June 15, 2022
Three years ago, we chose a placeholder date for our future move. There were about 1,200 days to get through when we started.
Today, the countdown has reached zero!
We never assumed the date we picked would be exact. It just gave us something to aim at for planning purposes. (“Hey, our moving date is in six months, maybe you should start looking for a new job while I start packing up the house!”) Almost as importantly, it gave us something to count down to, which has been very motivational.
So, no, we’re not fully “moved to Disney” yet! But we are very far along. As you know if you’ve been following, my wife has been living down there since late March when she started her new job. And I’m still here in Tennessee preparing to sell the house. Those preparations have kicked into high gear over the last couple of weeks. Here’s a look at what’s been happening… and what our actual moving timeframe might be now that the light at the end of the tunnel is actually in sight.
One of the biggest suggestions everyone agrees on when it comes to moving to Disney is to purge. And then keep purging! I don’t think I’ve ever heard anyone who made the move say they threw away too much! We’ve been slowly getting rid of unneeded items for two years now. By the beginning of 2022, our house definitely was starting to look like someone was leaving soon, with barren walls and half empty shelves. Three months ago, you’d have found a stack of packed up boxes taking over a corner of just about every room.
This past week, we took another big step. I rented a truck and we hauled away 1.25 tons of material! Now our home really looks like its occupants are on their way out, with furniture missing out of every room: a living room without a couch, a bedroom with out a bed, an office without a desk, and so many more things removed that aren’t making the trip to Florida. Even with so much gone, I still didn’t get everything I’d hoped on the truck. But most of what remains is small enough that it can be bagged and trashed and hauled away with our car.
We moved into this house when our kids were about six and three. Later, a cat and dog joined the family. And we have the floors to show it! Between messy craft projects and pet accidents, our carpets are in bad shape. Had we not decided to move four years ago, they would have long ago been fixed. But knowing we were moving, we chose to live with it so that we could replace them right before the move and have it looking its best for potential buyers. We’ve just had the house measured and have picked out the new flooring. So hopefully one of our biggest remaining projects will be done in the next few weeks.
Not an advertisement, but just for informational purposes, we went through the Home Depot. You can fill out a short form on their website, and they will send someone over to calculate how much flooring you’ll need. A few days later they’ll send you a quote, and if it’s agreeable they’ll order what you need and set up the labor with a local provider. Sure, I could have went directly to an installer. But which one? Ripping up flooring and replacing it isn’t a job most of us do often enough to have someone we trust readily at hand. For someone like me handling all this on his own and trying to get it done quickly, going through Home Depot was a lot less hassle. They take care of setting it all up for me, and I assume they vet the installers better than I could. Which brings up another benefit: we have an extra layer of protection. I’m paying Home Depot directly. Instead of only having to rely on a small local company to make things right if things go wrong, I can also escalate any issues up to a national brand with a lot more resources to get things fixed.
Another major task that needs done is interior paining. We’ve had our share of scuffs and scratches over the years. There are a few holes from mounted TVs. And some of the rooms are most definitely not the neutral shade of color new buyers prefer!
Here I’m of two minds. The rooms with colored walls were painted by me. So I feel like I could save a lot of money by just doing this myself again. I’d even have the benefit of not having to be super careful if I can get it done before the flooring is installed. But painting three rooms over a couple of weeks is a lot different than painting an entire house in that same timespan. With so many other things to do, getting that off my plate by hiring someone else is not the worst idea. But on the other hand, every dollar I spend comes out of what we get back from selling the house. And homes in Florida ain’t cheap! I may not be able to install a floor but I can paint a wall. I’m still flip-flopping on this. But I need to make a decision very soon.
The biggest news since my last post two weeks ago is that we have a real estate agent now! I’d been debating when the best time to finally call one would be. I didn’t want to bother one too early since I know with the way the market is now they’re probably very busy people. But I also didn’t want to possibly end up delaying our move by waiting too late. In the end, what finally got me to pick up the phone was the flooring project.
I had planned on waiting a bit longer before called an agent. But while sitting at my computer looking at all the flooring options, I got a bit overwhelmed! A feeling of fear that I was going to screw this up hit me. And that’s when I decided maybe I need someone who knows what they’re doing to start helping me out, or to at least make me feel like I wasn’t doing this alone.
I thought I had prepared for this. Our plan had always been to use the same agent we used when we found this house, because of how great a job he did. But after looking him up, I discovered he is only a buyer’s agent. And we didn’t really have anyone that could give us suggestions for another. So now I had some unexpected research to do. And like the flooring, I started to get a little dazed by all the options and the pressure to get this right. To make a long story shorter, after doing some homework, I decided to use the National Association of Realtors’ Find a Realtor tool. Nothing against non-Realtor real estate agents, but since I need a lot of help, going with an agent who has some extra certifications and is bound to the code of ethics Realtors have to agree to just provided a little more peace of mind than just picking someone from random on Google.
I had my first meeting with our agent last week, and I do feel a little better! Besides the intangible relief of knowing I’m not completely on my own here in Tennessee now, it was also very comforting to see some of the numbers she provided. As I’ve already mentioned once in this post: homes in Florida ain’t cheap! And not knowing what I could realistically expect to get out of selling this home has meant we were unsure what we should be looking for in Florida, budget-wise, or even what a timeframe we were looking at for getting out of this house.
She told us that there have been ten homes sold in the last six months in our area comparable to ours. Seven of them sold for over asking price. Eight of them sold in three days or less. (That’s great news for us as sellers… but we need to keep in mind we’re going to be on the other side of that equation soon enough!) That means we can maybe start breathing a sigh of relief. We should get what we ask for at least and we shouldn’t have to wait long. Knowing both those things will be extremely helpful as we move forward. (With the assumption that the market doesn’t suddenly and drastically change…)
So where’s that all put us in regards to an actual move date? Nothing as set as that previous made-up countdown date was! But we do have a timeframe we can estimate. We have a tree service coming this week and gutters getting replaced next week. I need to paint or hire someone else to do it. And the flooring is looking like it may take two to four weeks before they can begin. There’s a lot more to do than that, but those are the biggest items on the to-do list.
If we build in some some wiggle room and really buckle down to get all the smaller projects done, we potentially could be done in six weeks, which would put us at the end of July. If the house sold in a week, let’s say, that’d be around August 7th. If closing took 30 days, that would have us out around September 7th. Build in a little more wiggle room (and to make it align nicely with the old countdown date) and let’s call it September 15th.
That puts the new countdown at 92 days. Which still seems ridiculously soon! And now the stress is coming back!
For those of you reading this who have been planning your own move and are getting towards the point we are at now, here’s my takeaway for you: just get your projects started rather than wasting mental energy worrying about them getting done! I can’t explain the relief I felt just after having set up the appointment for the floors or talking to the realtor over the phone for the first time. And that feeling gave me the motivation to want to continue setting up my next projects. Work is a very powerful remedy for worry!
I really can’t believe the countdown is finally at zero. A thousand days seems so long ago! Now I can’t wait to be at the real zero day, when I actually walk out the door of this house for the last time to head to Florida full-time. I may not know the exact day that will be yet, but knowing it’s so close is such a good feeling.
[ I want to make sure it’s very clear to readers that any links to businesses or services I include on this blog are always done with no compensation! I’m not making any money here in any way! Also, none of those types of links are necessarily endorsements. Sometimes it might be companies I like. But most of them will be me just telling you who I am using, without knowing yet whether they will work out well for me! In other words, check these guys out if you need a starting place, but do your own research too. ]