Thursday, December 31, 2015

Wants vs Needs

I am struggling with some wants vs needs today.

I WANT to sit on the floor (because we sold our 3 chairs and couch) and binge watch Fixer Upper, but I NEED to pack a few more boxes.

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Packing is not fun.

Just in case you were thinking hmmm, buying a house sounds like a drag but that packing part sounds have it wrong. Someone lied to you. Cut them out of your life immediately. You don't need that in your life.

House hunting is fun, buying a house is fun, packing is not. You're welcome.

Yesterday I packed 6 boxes of kitchen stuff. Took me three hours and I don't feel like I really made that much progress. 5 boxes from the already thinned out playroom the day before and that room is looking ok.

Jeffrey thinks we can do all of our packing in like a day. Part of me wants to just let him try it just so I can watch it all unfold. This is not the nice part of me.

maybe we'll just leave it? 

Also trying to find a new house, wrap up Christmas shopping/prep, and going out of town all last weekend = zero progress.

Countdown Update: We have to be out of our house in 12 days!

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

The Search for Casa de Barnes 2.0


WE'RE UNDER CONTRACT!! We got our first offer just a few hours after we listed the house for sale. After a few days, we'd received 4 offers and we just accepted a GREAT one last night so it's official...we're moving! The buyer has cash so we'll be closing fast. They actually wanted to close in less than two weeks...that's Christmas if anyone is checking. Um, we'll need a bit more time thanks. So we have exactly 3 weeks to pack everything, celebrate our last Christmas and New Years in this home and...oh yeah, find a place to live.

We've been looking at houses for years like I mentioned and every once in a while something will be a strong contender but we're just not finding THE ONE. Trust me when I tell you that we're not being unrealistic. We've tweaked and adjusted all of our criteria to the point where almost all of our Must Haves are now basically Wish List items. It's a total seller's market in this price point. Inventory is at an all time low which means that sellers hold the cards. I wrote offers for two different buyers last week and both houses had multiple offers and ended up accepting contracts for over their asking price. This means it's a GREAT time to sell your house and if you're a buyer you better be ready to act fast and bring your A-game. It's still a great time to buy though - interest rates are low and prices are expected to continue climbing over the next few years. That means the house you see today for $300k will be closer to $350k in a couple years - say YAY to instant equity!

Anyway, so here's our criteria and how it's changed throughout our search. We initially wanted to be in the boys' school district but we are open to most of Chandler at this point. We'll worry about their high school boundaries in 6 years I guess. I'm not above lying about our address so I think we'll be fine. Morals ya know? So we want a minimum of 4 bedrooms but we're now ok with 3 bedrooms and a den. We need a minimum of 4 spaces. Initially, I was insistent on 3 bathrooms - 2 full baths and a powder room/half bath is fine. I live with a bunch of boys and I just don't feel like our guests should be subjected to using the same bathroom that the boys use. Personally, I don't even go in there. Ever. We've unfortunately come to terms that this is a tough requirement so we're open to 2 baths. I really prefer a single story since we plan on this house being in the family long after the boys have gone to college and we're old(er) and tired(er) and don't want to deal with stairs. This requirement has also fallen to the wayside and we're looking at 2 stories. At least with a 2 story, we get that 3rd bathroom. We prefer that the house have a pool already but now we're fine if there's at least room to build a pool in the future. That's pretty much our list. Doesn't seem like it should be so tough huh? Well it is dammit.

Did I mention that we listed our house with absolutely zero plans for where we'd move when/if Orchid Lane sells? Yup, that's our plan! Isn't it fun? Isn't it exciting? What an adventure!!

I was lying about it being an adventure. It's kinda scary but not as scary as you'd think. If we're fortunate and the right buyer comes along soon, we'll just continue our house search as usual. If we can't find anything we may need to rent month to month until we find the one. Buying a house is too important to rush into, so we'll just foster out the boys and Jeff and I will take a really long vacation until the right house comes along. Easy peasy.

Actually, we'll likely rent an apartment just small enough to be uncomfortable and we'll be motivated to land the perfect house!

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

fast forward 3 months: where the hell are my coffee mugs?!

stock photo but i have these mugs
Um, i just packed a computer keyboard, 5 coffee mugs and my gel manicure light in the same box everyone. There is officially no method to my madness. We're gonna be these people:

I have always subscribed to the Tetris Method of packing. I love that - it's like a puzzle to get everything to fit perfectly into the exact space you have leaving zero nooks or crannies.

For a somewhat Type A, OCD person, I think I've lost it.

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

The Urge to Purge...and pack...and paint

We're not hoarders. We seriously love a good purge. We used to have garage sales but we're over it. I think we're just too damn old to do 20 hours of work (sorting, pricing, borrowing tables, and watching people dig through my castoffs) to make something like $84.  So instead, we donate truckloads (Honda Pilot loads) to Goodwill many times throughout the year but even when you're a good purger, stuff accumulates. Some of my favorite uncovered treasures from our recent purging: Jeff's Blockbuster membership card, about 100 extra favors from our 2004 wedding, 6000 worksheets and art projects, high school graduation cap & gowns, a personalized door knocker I gave Jeff for our first wedding anniversary that never left the box - guess that last one will go on the next house...

When I list a house for sale and my clients are still living there I always tell them to remove 50% of the "stuff" from their house...and then when they think they've done that they need to remove 50% more. I'm kinda a jerk like that. Things like a large gallery of photos of your family, the 4 paintings you did at one of those BYOB painting parties and your collection of creepy dead eye dolls can be distracting to buyers walking through your house and we want them talking about how great my kitchen is and not how weird my decor choices are. Nothing you do will appeal to 100% of buyers, but the more neutral you can make your home, the better. For that reason, we packed up so much stuff that we didn't need on a daily basis. Do we need a full 12 piece place setting of our dishes? No, we eat on paper plates every night anyway guys. Do we need all of our clothes in our closets or just the 10 items we all wear over and over again? Plus, it makes closets look bigger and better to not be jammed full of clothes. We removed all the dust collecting decor from plant shelves and just put a few items up there to catch a buyer's eye to see that we actually have shelves throughout the house. We packed away like 20 trophies and team photos of the boys' various sports.  I think I packed away like 30 owls so I did my part too. Jeff got rid of that Blockbuster card and like 12 Dbacks hats.

There were a few things we wanted to get done at the house before putting it on the market. Our backyard is a great size for the kids to play but we let the grass die a few years ago with the plan to put artificial turf in or maybe put in a pool. We ruled out the pool due to size and not wanting to put a $30k pool into a house we had no plan on staying in for more than a couple more years. We're not home a lot and we never got around to having turf installed so we decided to winterize the lawn for the next owners. Our landscaper came out and overseeded and spread shit (literally) all over the yard, we watered the hell out of it and it's coming in nicely in most parts. There are some areas that are spotty so maybe we're feeding the birds. I'm staying hopeful that it will fill in. We also decided to have the entire house painted - both inside and out. Wow, what a difference! My inlaws painted most of the inside of our house as a housewarming present when we bought it and Jeff and I painted the nursery 9 years ago but that's it. Nothing since. 

Our painters were great and removed everything to paint. Everything except for this No Soliciting sign that was literally taped to the house next to the front door. Yes, they PAINTED AROUND IT. 
I labored over the task of finding the perfect gray for weeks - literally. Did you know that there are roughly 5642 different shades of gray (or is it grey? I still don't know). Oh and did you know that each shade looks different in each damn Pinterest photo? I was drawn to Gray Owl for obvious reasons but didn't know if it would look gray enough. When I showed a house with a nice gray color, I'd call the listing agent to find out what color the sellers used. This is the level of crazy I landed in trying to choose a paint color. 

this guy gets it

We finally settled on Revere Pewter and are super pleased with the way it turned out. Having fresh paint on the walls and white baseboards makes it look like a whole new house!! I've become an absolute nightmare though. Every time the boys bump into a wall I lose my shit with them. I've also become that person who doesn't want you wearing shoes on the newly cleaned carpet. I don't care about the tile though so this has now resulted in all of our shoes being left in the hallway, kitchen and family room. Super. We had the exterior painted too because the beige/pink color so popular in the early 90s stucco homes was gross. I truly don't think the house had been painted since it was built in 1993. It looks so good now guys - I'm sure our neighbors are thankful as well.  

The interior painting took a solid 4 days and they knocked out the exterior in one day. I took photos of the chaos - and it was total chaos and moved from room to room as they worked in an attempt to stay out of their way. It obviously would have been easier to not work from home that week and go into my never used office, but I'm glad I got to be around to see the full transformation. 

This day was a struggle. The painters took over the great room (aka my office) and I was writing contracts for a buyer while sitting on my 8 year old's Miami Dolphins bed using an upside down laundry basket for a desk. This is the point where I should have admitted that my presence was not important to the project and gone to starbucks for a latte & free wifi. 

We had a few other little things done around the house to prep - repairing some cracked grout, having the carpets deep cleaned and some exhaust fans replaced. I felt like a general contractor arranging for all the trades to get in and do their thing. Luckily/Unfortunately, December is a wee bit slower for real estate, so I've been able to be home to coordinate the "project". It's been an adventure to say the least. I feel like it's the most work I've ever done without really doing anything other than trying to stay out of the way. As I type this, there are two very nice women (truthfully, one nice woman and one mute woman who doesn't respond when I awkwardly chat her up) cleaning our house for the final deep cleaning before we hit the market. Since we're ridiculous busy and pretty lazy, we have someone come in and clean every 3 weeks so today's crew doesn't have a disgusting job on their hands, but having the house painted and having tile work done is messy business so this was necessary. This is pretty much the last thing to do before we go live on the market - eeeek!

Thursdays are the best days to list houses. It's possible I've made this up but I do alright so it must be working. This way, the emails go out to buyers late Thursday/early Friday and we can get on their schedule of homes to see over the weekend. 

That's the goal anyway; Orchid Lane will officially be on the market this Thursday, December 10th!!

Up Next in this thrilling series: The Search for Casa de Barnes 2.0

ICYMI: That Time a Realtor Sold Her Own House

Monday, December 7, 2015

That time a Realtor sold her own house...

Since I've really blow it at blogging over the last like 4 years, I've decided to give it another go. I think I'll "live blog" our family's upcoming real estate activity. weeeeeeee! This may likely be a horrible idea - maybe I'll complain about the process so much that all 4 people who will ever read this will see moving as such a nightmare that they decide to never ever do it and I'll lose that hypothetical business. Seems reasonable.

Jeff and I the day we closed on our house - that's right, it's a picture of a picture

So Jeff and I bought our house when we were babies in college. We had been living together for maybe a year or so and I hated living in an apartment and paying rent. Hated it. So I told Jeff why don't we just see what's out there to buy - ha! Please refer to one of my favorite movie scenes below, I'll wait.

We've talked about selling on and off for several years. Being a Realtor, you know I've had a search running for us for years as well. We see houses all the time but it was often for fun and being nosy and not totally realistic.So anyway...we bought a house. We loved this house, still do really. 3 bedrooms is literally a TON of space when you're 21 years old and have no furniture made of real wood, no kids and all of your cups are from bars and sorority date parties.  We got married while living here, celebrated hundreds of holidays, and brought both boys home from the hospital into this home. This was our first home, but we've outgrown it and the boys need more outdoor space to run some of their goddamn energy off.

I think shit got real when we were shopping for a new couch this past August. We found one we loved and were like minutes away from swiping our favorite travel miles credit card. I think I made a joke about clients deciding to not buy a house they loved because their stupid sectional wouldn't fit in the new space and we got kinda quiet. Is this really the house we're committed to enough to buy a giant new couch for. That's legit commitment, like going steady commitment. Did we really want to put a pretty new couch into this house just to have to move it to another house when we finally decide to get real about selling? Nope. We came home and immediately started getting to work to make it happen. 

Up Next in this thrilling series: The Urge To Purge!