For sale

Tomorrow is the next big milestone in our moving to Disney adventure: our house will officially be open for viewing by potential buyers. The past five weeks have been the most exhausting of my life. I’m drained physically and mentally. But thankfully that phase is basically over. This next step may be less tiring, but it could be more stressful: waiting for someone to buy the house so we can finally leave.

But before that, let me recap the last several weeks so those considering the move can see what I went through and decide for yourself whether you might want to do something different.

The second week of July the kids and I went to Florida to visit my wife and spend a day at Epcot for my birthday. It was such a great trip… and if I had known what I was in for when I got home I would have spent a lot more time enjoying it!

I returned home late Friday night, and the next day got straight to work. We were about to have our new flooring installed and I only had the two days to take apart furniture and move stuff around to make room for them to work. That weekend would be the last time I slept on a real bed for awhile! Sunday I was on the couch because I had taken apart everything in the bedroom. The next night I laid a mattress on the floor in a room that was finished. And that’s where I slept most of the last month.

The next week I started painting the inside of the house. Yes, after debating whether to hire someone or not, I ended up deciding to do it myself. If I could go back and rethink that decision, would I? Maybe! I saved a lot of money and it looks really good. But it was soooo much work. So. Much. Work. Laughably, I thought I could paint the entire house by myself in a week. It took about two weeks. It is not a one person job. Looking back now, I’m glad I saved the money. But I really don’t know if I’d want to do it again.

Speaking of things I don’t want to do again…! I’m not much of a lawn guy. I do the basics — mowing and weed eating — and that’s about it. So our front yard doesn’t have the best curb appeal. So should I hire a landscaper or just do it myself? This time I decided to hire someone else… at first.

Tangent time. I hired a tree service to remove two trees from our front yard back in May. They didn’t show up for that appointment. I called to ask what was up and they rescheduled to the first week of July. They cancelled. They rescheduled to the third week of July. They cancelled again. They rescheduled to the last week of July. And thankfully showed up. It was very stressful waiting for them to do their job, because every time they cancelled, I had to reschedule the gutter installers who were waiting for them to get the trees out of the way.

Anyway, back to the landscaping. After the trees were finally gone, I took a look at things and thought to myself: “Wow, this doesn’t look too bad now. All I have to do is dig up the these weeds and small bushes, lay down a layer of weed guard, then add mulch. If I don’t add any plants, this will be easy!” Apparently I did not learn my lesson! OK, it wasn’t too bad. It only took two days. But it was back breaking for a guy who is not used to major lawn work. And coming after those two weeks of painting, I was hurting! But again, two days of work and a lot of saved money.

Next up was installing a dishwasher and fixing a shower that wouldn’t turn on. After watching some YouTube videos, I really thought I might be able to do this too! But this time, I called in the professionals. And I kinda regret it! It would’ve taken me too long to do and I would have worried I couldn’t do it right. So I’m glad I didn’t do it for those reasons. But the plumber charged a ridiculous amount of money! Home Depot charges less than $150 to install a dishwasher if you buy it from them. And based on my YouTube searches, I was pretty sure the only problem with the shower was something to do with the knob. So surely this won’t cost more that $400 or so, right? The plumber looked at the dishwasher and shower and said, “that’ll be $900”! So I assumed that knob must be a bigger issue than I thought. Nope. After signing the paperwork, he went to the shower and was done in literally five minutes! I felt a bit stupid but at least it was done and done right.

Around the time I was finishing all that up, the realtor scheduled a photographer to come take pictures of the house for the official listing a week later. It was exciting to be close to done. But now I was on the clock. Before, I could take longer than I had scheduled to do my projects if I needed to. Now, I had a ton of small projects that had to get done or my photos would not look as good as I wanted them to. After spending the past five years virtually house hunting, I know how important good photos are for buyers. So last week was a mad scramble of a hundred minor tasks that had to get done, such as fixing closet doors, replacing a broken ceiling fan, straightening all the boxes stored in the garage, storing all of our personal items, and — at the suggestion of the real estate agent — staging furniture. Yep, everything I had taken apart and stacked out of the way or put in the discard pile was reassembled and put back in place. The big upside for me was after four weeks of sleeping on the floor, I’m back in my bed!

I’m happy with the way the photos turned out. I wish I had gotten more of the basic yard work finished (lawnmower battery died on me the night before picture day!), but overall if I saw this house during my house hunting I would think it looked pretty good.

That was a few days ago. After four and half weeks of working from morning to night, I took my first day off on Friday. Then it was back to work. Last week was those minor projects that needed to be done because they would show up in photos. These last three days have been minor projects that needed done but could wait until after the pictures, such as tightening the stairway handrail, fixing a track light, and anchoring a loose column on the porch. I finished all those up about two hours ago. All that is left is making the beds, sweeping the floors, and making sure everything is in place in the morning for our first viewing appointment.

So what’s the take away for future movers when it comes to major projects? I not so sure! It’s a lot of exhausting work to do things yourself. And it’s a lot of hard-earned money to have someone do work for you. Despite paying too much, I probably made the safest decisions. Paint and dirt can be fixed fairly easy if you mess it up. Plumbing, not so much. And after talking to our realtor this week, I’m even happier I did so much myself. When we first talked to her in June, her suggested price for this house was… high! This week, she is suggesting we drop that price by $25,000. That’s a big chunk to lose out on. But it’s a bit easier to swallow knowing we didn’t overspend on the projects I did myself. (And hopefully if the market here has dropped that much in three months, the same thing is happening in Florida.)

My body hurts. Obvious reasons for that. But my mind feels strange too. After five weeks of focusing solely on the house, and not doing any of the stuff I normally do in my daily life, I feel kind of separated from things. I went to the mall recently and it felt so weird to be somewhere that wasn’t a hardware store! I literally felt awkward. I am very much looking forward to getting back into a more normal routine. Again, what’s the take away for future movers? Probably not waiting as long as I did to start! If I could have had recovery time between each of these big projects I think I’d be doing a lot better right now.

Wish us luck tomorrow! Maybe if we’re extremely lucky one of these first two appointments will appreciate all the blood, sweat, and tears we’ve put into this place and want to make an offer very soon!