Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Dear Buyers

When our home went on the market, it was our first time going through the whole process of selling a home. From picking a real estate agent, to getting the house staged, to keeping it ridiculously clean, every step was new and stressful.

In fact, even Bug, who is adamantly against the move, said he hoped our house would sell fast. He said he didn't like having to keep things that clean, and besides, he hated all the art the house was staged with.

We had been mentally prepped before hand about the stress. That we would no longer be living in our house the way we normally lived in it, but we would be selling it.

What we didn't expect was for things to happen so fast. We listed on a Monday at 4 pm. That same evening, we had two showings. By 10 am on Tuesday, we had scheduled 6 more. At noon, an offer came in for above asking, and by 1 pm, we had accepted the offer. Our house was on the market for 21 hours.

Our agent had suggested that we right a letter to any potential buyers, about what we loved about the house and why we were moving, so that no one would think we were moving because there was something wrong with the house.

I wrote a letter about all the improvements that had been done to the house, about the great schools and neighborhood, about the large yard and how much we enjoyed the fireplace.  But I felt that I had to hold back a little about how much I really loved our home, because when I started writing about how I actually felt about the house, it started sounding like I was trying to sell it too hard.

So, here is the letter I would like to write, how I really feel about the home we are going to be leaving.


Dear Home Buyers,

At first glance, this house may seem like any other small neighborhood house from the 70s. And while it definitely has its quirks due to strange building codes back then, I assure you, this home is anything but typical.

You will be hard pressed to find a home that has been as loved and as lived in as this one.  And as far as all those quirks, we've made sure everything about the house is perfectly safe. But there a few stairs that squeak every time we try to sneak downstairs when the children are sleeping. And getting to the laundry by going through the garage is definitely not ideal, but after years of going to a laundry mat with children in tow, I couldn't have cared less.

This house was our first home as a family, the first time we didn't have to worry about sharing walls, floors, and ceilings with other people, the first time our children could just be children. We lived fully in each room, from family game night at the kitchen table, to story time in front of the fireplace, to pillow fights in the bedrooms.

When we first bought the house, most people gave us disbelieving, almost pitying smile. All they could see was the popcorn ceilings, the lack of lighting, and all the gray vinyl flooring. We, however, were beside ourselves with excitement about that potential in this home. We had seen over 30 homes during a whirlwind weekend of home shopping. But the moment we walked through the door here, we knew it was home. I never once saw the imperfection. I only saw a house that wanted to be loved, that wanted to become our home.

We have loved this house almost like a family member, slowly bringing it to its potential. We stripped away the popcorn ceilings. We put in all new flooring, flooring that would hold up to the antics of three active boys. We added as much light as we could. We painted every surface. I'll be honest. When we were picking things for the home, I never once thought about which would be best for resale, what would be most appealing for other people. I picked things I loved, that went with the feeling we were creating in our home. 

There are more memories here than I could possibly share. We've planted bulbs in the front garden. We've made enormous leaf piles in the back yard. We've eaten countless dinners on the deck and then watched our children chases fireflies under the trees and wondered how we ever got so lucky.

At a meager 1300 square feet, this house has never felt small (except when suddenly, we've had to figure out where 6 house guests are sleeping.) Even as our family grew, there always seemed to be enough room for us. 

This home isn't the fanciest, most spacious home out there. But nearly everyone who has ever walked through the front door has mentioned how lovely the home is. I like to think that it isn't because of the decor or the paint color (although of course, I'm quite partial to those.) I like to think it's because there is so much love and life here, everyone can feel it.

It's time for us to move on with our lives, and that moving on is taking us back west, closer to family and away from this home. I'm quite heartbroken about leaving this house. There were days that I actually pictured us living here forever. Maybe this is how everyone feels about their first home.

I definitely hope it's how you feel about this one.



Monday, March 23, 2015

The Only Constant is Change

Here it is, nearly the end of March, and I haven't sat down all month to write.  After our whirl wind month, it feels difficult to summarize in a way that is succinct enough to be manageable and in depth enough to be meaningful.

We are in the middle of a transition period. Transitions are always difficult, full of unknowns, stress, half-executed plans, and a feeling of being unsettled. 

We are moving.

Hubster and I have both accepted jobs in Salt Lake City, Utah. I'm originally from there, as much as I can be originally from anywhere. Hubster has taken his dream job in a private practice dental practice. I've accepted an academic position at the University of Utah, which is turning out to be the dream job that I didn't even know I always wanted. We are both extremely happy with our new jobs.

That still doesn't make things easy.

Hubster found out about his job in November, but just got the contract settled two weeks ago. I interviewed for my job mid January, and am still trying to get things completely finalized.

Since we were fairly sure things were going to work out job-wise, we knew that we would have to sell our home. I actually met with our real estate agent weeks before I had even interviewed for my job.

Before putting our house on the market, we had a long list of home projects to do, including redoing both bathrooms. I've already shared the hall bathroom redo. The master bath is also completely finished, and a post sharing that is in the works. Doing all the projects ate up all our weekends in January and February.

We also had to replace the siding on our house, because the woodpeckers and weather have had a heyday with the original wood siding. Working with the subcontractor for the siding ended up being immensely frustrating; the whole process was prolonged and drug out and painful. In the end, the siding looks wonderful, although maybe not so wonderful as to be worth all the stress (which included the inability to use our garage or driveway for a month and a half during the worst of the winter weather).

Finally, all the work on the house was done, and we listed the house two weeks ago. We got an offer right away (that is its very own story.)

Last week, we flew out with all our kids to do some house hunting in Salt Lake City. Financing is still hazy, because of our massive student loans, but we think we have found a house we want to make an offer on.

Top this off with trying to get a new medical license for the state of Utah, Hubster taking his dental board exams, being in charge of decorations for the school carnival, keeping our house spotless for pictures, inspections, and showings, Duck deciding to unleash the terrible twos in full force, and Monkey and Bug extremely moody and difficult because they don't want to move, things have been crazy.

I'd like to say that I'm sailing through this with grace and poise and optimism, but that wouldn't be true. It's more like I'm blundering my way through with a short temper, frequent tears, and occasional active avoidance. 

At least winter is over and spring is coming. 

I'm hoping that just like the seasonal change, these changes in our lives will all be for the best. We just have to survive the transition.