Tips for moving & a year ago today

The year was 2020 and we were moving to Canada, my birthplace, to live in a home we’d purchased that had 22 fabulous acres of land. Then late March, early April 2020 happened, and the world turned upside down. Here we were living in an apartment watching everybody’s life, including our own, be placed on hold. For nearly 15 months now we’ve worked tirelessly hard to hold our life together and figure out how to move forward because “going back” is no longer an option.

Had I been living in Canada as a citizen when Covid-19 happened and the borders closed it wouldn’t have been a problem. I simply would have moved ahead and sponsored my husband to come over, he would have been quarantined in a hotel, and then after 14-21 days we would have taken up residence in our new home. Unfortunately, I wasn’t living in Canada at the time, but was preparing to leave for Canada and set up residency, when Covid-19 happened. Our biggest fear was that I would not be able to come back to the U.S. at all in 2020. There were things I needed to come back for regarding work, retirement, medical stuff and I didn’t want to risk it. There were other things regarding the care of our cat I wasn’t too keen on (he’s special needs, and pets need to be quarantined when crossing into Canada–not just during pandemics). There were so many things, because of Covid-19, that made everything about moving to another country so much more complicated than they already were. All this to say, a year ago today we were set to move and then this past fall made the heartbreaking decision to stay right where we are. We sold our newly purchased property to good friends of ours in Canada–the same friends of ours who found us the property and looked after it while we were finishing up things here and getting ready to relocate. Win win. Yes we were very disappointed in the timing of 2020, but at the same time blessed that we were able to find buyers for our property (almost immediately) and get through 2020 healthy and together. we cannot predict things like pandemics and borders closing, if we should ever plan to cross the border again –taking up residency in another country, we are definitely hiring a immigration lawyer. Even though I spent days and nights filling out forms, passing physicals, buying property in another country, visiting said property, etc. it would have been so nice to have someone to double check things with, ask questions to vs. laying awake at night worrying I’d forgotten something.

We are going to stay where we are another 14 months and then hopefully house prices will have come down some. I refuse to buy a house realistically worth $130,000 for $190,000. Houses in the area we are in, that 6 months ago were worth $60,000, are being listed at $140,000. Supply and demand–people are buying some of them. I feel bad for them because when the market settles a year from now, maybe two, unless the buyer pours a lot of money into it, it’s value is going to be a lot closer to the $60,000 than the $140,000 and what’s worse is the bank is going to agree. Most houses whether priced at home value or overpriced are selling fast and closing fast with sale pending 30 days or less. Our real estate friend said she hadn’t ever seen sales closing so fast. If it was taking longer than 30 days chances are there were issues discovered with the home. Definitely an extremely competitive market with people offering cash so that the home doesn’t get sold out from under them. Too exciting and risky for me I’m afraid. If you are looking into buying a home, I would recommend hiring a buyer’s agent. If selling your home, unless you are very experienced, I’d recommend hiring a realtor with a lot of experience selling homes like yours. I probably wouldn’t hire a friend or relative with little experience (as a favor) to be my realtor–because you’re going to be dealing with bidding wars and all sorts of very competitive maneuvers and you’ll need someone who is seasoned, objective, and tolerant of your possible melt-downs, constant questions, frustrations, and worry. It’s just not something I’d put a friend or relative through–just my 2 cents.

Over the years my husband and I have become moving/organizing experts. We even started a business cleaning and organizing people’s homes in 2017 which we closed just before the pandemic hit late winter 2019. Someday soon it will reopen as soon as we train people to come work with us. We have moved twice in the last 12 years. Both times we were working full-time, plus I was in school full-time, and my husband in overtime. We moved without any friends, co-workers, or family to help (no family,and we didn’t want to ask friends or co-workers mainly because it was last minute/most can’t do heavy lifting). We also moved without a truck–so many loads in our car and our last move was done with a u-haul. Both times we moved a 3 bedroom 2 bath house with garage and one outbuilding worth of stuff. Our first move was done in 5 days, and our second move was done in 4. That’s pre-pack, organize boxes to rooms, label everything, load vehicle, unload and repeat for 4-5 days. The last day in each home was full-cleaning, carpet shampooing etc. Once in our new apartment everything was ready to go- cable, phone, wifi, electric–everything. Most of that was left up to me since I went to school at night and worked some of the time at home. All my husband had to do on the last day was pick up the cleaning supplies, me, walk in our new apartment, look around, go to bed and poof –all set! It takes work to get to that point of organization, but once there it makes life, moving, relocating, unboxing so much easier. My nerves wouldn’t survive if it took us longer than 2 weeks to move out of wherever we were living.

We can’t wait to move. I hate, hate, hate apartment living. We have house hunted off and on for years both during seller’s markets and buyer’s market. I don’t like house hunting at all. I am sure I’m unique in that? We would either be shown houses that needed $electric/$plumbing, and $roof work but the inside was freshly painted, had faux hardwood floors, and new fixtures, or be shown homes with new roofs and the inside painted in purple, black, or brown with rooms gutted or unfinished remodeling jobs. Now, all I want are up to date plumbing/electric, and a fairly new roof and feel we’ll do just fine remodeling/ changing out the rest.

Moving tips:

  • start packing up to a year or more before moving
  • start making labels, organize boxes for rooms in new home
  • one room at a time paint touch-ups, fixing things, cleaning before move out
  • research moving companies
  • research new providers (cable, internet, electric and more)
  • try and have an estimate of how much your move will weigh (for the moving company)

Until next time, 🐝safe and 🐝well