Do you really want to move? #686

#686 in a series of true experiences in real estate

“Are you sure you want to move?” Anet often asks people who are thinking of buying a house.

It’s a funny thing for a real estate agent to ask, but although it has been quite a few years since Anet last moved, the experience remains fresh and harsh.

It wasn’t that she wasn’t organized, because she was. She cleaned out closets and cupboards, had garage sales. Cleaned out some more, collected boxes and filled them. Threw away a lot of stuff. Got more boxes.

She hired professional movers. The movers carried and loaded and carried and unloaded. They even laid out her rug in her new living room.

Still, the difficulty of the proceedings impressed her. She remembers that first day looking at stacks of her belongings. Her life was in pieces. Her bed wasn’t made yet. She did not know where her TV would fit.

The last-minute boxes – yesterday’s mail, the dish drainer and tea kettle, a bottle of wine – were too much to deal with. She wondered if she could get along without any of it, make it all go away.

Some moves are much worse. Anet moved only across town. There are people who move every few years, even people who manage to move across the country, or – what a nightmare – all the way overseas.

We had a client who moved herself, her car, a truck, one horse, two dogs, two cats and all of her belongings to Colorado. The horse went separately, but she packed everything else herself. She hired a company to build her a box on a trailer that they parked in front of her house. Then she carefully fit everything in.

In that box were her roll-top desk fitted with pillows, fireplace tongs wrapped in sheets, and her mother’s china side-stuffed with bedspreads and couch cushions. Also income tax returns, camping gear and a metal barbecue. It was a sight.

The box was delivered to rental storage in Colorado. Items needed for day-to-day life went with her and the pets. If Anet had done that move, sunny as she almost always is, she’d be dead.

We had some other clients who moved to New Mexico. They stacked all the boxes in the rooms closest to the front door. Gave away the African violets and what was left of the cooking oil and soy sauce, and rented a huge self-drive moving van.

The day before the scheduled drive, he got very sick. A big glitch. They couldn’t leave California but they had to leave their house because the buyers needed to move in. They were terribly worried, and they had to find an alternate plan very quickly.

Everything they owned was put into storage. They and their cats moved into a friend’s house.

It took two months – Thanksgiving and Christmas away from home –surgery, then the recovery, but they finally were able to reload the truck and drive to New York.

Another friend was moving to New Jersey. Her husband was already living there working at his new job. She was getting the house ready to sell – painting, packing, figuring how to ship the cats. Also working at her job and taking care of the baby.

About a week before the moving van arrived, she was driving down a country road on her way to say goodbye to a friend. Coming around a curve, she suddenly saw big rocks on the road. She swerved but hit one and destroyed the car’s transmission. On the phone that night, her husband was mad.

The next day she woke up with a cold. She went to the bathroom to find a cold pill, threw it into her moth, and took a swallow of water. The pill lodged in her throat. She gasped and signaled wildly to a friend. The baby began to scream. The friend called 911. Loud sirens. Paramedics. It turned out okay. On the phone again, her husband was mad.

She did get the walls painted, the transmission fixed, and left her job. Everything got in the moving van. She and the baby and the three cats and their carriers got on the plane. They made it to New Jersey.

Examples all that cause Anet to keep asking people if they really want to move. She says, “You must have a compelling reason to go through it, a bright beacon to sustain you or you’ll never manage it. You’ll just sit down and quit somewhere in the middle.”

Tom and Jennifer’s light was their first house. They really wanted to be in that house. Their move a week ago actually went very well. Here is what Tom told Anet:

“The timing worked out perfectly. I left work at noon on Wednesday and picked up the floor buffer and the house keys, then went to our apartment to wait to hear from you that the sale had been recorded. As soon as you called, I jumped in the car and went to the hardware store where I spent $200 on things we would need. Then I went to the house and started cleaning.

“Jennifer got home from work about four and we started moving glassware and lamps, the more fragile things, in our car. On Thursday we did floors. We spent all day on our hands and knees cleaning and coating all of the hardwood floors. Then we waxed and buffed the kitchen floor.

“Friday, we cleaned every part of the basement and the garage. We moved the rest of our kitchen things in that night so on Saturday when the movers were coming, the kitchen was all done. It took us only three hours to pack up the rest of our stuff. By the afternoon, everything was in. So we’ve already slept there for two nights!

“We are sore and blistered, but we feel so lucky. We just can’t believe this is true, that this house is really ours.

Probably Anet was thinking, “Remarkable. A happy moving story.”

What she said was, “Tom, this house was meant to be yours.”

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