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Behind The Scenes: The Home Edition
If you couldn't tell, there have been a lot of things happening for us this month. I held off on writing a bonfire this month until I knew something more definitive, but it's the 24th today and things are still a bit uncertain. (Lesson learned: share where you actually are doing the bonfire and update everyone as things change.)
So, let me catch you up: we sold our house back in April, and at the time, we were trying to decide between moving to Austin, TX or Portland, Oregon. Earlier this month, we flew out to Portland to check it out because no amount of non-experiential information would actually get us to a decision point. Instead of talking about the details of our visit, I'll stick with the abridged version - we loved it.
Depending on how we felt about Portland, we were going to look at both apartments and houses/condos for sale. If we weren't sure we'd love it there, we were going to find apartments, but if we loved it, we would be looking at more permanent solutions. Within a few hours, we knew it was the place for us, so we shifted our focus to find something to buy.
You might think that buying a home is incredibly hasty, and at times, it definitely feels that way. However, we both live and work from home, and we've gotten accustomed to having enough space that we can have some healthy distance from each other - as much as we love each other, there's only so much of sitting on top of each other that we can stand before we want to have some space to do our own thing. By the time we got an apartment with the space we'd need, our rent would be in the range of what a mortgage would be for a larger home that would be a better investment and prevent us from having to move all over again. (We both hate moving.)
Before we went out to Portland, Elizabeth Katt, a fabulous real estate agent in Lincoln who I've connected with via Twitter, researched real estate agents in Portland to find someone who would be a great fit for us. After doing some lengthy homework and interviews, she referred us to Loree Kaiser who has been one of the best service providers we've ever worked with.
Loree took us out looking for homes on Friday, Sunday, and Monday, and she was even out on the hunt when we needed to take a break from home shopping. She found three ideal houses for us while on her solo hunt, and we put an offer on one of them. We signed the final counter-negotiation in Portland International Airport 30 minutes before we got on our plane back to Lincoln.
Aside: The people who question the utility of social media just don't get it. I met Elizabeth on Twitter, and without Elizabeth, we would have never met Loree. Without Loree, it's very, very unlikely that we would have found our home in such a short visit. And there we'd be without a house and overwhelmed like crazy trying to find a place to live in Portland. Sure, social media doesn't "work" for everyone, but many of the people it doesn't work for are approaching it trying to make it work before they do - no social network, offline or online, works without you putting effort in up front.
We had already gotten pre-approval for the home loan before we made an offer, but that pre-approval was contingent on a few things, one of which was our 2009 taxes. Given the craziness that was selling our home within a few weeks back in April, we were unable to complete our taxes on time, but we also figured that it would be advantageous for us to complete them after we finally ended up in Portland or Austin.
It turns out we were right about the last hunch, but that meant that we had to complete them all within a matter of a few days to get them back in to the loan officer. A few days of number-crunching and data entry turned into a week of consolidating and reporting on everything, so if you've been seeing me both complain and celebrate about it, that's what I was up to from the 12th through the 20th of May. Our final approval is still pending, but we're hoping to know something definitive today.
We finished that paperwork up just in time to begin moving our stuff out of our house. We're using ABF's UPack service to move our stuff, so what happens is that they drop an empty trailer off at your house, you fill it up, and they move the trailer to your final destination for you. That trailer landed at our house on Thursday, May 20th - the same day that I got all of the paperwork submitted.
We had originally planned on packing the truck up and moving to Portland right after we close on our house tomorrow (Tuesday, May 25th), but after we decided to buy a house, we ran into the problem that we wouldn't be able to close on it and move into it on the timeline we had already negotiated with the buyers of our house. At first, it seemed like we were faced with the overwhelming option of finding a temporary place to live in Portland and having to unpack our stuff, but Angela remembered that you can ABF will hold the trailer for you for a few weeks for an additional fee.
Rather than trying to find a place in Portland to live in while we waited to close, we decided to find a furnished corporate apartment in Lincoln since a) we wouldn't have to find it in a mere 5 days while we were in Portland and b) it'd be a lot cheaper to live in Lincoln in the interim. We found a place a place once we got home.
Last Friday, we began moving into that temporary apartment. We moved our cats and essentials into that apartment so that we could pack everything up easier at our house. We anticipated having Internet in our apartment on Friday, but it's not going to be hooked up until today - add another 3 days of being behind to the rest of the days that I've racked up this month.
With the help of a few friends, we managed to pack up all of our non-essentials into the trailer on Saturday and Sunday, and Angela is over doing the final cleaning and touch-ups today and tomorrow. I feel a bit bad about not helping, but we've decided that the best use of my time is to get back to business. They're bringing in office furniture to set up in the second bedroom this morning afternoon, so I need to oversee that and get our base of operations set back up, anyway.
We'll be in this apartment until June 19th or so, at which point we'll load everything up into our vehicle and drive to Portland. Two people and three cats in an Xterra together should be fun. If everything goes as planned, we'll close on our house by mail on the week of the 15th so we'll be able to move into our home on the 21st or 22nd of June. And if it doesn't go as planned, we'll improvise.
Throughout all of this, I've been acknowledging that it's something to be proud of to be able to do it at all but especially while having a full client load and growing business, but I've also been frustrated at how much I've had to let go of. I haven't been writing as much as I've liked or as able to stay as connected to people. I'm behind on a lot of things, but it'll be okay in the end. As treading water goes, I've been doing alright.
We're both ready to get somewhere and stay there for a long, long time. We can acknowledge where we are and what it takes to get it done, but that doesn't mean we want to stay here.
Just for some perspective, this is a timeline of what all we've been into this year:
December 29th - January 4th: In Colorado for ski trip.
February 26th - 28th: In Phoenix, Arizona for the Lift Off Retreat.
March 12th - 15th: In Austin, TX for SxSW.
March 18th - 21st: In Vancouver, BC for the Wealthy Thought Leader event.
March 22nd: Start prepping house to sale.
April 4th: First open house to sell our home.
April 5th: Negotiate sales agreement for our home with buyers.
May 6th - 11th: Portland Visit.
May 11th: Put offer on Portland house.
May 21st: Move into temporary apartment.
May 22nd - 24th: Load trailer and prep Lincoln house for closing.
May 24th: Close on Lincoln house.
June 14th - 16th: Close on Portland house.
June 19th: Leave for Portland.
June 22nd: Move into Portland house.
In case you're wondering, travel isn't my thing, despite appearances to the contrary. "For everything, there is a season," indeed.