Wednesday, July 27, 2016

I moved to Michigan!

Sorry it's been FOREVER since I last wrote!  I've been such a bad blogger.  I think I had a pretty good reason, though, as we recently undertook a 1300 mile move from Colorado to Michigan!

Selling our house was SO stressful.  It felt like it took us forever to get the house ready to put on the market, and that no matter how much cleaning and purging we did, we still had mountains of stuff left to get rid of or "hide."  In the first part of April, my husband's parents came from Nebraska to help us tile our bathroom floor (which had CARPET in it...seriously, who puts carpet in a bathroom!?!?).  It looked so awesome afterwards, but it sucked knowing that we would only get to enjoy it for a short period of time.  Towards the end of April I then had to make the 9 hour drive to Nebraska by myself in order to drop our animals off with my in-laws (our dogs shed so much that trying to sell our house would have been impossible - there's just no keeping up with all the hair!).  We were so thankful to them for watching them because it really did take a lot of stress off our shoulders and of course we knew the dogs were in good hands.  It just sucks making long drives like that by yourself, especially when most of it is through western Nebraska and eastern Colorado (if you've never driven through that part of the country, just know that you'd better start off with an empty bladder, and don't drink too much water or soda along the drive, or you're gonna be "holding it "for QUITE awhile).

After I got back from Nebraska, we hired a professional cleaner to clean all the parts of the house that we normally forget to do (ie windowsills, blinds, those sorts of things) as well as clean everything else to a better degree than our sloppy selves could ever attain :p.  Then I hired a carpet cleaner - though said carpet cleaner did an AWFUL job and didn't suck all the water out of the carpet after he had shampooed it.  Our entire house smelled SO BAD.  Two days after that, our realtor came to our house because we were looking at putting it on the market that weekend.  She walked in and told us she can't sell the house like that, and that the house smelled like dog, which she noted that our house never smelled like dog when we actually had the dogs in the house.  It was so embarrassing for me (I take a lot of pride in my home) but also infuriating.  She basically blacklisted that carpet cleaning company at her agency, and recommended another company to redo it.  The second company did a great job of getting that smell out, but that person told me that the original person had left 140 gallons of water in our carpets!! (note that we had just a 1700 square foot house and the kitchen and bathrooms at this point were not carpeted).  Thank goodness we fixed it soon, because can you imagine the mold problem we potentially would have had??  All in all, it set us back a week in terms of putting the house on the market, and we had to pay for two carpet cleanings, but it all worked out in the end.

So finally things got straightened out, we got our house all staged, and put it on the market.  You guys, Colorado Springs is a HOT HOT market.  We put our house on the market on a Friday night.  The next day, we had TEN showings, and that night we got our first offer.  On Sunday we had 5 or 6 more showings, and by Sunday afternoon we had 3 offers and were in a bidding war.  In the end, the winning offer was $5000 more than our asking price, AND they paid closing costs.  We couldn't have been happier.  We'd only been in the house for a little over two years, and I was just thrilled we were able to sell it at all without still owing anything on our mortgage, but we succeeded in that goal and even surpassed it.  I was also excited not to have to keep my house pristine for very long and able to leave on a dime for a showing.  After all, we still lived there, and though I don't like a super messy house, it's definitely hard to keep a perfect house all the time.

Once we had our offer, everything went pretty smooth, despite a few minor hiccups, like their realtor giving me almost no notice for things (ie I was given 45 minutes notice for the home inspector.  My realtor told me to just stay at the house since we were given such short notice, and not only did the home inspector show up, but also four contractors who I had no notification of them coming, which was a bit off-putting because it was still my house, and I had a right to know who would be going in and out of it.  The contractors basically went through all our closets and everything taking measurements of stuff and were at the house for over 3 hours - almost as long as the home inspector himself).  The buyers also asked for some ridiculous things after the home inspection - like, they wanted us to install a wooden railing on the front porch even though it was up to code, and wanted us to put fancy hinged window covers over the window wells, both of which we said no to, though we agreed to certain other minor things.  However, looking back, if I were to sell a house in such a hot market again, I'd probably sell it "as is," because even the minor fixes we had to do added that much more to our already tight "to-do" list in that month we were in escrow.  On top of that, the owners kept asking if their contractors could come by to "take measurements."  The first time they asked, I got a call from my realtor at 7:30AM saying they wanted to come over at 9.  I said absolutely not!  Absolutely ridiculous request.  Then they asked if they could come by the next day, so I gave in and said yes, thinking this would be their only time asking.  Nope I was wrong.  The next week they made a similar request, this time with about 2 hours notice.  My realtor said it's not unusual for them to want to get contractors in, so again I caved.  That time, though, I noticed that things in my plate cupboard seemed to be a bit shifted.  I wasn't 100% sure that they had gone through the cabinets though, so I didn't bring it up.  Then they asked to come again for measurements the week before closing.  I told them absolutely not, because the movers were coming and we were trying to get everything ready so WE could move OUT in time to close.  Apparently their realtor kept harassing my realtor to the point where my realtor basically begged me to let them come over for like 15 minutes, so I grudgingly said yes.  This time though I KNOW they went through cabinets because after I got back, I opened one of the cabinets and my favorite mixing bowl fell out and shattered (it was on a shelf where I never put that mixing bowl).  I was SO mad and felt so violated.  That house at the time was still OUR home and it was insulting that they felt they could just come over whenever they wanted, and not only that, but they were going through cabinets while doing their "measurements," something that they should have told us they needed to do.  But it's over, the closing was successful, and it's all behind us.  But next time I sell a house, that kind of crap will not be going on at all.  They are entitled to enter the home during the due diligence period and inspection period, and after that, they should expect to wait until closing.

Anyway, now we are in Michigan.  We took some time to visit family both in Nebraska and North Carolina.  Because of the housing market here, we chose to rent.  One of my husband's coworkers at this new place recommended a landlord for us to rent from, because we were having issues finding ANY housing that would allow our pets (all the houses we could find online said no pets, or had a weight limit for dogs, and the rest of the listings were basically for student apartments, as we are in a college town).  So we set this place up with this guy back in April, and rented sight unseen.

It's not a BAD place, but we are paying $50 more for it than we paid on our mortgage, and it's a duplex with only 2 bedrooms (basically we are downsizing by a bedroom).  Technically it has an extra room in the finished basement, but we can't use it as a bedroom because it has no windows (and since we don't actually own the house, that policy is actually enforced).  So since we have three beds, basically we've converted the basement "living room" into a guest bedroom.  Which is fine, because the couch we'd originally planned to go down there wouldn't fit down the stairs (the movers tried for like 30 minutes and finally gave up).  But as I was saying, we downsized but are paying more for rent than our mortgage in an area notorious for cheap housing prices.  We lost our fenced-in backyard as well, so it's been an adjustment taking the dogs to the bathroom outside one at a time on flexi-leashes instead of just opening the door and letting them out.  That's going to suck come winter.  Also, the appliances in this house are TERRIBLE and I'm pretty sure haven't been upgraded in the last decade or two.  I am absolutely regretting not excluding our fridge from our house sale in Colorado, because even though there isn't a water line here and we wouldn't have been able to use the icemaker/water in the door, we would have had the space (it was a french door/bottom freezer fridge) and it was MUCH quieter than the fridge here, which vibrates so loud that when I'm sitting at the kitchen table I find it hard to concentrate on anything but the fridge noise, and I feel like I have to raise my voice to talk to my husband when we eat at the table.  The dishwasher is so small that if I cook anything at all that day, I usually end up doing 2-3 loads of dishes in a day because it just doesn't hold everything (my husband says "why don't you just hand wash them?" but when I've got 100 things to do, the last thing I want is to spend 30 minutes scrubbing pots and pans).  I seriously had better appliances in my cheap college housing.  We also aren't allowed to paint at all, which I think is a stupid rule because that's one of the easiest things to reverse (just go over it with white paint before you move out, what's the big deal?).  And the sliding back door and ALL the windows have those vertical blind/curtain things that are SO ugly, and many of them even have stains on them which is disgusting, so I've been on the hunt for curtains/curtain rods that look nice and also won't bust our budget.  The cabinets are made of cheap particle-board, like what you might find in an RV, and with the humidity they stick really bad, and they don't have anything to grab onto, so I'm constantly ripping my cuticles back.  We asked if we could add fixtures to the cabinets and of course got a firm "no."  So our plan is to saw off the screws of fixtures and use command tape to put them on the cabinets, because there's no way I'm going 3 years wrestling with the cabinet doors like this.  The whole place just feels really cheap, which wouldn't be a big deal if we were paying about $400 less in rent, but for what we are paying in the area we are in, we should have updated appliances, nicer cabinets, and perhaps a third bedroom.  It's just really frustrating and has been a tough adjustment.  And it sucks thinking we're going to be here longer than we were in the house we actually owned.  I miss that house SO MUCH already.  It was my sanctuary, the place where I could relax and enjoy myself, and I'm just having a hard time achieving that feeling with this place so far.  Hopefully it'll get there.  We've been working our butts off trying to decorate this place (especially overcoming the white walls and inability to paint) so hopefully with a little more TLC this place will start to feel like home for me.  But for now, I'm homesick for Colorado.