Are you preparing for a big move soon? Looking for tips or tricks to make this huge life change go off without a hitch? Well, I don’t have any for you quite yet! If you stick around long enough, I promise we can get ahead of some of those hurdles, crush those trials and errors, and discover some exciting plans and ideas together. If nothing else, it should at least be a good laugh.
We are at the beginning of an exciting coast to coast move from Virginia to California. Had you told me a year ago that we would be considering a move, I would have never believed you. But, here we are! So let’s do this.
2020 rushed in, with all its wild twists and turns. It’s safe to say it started reasonably. March got weird with the pandemic approaching rapidly. I won’t dive too deeply into that. Given where you are on the planet, your experience may have been much different than mine.
By the time the pandemic settled in, Kyle got furloughed for one week. Thankfully, that was the pandemic-related worst of his work situation. He wasn’t actively looking for a change. Somehow, the stars aligned, and he got an interview with a company he had been interested in learning more about. As you can see, those interviews worked out quite well for him! So… do we stay? Do we go?
A few thoughts I had in the process:
California is really far away from everything we have ever known. One of my main concerns has been being far from our families. We will have to fly to see them instead of a quick 4-6 hour drive.
Besides a trip to Minden, Nevada that included a drive around Lake Tahoe and small hike that crossed into the state, I’ve never been to CA. What if I don’t like it?
This is such a great work experience for Kyle and life experience for all of us. It could be the adventure of a lifetime!
The sheer amount of outdoor adventure within reach is incredible for this fam!
California Wine Country… Sold!
Sometimes, people are conditioned to believe that once you have kids, you shouldn’t take big risks. You have to “settle down” instead, which means different things to each person you ask. If it isn’t clear by now, the Hable Way is not the poster family for settling down, in any sense of the phrase. 😉 I mention this because we have gotten a few “what about the kids” questions. We have included Asher and his feelings in a lot of conversations from the beginning and feel good about it. Of course, our honey badger Brooks doesn’t care.
Next came the tricky part. We just had a 24’x30′ garage built at our house in February of this year. To the neighbor’s eye, it looked like we planned on sticking around here for a while. Our first hurdle was the financial details of the potential move. Salary in California is a heck of a lot different in Virginia. Taxes, housing, tangible moving costs, everything is different. We double, triple, quadruple checked our numbers. You should do that for any move, even if it is just down the road! Using a Google spreadsheet, we laid out as much information as we could think to consider. With the help of smartasset.com, we were able to get an idea of what we were looking at financially.
Next, we would need to sell our house. The last time we owned a home, our house sale didn’t go as well as we would have liked. We were young, bought in the bubble in Northern Virginia, and didn’t have a lot of experience or professional guidance on our side. We have been hesitant in many ways but realized that selling our current home over renting was probably the best choice given all the specific details in our situation.
Now, with the full-blown pandemic threatening further shutdowns, how on earth could we sell our house? In true Hable fashion, we took a swing at selling “by owner.” What did we have to lose? Kyle happens to be the friendly but firm negotiator of the family, so this experience has given him some valuable practice. I’m too awkward and giggly to function in serious, real-life situations, so I sit back and help behind the scenes.
On November 16th, we put our house up for sale by owner. We started by listing it on Zillow.com, which automatically lists it on Trulia.com as well. I designed and ordered a For Sale sign with a white post using customrealestatesigns.com. A few calls and a few days later, we had our first showing! We also have a neighbor down the street who is a realtor and was interested in previewing the house for her buyers. The next week was Thanksgiving, so that made it a bit more difficult as a lot of people were not actively focusing on home showings. After about a week and a half, we decided to pay Houzeo.com to put it on MLS for us. Companies like Houzeo have plans where they will put your house on MLS for a flat fee and assist in a variety of different ways depending on your plan level.
I can’t say if using Houzeo ended up being worth it or not yet, so stay tuned for that review. The realtor neighbor down the street called to show our house the next weekend. By December 4th, we had our first offer!
After some talks back and forth, we signed a contract on December 5th. Monday the 6th, the house inspector was already down to business! So here we sit, past the inspection, waiting on an appraiser. Go check out the details of our house here.
Meanwhile, we are still trying to find a place to live. The top items on this list of hurdles are Asher’s schooling, our dog, and finding the right company to move our stuff across the country. We have planned to sell a majority of our belongings, but there are a few things we aren’t willing to give up. We are currently talking with 1-800-Pack-Rat, U-pack, & Pods. I’ll keep you posted on how all that goes. It is scary to put nearly everything you own in the hands of someone else no matter how good their reviews may be or how many times you have done it.
Our dog Ozzie is nearly 12 years old. His birthday is on December 31st! He is an American Staffordshire Terrier, a sweet, lazy old pup. Besides a few overly excited cat greetings, he’s harmless. That doesn’t make it easy to rent a place to live with breed restrictions everywhere. We’ve done it before, but it has always been difficult. He also doesn’t exactly look like he is 12 years old at all, so pulling the old geriatric card doesn’t work with him. In 2015, we moved to New Jersey solely because it was the only place that would take him and our Doberman at the time. We will figure something out like we always do! Who could say no to that face?
Asher’s schooling is my other concern. His school is one of the few in our area that is in-person learning. They do have a virtual option for those who prefer it, but Asher physically goes to school five days a week as of right now. This has been our preference in Virginia but our destination is 100% virtual in the general area. Not having an address nailed down makes it difficult to transfer him anywhere too. So we will have to wait a bit longer to crack that case.
Remember when I mention that I have never visited the place I agreed to move to?! I have no idea what to expect when I get there. Besides a few photos that Kyle took for me, I’ve been using google maps where they have the little guy you can drop on the streets and look around. That sounds like a great way to pick a place to live, ha. Flying is a little bit weird right now, especially with kids that you can’t be sure won’t pick up a random french fry on an airport chair at any given moment (looking at you, Brooks). Kyle has been to our destination on a few occasions but he is not allowed to pick a place to live without me ever again due to the great housing debacle of 2012!
Either way, this will be one hell of an adventure so I’m really looking forward to getting there! Check out the next installment of “The Truth About Moving Across the Country in 2021”, Logistics!