Moving: The Good and the Bad;
The Journey Ahead, Part Three
by Betty Soldz
As I stated in the previous article, selling our house in Berkeley, Ca. and moving to the East coast in Boston has been quite an experience. One, I hope, we never have to go through again.
For months we had been hearing that people were fighting for the chance to purchase homes for sale, especially in the San Francisco Bay area; even offering way over the asking price, using sealed envelopes in an auction situation. We felt we had a wonderful home which would sell immediately. What we hadn't heard was that the sale of real estate had slowed down in our area, probably due to increased interest rates and the fact that many dot.com and other companies were not doing as well as expected. It was also the time for graduations, vacations, etc. Whatever it was, we began to feel like we were in the situation from hell. In six weeks we had only two people look at the house and we did not have any purchase offers.
We were preparing to close on our house in Boston and were getting very nervous. Every day we'd go through the same routine. We'd clean and vacuum, hide the trash can and do anything else that would make the house look more presentable. We did this just in case a broker might bring a client to see the house. Then we'd wait for a broker, any broker to call. For some reason this wasn't happening. Maybe we were just overly eager to move to Boston and get on with our lives.
Beginning to panic, we greatly reduced the price of the house. More brokers began to show the house and we received an offer way under asking price. We counter offered and they counter offered us, still "low balling." Eager to move on with our lives we accepted the offer. Two days later we received a back up offer for the full asking price. This back up offer could only come into play if the first offer fell through, which it didn't. The closing process on our house began.
We closed on the house in Boston and hoped nothing would go wrong with the sale of our home. One of the things we've learned is "don't buy a new home before selling the old one!". If things don't go just right, the pressure on you is too great.
Just when we thought things might move along smoothly, the furnace broke down. The furnace company put in a new part and we paid them close to $700.00. The next day the furnace broke again. We were then told that they couldn't put in the other repair parts we'd need for another week, long after all contingencies were to be removed from the sales contract by the buyers. (Of course, everything being in working order was part of the contingencies.) We had already set a date to move, had started packing and had made reservations to fly to Boston. All we could do was hope the buyers would understand that the furnace would be repaired before closing. In the end, we hired another company to repair the furnace and after another very large repair bill it was fixed just in time for the closing on the house.
In the end, the sale of our house went well. We packed everything ourselves except for our art collection, which was packed by the movers who would only insure it if they packed it. The movers arrived on the day specified and all went well. We flew to Boston two days later and thought the stress was over.
Before leaving we had shipped our car with a car carrier company that promised the car would be delivered in seven to thirteen days. We were told that we could call their dispatcher from time to time to check on the progress of the car and when we began doing this, we were told they couldn't tell us where the car was. When we insisted on knowing where it was and when it would be delivered they would say "it will be delivered today or tomorrow." "Today or tomorrow" went on and on for three weeks and we still did not know where the car was. We began asking everyone we could think of for help. AAA of California said they would represent us if we sued the car carrier. This was no help. What we wanted was for them to put pressure on the car carrier to return the car.
In the end it was Automobile Association of Massachusetts, who solved our problem. They agreed to be our advocate regarding this problem. When they intervened on our behalf, the car carrier came up with the location of the car. It had been in the Boston area for five days. The company that had the car had been unable to notify us because the car carrier had given them four phone numbers (all wrong). The moral of the story is. Advocacy works! When you can't do it, find someone who can.
Once we moved into our new house, we found that as with many new houses, there were many things that needed repairs. First thing we did was put ceiling lights in the living and dining room. Of course, the workmen neglected to cover the furniture and floors with tarps before they cut the holes in the plaster board for the light fixtures. We finally got the plaster dust cleaned up. Then we had the living and dining room repainted as the builder had painted these rooms a bright raspberry red, not exactly a color we could live with. I had thought the electricians had made a mess but the painters were indeed worse.
Now the good side to this extended saga. Our son and his family are happy we are here. Our grandson says "he is looking forward to walking in the snow with grandpa" and "having grandma and grandpa baby-sit him when Mom and dad go out." We have met several of our new neighbors and even had a get-together. I am sure we will enjoy living here. We were surprised to receive a thank you note and gift from the couple who purchased our California home. They wanted us to know how much they appreciated the house. It is nice to know they will enjoy the home we had built and loved so much.
I would like to end this saga with a summary of what I have learned from our moving experience. First, be very sure this is what you want to do. Second, sell your home, if you have one, before buying a new one. Third, know that moving will probably be very stressful; that what can go wrong, does. Fourth, leave a longer time span for the move than you think you will need. Fifth, take everything you can: i.e. brooms, mops, etc. Even though if you leave them you might save a couple of dollars on the moving cost, it will be much more expensive to replace them. Last, ask friends and relatives for help. You will need it. Once the move is complete, begin your new life and enjoy it.
Betty can be contacted at: Milbet@aol.com
Part 4>>>One Year After Our Move: Making the Adjustment