. The kids miss the trampoline.

But these are all just things that can be replicated to some extent at our current place in good time. We don’t regret moving. In fact, at least once a week, one of us says, “I love it here.” So, nope, absolutely no regrets. It was the right move.

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