Survived Moving Day . . .Barely

Well, Wednesday, otherwise known as Moving Day this week, came and went and I’m still here.  I made it through!  My old house is now empty, EMPTY!!!  It looks so weird empty.  It’s no longer our home, now just a house we once lived in.  We went back yesterday to get the last of the odds and ends that were still there (which filled the entire back of my Explorer with the seats down!) and then it was done, we were moved out.

Moving Day was a crazy day.  At moments I thought I might not make it.  Ok, that’s a bit of an exaggeration, but in the moment I thought I literally might just fall over.  At just after 7am the movers arrived.  Let me tell you people, I will never and I mean NEVER move without movers ever again!  Movers are the BEST!  They unloaded our house into our garage, loaded up all of our furniture and boxes from an almost 3000 square foot 2 story house into 2 moving trucks, moved us 20 minutes away, stopped for a lunch break (which we bought for them, and let me encourage you to do that, they’re moving your stuff, keep them happy and fed!) and unpacked the 2 moving trucks into our new house putting the items wherever I wanted, set up beds, hooked up our washer and dryer and everything and were done by 3:30pm!  It was amazing!  If you ever move again, two words of advice. . .GET MOVERS!  If you think they’re expensive, they can be, but they are worth every single cent.  Call around, get quotes, ask for referrals from your Realtor or friends, have the movers come look at your house and tell them what you exactly need/want moved.  Not all movers are the same, so do you research and find out the movers that will be best for you, but bottom line. . . get movers.

Another word of advice, don’t pack things you’ll still need to use on moving day.  I’m sure that sounds like common sense, but when your life is filling boxes for several days on end and all you can think about is filling those boxes, sometimes you fill the boxes with things you still need lol!  Take, for instance, this bowl.

The morning of Moving Day my kids got up and were getting ready for school and I realized that all I had for them to eat was cereal and milk, but I had packed ALL OF THE DISHES.  Until I found this one lonely bowl in the pantry that was holding sauce packets.  You know, the packets you collect from all of the take out joints, that you save, endlessly for who knows how long because they never go bad because they’re not real food, but I digress.  I found the bowl and I washed it, and one kid ate breakfast and I washed it again and the other kid ate breakfast and I washed it again and I ate breakfast, because it was our only dish lol! So yeah, don’t do that.  I also may have used a plastic water bottle as a wine glass the night before, because well, I needed a glass of wine.  You may call it tacky, I call it resourceful.

After the movers left, the daunting task of unpacking began  When you downsize by almost 1000 square feet, this task is even more overwhelming. For hours, literally hours and hours I opened box after box and tried to find new homes for all of our belongings.  Tears of exhaustion almost made it down my cheeks around 11pm but I was too focused on unpacking to let them roll.  At about 1am I decided I had done all I could do for that day.  Beds were up and made, kids were sleeping, the majority of the kitchen was unpacked, including bowls so we could eat breakfast without rewashing one bowl over and over to eat cereal.  We were home and it was time for me to sleep and I was happy.

It’s now been 2 days since moving day and all of our belongings are now at our new house!  They’re not all put away, we’re probably about 70 percent unpacked but we can live now and we can even park both cars in the garage which is a pretty amazing accomplishment if you ask me.  Our back covered porch currently looks like this, which actually makes me very happy because those are boxes that I do not have to unpack anymore!

The rest of the house is mostly livable, still stuff everywhere, but we can function.  I spend my days unpacking in between real life (of being a full time Realtor, bussing kids around, picking up to go food, cause goodness knows I’m not cooking yet, and whatever else life throws at me).  So the rest of the house currently looks like this.

(This is family room or the junk room currently.  Eventually all of those walls to the left will be gone and this will be part of the Great Room)

(Notice the large box of stuff behind the couch, yeah, that’s more stuff to donate that I realized I don’t need as I was unpacking it all.  This was AFTER purging stuff as I packed it LOL!)

There are 5 large boxes hiding in the corner that you can’t see.  I’m not even sure what’s in them because my husband packed them and he doesn’t label things quite like I do, so it’ll be a “fun” surprise to unpack those.

(Camo by my lovely kids getting themselves breakfast in clean, unpacked dishes.  The kitchen is the most unpacked of all of the rooms.)

Not pictured are the kids rooms which are 95% unpacked, our room and the pantry.  I made sure to unpack the kids rooms first so they can escape to them to chill while I pull out my hair unpacking the rest of the house.  It’s a good safe zone for them lol.  Our room, not so much, it’s still a box jungle.  The pantry is my favorite room in the house.  It’s HUGE and I forgot to take a picture of it, but don’t worry, you’ll see it in a post in the future I’m sure.

It’s not pretty yet but it’s home and I know we’re going to love it here.


CalBRE# 01984572

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Moving Day Eve: Boxes for infinity

Today is moving day eve, which means tomorrow is moving day, which means I’ve been packing for what seems like an eternity (reality, like 2 weeks) and it feels like it will NEVER END.  My least favorite part of owning a new home is moving.  I HATE moving.  I mean it, I truly deeply loathe packing, moving and unpacking, but mostly the packing part.

I’m pretty sure that the cabinets in my current house have some sort of evil magical power where they create more stuff the minute I close the cabinet door.  Seriously.  I open a cabinet, load all of it’s contents into 1, 2, 10 boxes, then close the cupboard door only to open it and find MORE STUFF.  I honestly do not know where all of this stuff is coming from.  I am finding things that I have not seen since I packed it in a box to move INTO our current house!  Today I packed the last half of my kitchen. I thought I had most of my kitchen packed last week, but 7 giant boxes later today and it’s finally packed, minus all of the food.  I’m telling you, evil magical cabinets did this to me, that’s all I can think of because there’s just no way I’ve got this much stuff.  I mean look at this, this is less than half of my kitchen in my car.

The good part of moving is that I am going through every single cupboard, drawer, cabinet, box, closet, etc. and purging, donating, selling, getting rid of stuff! We are moving into a house that is almost 1000 square feet smaller than this house and it truly feels so good to get rid of stuff that we never use! Bigger and more is not always better people.  In our case, one of the reasons we sold our house is because it’s just too much house for us.  It takes too much time to take care of a home that is larger than our needs require, which means less time with family, friends, doing things that we love.  Simplifying and downsizing, that’s what this move is for us and I’m so excited about that part of it.  But I’m honestly not sure how we have accumulated so many things that we don’t use, maybe have never used, in just under 5 years.

I’ve also decided that there’s something weird that happens to you when you buy a house; after awhile you forget (or remember a bit less) how terrible the moving process was.  It’s kind of like giving birth.  There must be some sort of hormone or something that your body makes after you get settled into your new home that makes you not remember quite how painful and messy and hard and exhausting packing and moving is.  Okay, maybe I’m being a little dramatic but if you’ve ever moved, you know what I mean.  But seriously, this moving thing is kicking my butt. I’ll just sit here in my sea of boxes for a minute and rest before I go find another evil cupboard to pack up.

Tomorrow is a new day, and MOVING DAY, which means I will no longer be living between 2 houses packing and loading and unloading and packing some more.  The packing will be done, everything will be at one house and the unpacking and renovating will commence.  And what makes tomorrow extra special, WE HIRED MOVERS!  First time ever.  I think in the past my husband thought I possessed some sort of super human strength to carry pieces of furniture 5 times my size up flights of stairs, but this time I talked him into us hiring movers.  Yippee!!! My new best friends (that I’ll be paying by the hour) will be here bright and early to load all of my stuff up into a nice big truck and unloading it into our new house.  Now that’s worth getting excited about!

Alright enough procrastinating for me, back to my sea of boxes and my evil magical cabinets. Next time I post I’ll be posting from our new home!!!

The Magic of HVAC

From the first day we viewed our new house as potential home buyers, we noticed right away that there was something not right.  Our home search began in the middle of summer, and here in Northern California our summer this year felt more like the depths of hell with temperatures in the 100’s on a regular basis.  When we first viewed our house one very warm summer evening,  we opened the door are were hit with a wall of extremely hot stale heat. . . .inside the house.  We walked over to the thermostat to turn on the A/C and NOTHING!  The air conditioner did not work at all.  It was a balmy 94 degrees inside our house the first time we viewed it.  It was actually cooler outside than it was inside that evening, LOL!  From that moment until this week, our new home had not been less than 85 degrees inside anytime we saw it.

Let me tell you, it’s a bit hard to fully view a house and take in all of it’s potential when you have to keep going outside to get “fresh air” in the 100 degree weather because the inside air feels too hot to breath.  We knew right from the get go that there was something wrong with at least the Air-Conditioner, and during our inspection period we had the HVAC inspected.  In case you’re wondering what HVAC stands for, because I get asked that question all of the time by clients,  HVAC stands for Heating, Ventilation and Air-Conditioning.  We quickly learned from our inspector that our HVAC system was completely shot, not repairable, but needing to be completely replaced. The seller attempted to have the unit fixed, but during our repair negotiations we made it clear we would much rather take on the repair ourselves after the home was ours than have the seller “fix” it (with some price negotiations to compensate of course).

Now some of you might think that it would have been wiser to have the seller install a new working HVAC unit instead of taking on the hassle of doing it ourselves.  Here’s where I’m going to let you in on a tip of mine as a Realtor.  I often highly recommend taking on your own repairs rather than having a seller fix it for you (unless of course you don’t have the finances to fix it on your own).  As I mentioned in my last post, the reason being is that a seller most times will do a fix that is least expensive to them.  As a home buyer, you are the one who will be living with that repair.  In this case, we wanted to make sure we had an HVAC unit that would be best for our family and the most energy efficient for our home.  We got a bid on the potential new unit for our negotiations, but we also got a bid for an upgraded system, that is around 20% more energy efficient which came out to $1000 more.

We closed escrow last week and as I mentioned earlier, we had not been in the house when it was under 85 degrees, bleh.  Until today!!!!  Today I took a load of stuff to the new house and when I opened the door this time, instead of being hit in the face with hot air, the magic of HVAC welcomed me. . .cool air flowing from every vent in my house, aaaaah!  It was heavenly as I’m sure you can tell from my picture below (Don’t mind my beautiful appearance. I call this look Renovation Chic as demonstrated by the day 4 messy hair, comfortable clothes and face au natural).

In case you’re wondering what this magic cool air making machine known as an HVAC system might run you if you needed to replace yours, well, you’d have to contact your local HVAC installer as the cost would be determined by the size of your home and your HVAC needs.  You also should consider contacting more than one company as they often have different pricing.  For us, we needed a dual unit, one that was both Heating and Air-Conditioning as we do not have a separate furnace.  We also needed a unit that would service our roughly 2000 square foot home, but we also wanted to take into consideration the addition we plan to do to the house in the not so distant future, so we made sure to discuss that with our HVAC installer and they added some extra ductwork that will be tied into the new addition.  All in all this project came in at a cool (see what I did there) $9300, for the brand spankin new HVAC unit and repairs done to the ducts under the house.  We opted for the upgraded more energy efficient option which cost us $1000 over the basic model.

Let me tell you, money well spent now that I can be in my house for longer than 10 minutes and not have to go outside to get a breath of fresh air.


The “not so hot” Water Heater

When you purchase a house you have dreams of moving in and making it your own.   Some buyers look for “move in ready” homes.  My husband and I tend to look for “renovation ready” homes.  Some might call us crazy, but I prefer the word creative.  Living through a renovation is not for everyone, that’s for sure, but we enjoy the challenge of taking a house that needs some love and making it a home that we love.

Our new home isn’t what I would call a “fixer” because it has all of walls and floors in tact (for now until we start ripping it apart LOL), has a kitchen and appliances and upon first look, it looks pretty good.  But upon further inspection, there were many things about this house that needed some serious repair, not just updating.

Being a Realtor I can honestly tell you that getting inspections during the escrow process is one of the most important parts of the escrow.  You want to really know what you are purchasing, so there are less surprises after you close escrow.  For many buyer discovering “problems” like a failed HVAC (Heating and Air) and a roof that needs to be replaced may be a deterrent, but for my family and I it was a welcome piece of information that allowed us to negotiate a lower price.  Now we get to do the repairs on our own, how we want to have them done, with the upgrades that we want for us!  Most of the time a seller will want to repair an issue for the least expensive option possible, because well, they’re not going to be benefiting from the expense after the sale.  But as a buyer it can benefit you to take on those repairs yourself after the home is yours since you are the one who will be living with those repairs.  For some this is a scary option, but for us it’s an exciting challenge.

Ok, Realtor hat off, homeowner hat back on.  So during our inspections we discovered that not only did we need a new roof, but the Heating and Air unit was completely shot, as in did not work AT ALL (and it’s summer people, it’s HOT), the garage doors did not open and the water heater was also not working.  Remember I said this house isn’t a fixer?  You’re probably laughing at me now.

We got keys to the house last Wednesday (YAY!!!) and on Friday the renovations began!  First task, to replace the “not so hot” water heater.  First of all let me tangent for a moment, it’s not called a “hot water heater” people, it’s simply a water heater, because you don’t need to heat hot water.  Ok, tangent over.  The house came with the standard old tank water heater that was original to the home, well past it’s lifespan.  We decided to look into Tankless Water Heater options.    I’m a researcher, some might call me indecisive, but either way I definitely gather a lot of information before I make decisions.  Let me save you some research time if you’re contemplating between a standard tank water heater and a tankless water heater and share my findings with you.  Basically, they both heat water, that’s a given I guess, but in very different ways.  Tank water heaters keep water hot in the tank and tankless heaters heat water as it’s needed.  There seems to be the assumption that tankless water heaters are more cost effective because you are not paying to keep the water hot all of the time.  It’s true, it is going to save you some money monthly on your energy bills to run a tankless water heater.  However, the cost to have a tankless water heater installed will generally run you 2 to 3 times the amount it will to have a standard tank heater installed.  That is because the plumber may have to upgrade or install electrical to new tankless unit and may also have to refit your gas lines (if you have gas or propane) to the tankless unit.  On top of that, you have to purchase the water heater and the tankless water heaters are generally more expensive than the tank heaters.  Tankless heaters are supposed to have a longer life span than the tank heaters, so there’s that, but tankless heaters may also require more maintenance.   Bottom line, it’s not necessarily “cost effective” to have a tankless water heater as the money you’ll spend up front will pretty much make the money you’ll save over the life of the water heater a wash.

With all of the options and pricing considered, we opted for a tankless water heater.  For us it was just preference thing (my husbands preference really), but now we have a shiny fancy new WORKING water heater! Total cost for us was around $3600 for the new tankless water heater and installation.  Isn’t it purdy?!

Not only did we get a working water heater installed Friday, but we also had both garage doors repaired.  Woot woot!  I can park in my garage now!   I know, I know, this is exciting stuff people.  But, this is real life renovation, “not so hot” water heaters and all.